Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog


Stagers... if NOT Here, Then Where?

 I woke up this morning and that headline was in my head. I guess it was there because I went to bed thinking about all the controversy that has swirled around and in Stage It Forward... for the last couple days.

If you feel like an outsider that missed all the action... here is a link to all the post that had something to say or share. It was a HEARTY and HEART FELT discussion for sure.

WARNING TO THE KOOLAID DRINKERS-Now it is getting personal... does this seem like an injustice to you?

Dear "Anonymous" #2 on Kate Hart's "Kool-Aid" Blog:

Koolaid Drinkers reply - there is more than meets the eye - Put down your glass and move on 

And as for the rest of us, we have moved on...

Ongoing ASP Warfare -- Risking my Life Here....

My point of this post is if you can get beyond the "passion", there is much that is being discussed.

THIS IS WHAT STAGE IT FORWARD IS ABOUT FOLKS... Being a voice that "SINGS" to our industry is what Stage It Forwardis all about. And I know at times what our industry HEARS is not a harmonious song... but does not mean it should not be sung.

I agree, some of the delivery of the messages have been "heated"... to say the least. But look at all the topics that were discussed in those posts.

  • Referral Fees
  • Referral Networks
  • Professional Designations
  • Industry Leaders & Leadership
  • Staging "Naked"
  • The use the word "Stage"
  • Trademarks
  • Accreditations
  • Codes of Ethics
  • Peer Respect & Recognition
  • Stage It Forward's purpose
  • What makes for a good FEATURED story
  • Positive Foundation Training experiences
  • Negative Foundation Training experiences

THESE are the just some of the underlying issues being discussed that are and will continue to be a part of this WHOLE Home Staging Industry. It is ONLY by putting them out on the table FOR discussion will we grow... ALL GROW.

FOR EXAMPLE: Let me take ONE issue and move it to the NEXT level. What happens if I (a naked stager) would refer out to a stager in a "closed" referral network? Or Visa Versa? Do I get a referral fee or pay the fee? Now I am not looking for answers here... just to make my point you have to put it out there FIRST for discussion. 

THIS is what the Stage It Forward is about and for. (Yes, I agree we need to move on an drop some of the "heat" but hey... while I never had a baby, I understand there is some "screaming" at the point of delivery there too.)

Fran Gatti - Crescent City, CA who is a Realtor just checking in on us (and a TOTALLY NEUTRAL 3rd party) said it best in a comment she made about all this.

  • "There's disagreement in every group that exists.  It's a good thing yours has it or it would mean you were dead."

THANKS Fran. I think we needed to hear that... and if we did not hear it here, then where?

Stage It Forward...



Comment balloon 34 commentsCraig Schiller • June 14 2007 02:19PM


Craig - thank-you for putting this into perspective.  Once we look past the "heat" there are so many positives that we can learn from.  Fran is right - it means this group is not dead.  Years ago I worked with a woman who told us that in five years she and her husband had never had a fight, not even so much as a disagreement.  The response from another employee - your marriage is either very boring or just dead!  Love the cartoon.
Posted by Cheryl-Anne Priest, Inviting Spaces - Staging Calgary (Inviting Spaces - Home Staging Calgary) over 13 years ago


While clearing out my file cabinet I came across the following about stress management.  Perhaps it can be used to defuse the "heat" somewhat.


Picture yourself near a stream

Birds are softly chirping in the crisp, cool, mountain air

No one knows your secret place

You are in total seclusion from that hectic place called "the world"

The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serentiy

The water is clear

You can easily make out the face

of the person you're holding under the water.

Posted by Cheryl-Anne Priest, Inviting Spaces - Staging Calgary (Inviting Spaces - Home Staging Calgary) over 13 years ago
Wow - I know I've been out of touch with Activerain for a couple of weeks but I can't believe there is still this battle going on amonst stagers! I am going to catch up on everything...I know I'll have plenty more to say then.
Posted by Lucie Quigley (HOLT modern Home Staging) over 13 years ago

Whew!  Lots of topics have been covered - unfortunately, name calling distracts everyone and is hurtful.  It sets a poor example of how to have a mature discussion and resolution.  There is no excuse for calling people names.  

Perhaps something else has been shared here - to build bridges and resolve disputes, one-on-one discussions are so important.  Name calling and "profiling" groups of people and associations does no good and has no purpose.  And "assuming" just makes an a** out of you and me.

A phone call, a cup of coffee and a polite conversation can do a world of wonders when working with someone - such as a Realtor - Stager - customer - client or the public. 

Politeness costs nothing and gains everything.

Posted by Margaret Ann Innis, Real Estate Staging - MA & NH (Decorate To Sell - Merrimack Valley Real Estate Staging ) over 13 years ago

I mostly keep quiet on this whole thing except for the one time As the Rain Pours!  I think we all could learn from Realtors on this one A Tricky Question. was asked by Deirdre Hamilton.  It was nice to see what Realtors had to say about other offices! without becoming testy!  Cant we be like them? 

Don't get me wrong!  I can argue with the best of them but I like the song by Kenny Rogers (I'm a southern girl)

You got  know to know when to hold them!  Know when to fold them!  Know when to walk away and know when to run!  Can we all walk away with dignity and respect for one another!  We also need to realize that it is ok - and we agree to DISAGREE!

Posted by Marci Toliver, Anderson SC, Spartanburg,Greenville SC, Home Staging (438-4642) over 13 years ago

This post made me chuckle - especially the one by Cheryl - that made me laugh out loud.  It's OK to agree to disagree - and discussions that we have seen the past couple of days can yield some good after sifting through the "stuff."  I hope that today the blogs get buried by some really great new and helpful information we can ALL benefit from.

Posted by Jennie Norris, Denver Regions Premier Home Staging Resource, (Sensational Home Staging) over 13 years ago

Craig, while I agree that some relevant and important topics are being discussed, as the discussion evolves, I, as an observer, form opinions about the participants based on the language used and the attitude conveyed.  Right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate, if I had the opportunity to do business with the participants I know who I would chose and who I would steer away from.

I think we all need to remember that this forum is public and potential clients may be out there watching, forming opinions and making decisions. . .as stagers we know the power of first impressions, they can make or break a sale.

Posted by Lori Gilmore, One Savvy Move Home Staging (One Savvy Move) over 13 years ago
There are many lessons for all of us in these recent posts. What comes to mind at the moment is that as stagers we all know that presentation is everything, as is "delivery" is in conversation. While passion is great it can overwhelm and distract the listener and they won't really "hear" WHAT you are saying only HOW you are saying it and you may end up sending an entirely different message than the words you are speaking. Most people don't remember everything that someone says to us BUT they will remember how it made them FEEL. Words are powerful. Lively exchanges are great, healthly and necessary. Sometimes things are said in the heat of the moment during a "live" face to face conversation. While technology allows us to have "instant" exchanges it also allows us the opportunity to stop and reflect and compose ourselves before hitting the keys. Having come from a corporate marketing communications background we were always taught that anything we wrote could end up on the front of the NY Times, Wall St Journal, and we had better be sure we could live with what we wrote. Something to consider. Rhonda Rawlins - Glastonbury Home Staging 
Posted by Rhonda Hay Rawlins (Glastonbury Home Staging) over 13 years ago
I think I learned more than I wanted to from a few of the posts on this subject.  I guess building an industry is like making sausage.  No one wants to know how its made.
Posted by Randy L. Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 13 years ago


I missed out on those posts, ill check them out!

Posted by Real Estate Flyers (Guru Real Estate Flyers) over 13 years ago
Nice summation Craig.  I've actually read most of these posts and didn't add my .02 because I am an outsider to that discussion and didn't have anything of real value to bring to that particular discussion.  Yours sounds like a voice of reason & wisdom.
Posted by Jason Sardi, Your Agent for Life (Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina) over 13 years ago

Randi - LMOL for long time! I can't go on...have to leave my desk! cat laughing are the KING of snake charmers! cobra


Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 13 years ago
Craig, I used to watch Ultimate Fighting Championship to feed my thirst for blood sport. But lately "Stage it Forward" has become my preferred means to get my fix. And for that I thank you. OK, now on a more serious note, I agree with Fran's statement 100%. Also, having these discussions(battles) in an open forum like this is much better than folks fighting behind each others backs. You guys keep at it and the ultimate result will be a much stronger Staging Industry. Just let me know when I need to order the pay per view:)
Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) over 13 years ago

Sharon.... all my life I have been a "bridge builder".

MUCH (not all) of the times I can see both sides of a story. AND I can see the good when all there seems to be is bad.

Sometimes this way of looking at thing WORKS. Sometimes it makes me REALLY indecisive. LOL

Ahh such is life.


Posted by Craig Schiller over 13 years ago
Craig - it might help us if we know what your Sun Sign is and if you know your Chinese sign...I wont ask for your year of birth for that.
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 13 years ago
I, too, stumbled onto one of the posts a few days ago and just watched it, like a mini series.
Posted by Chris Griffith, Bonita Springs Listing Agent (Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL) over 13 years ago

I am not affriad fo my age. I is what I is, as old as I is. December 3rd 1960 is my BD.

I really don't follow Astrology. I find if fun and novel. But...



Posted by Craig Schiller over 13 years ago
Cool, we will be getting back to you on this...should be fun. Being born in 1960 keeps is easy to track, eh?
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 13 years ago
I think a new industry goes through such growing pains. We are still going through them in inspection, and it has finally become a pretty standard part of the process.
Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 13 years ago
After spending years as a mediator -- I think Craig is on the right track here -- explore the areas where you have agreement and work on those areas first -- then don't each other up alive on those points where there are differences -- make the whole picture bigger -- not smaller -- be inclusive - be creative -- and stage it forward.
Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 13 years ago
I read all the linked posts - I think - and the only word that comes to mind is WOW!  Suzanne and I both have the ASP (Realtor) designation.  To renew or not to renew.....that is a deeeeep question!
Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty (Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area) over 13 years ago

Marci - you are coming OFF my associate list.  Ive been singing Kenny Rogers for the last hour!!

(Its a world of laughter, a world of tears... a world of hopes and a world of fears... there's so much that we share and its time we're aware.. its a small world after alllll...)

Posted by Karen Reynolds (Champagne Staging, LLC) over 13 years ago
Karen, please don't we are meant to be FRIENDS!!!  I've been singing it all DAY! (lol)
Posted by Marci Toliver, Anderson SC, Spartanburg,Greenville SC, Home Staging (438-4642) over 13 years ago
thanks a lot Karen, you were trying to get Marci and got the rest of us in the process!
Posted by Cari Pilon, RE:STYLE Home Staging (RE:STYLE Home Staging) over 13 years ago
my grandmother was getting ready to sell her house and she had it staged. I told her about staging and she thought it would definitely be a benefit. Hopefully, it sells quickly.
Posted by Christy Powers, Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners) over 13 years ago


So sorry but I guess I am the minority again.  I don't see the fighting, insults and personal jabs as a "song being sung", and I don't see it as being the least bit professional (as we should be).  I know that you view all of these comments as great discussion topics, but again I just don't see it as the least bit professional.  I think the personal issues that involve "names" should be done privately otherwise we are no better than high school kids talking trash about each other on "My Space".  I know that everyone will disagree with me but it's just a feeling that I have. 

We have an opportunity here to share A/R with other realtors and stagers and ask them if they would like to join this group.  Based on what I have seen here the last couple of weeks......would I really seriously consider referring anyone here to see what is going on?  My answer is "No".  I would not want potential or current customers of mine to see this.  I think if I were to recommend someone to this, and they were to see what is going on, it would reflect badly on myself or my profession. 

I think "Stage it Forward" has a chance to be "Classy".....................but is falling short.

I totally expect to be "ripped" for this, but it has been on my mind, and felt it should be said. 


Posted by Eva Rivera (Decorating Flavor) over 13 years ago

Eva -  you are not alone in your sentiments.  I agree with what you just wrote here - there is a way to do things in a professional and thought provoking manner that isn't mud slinging, naming names or hurtful.  Being the public forum this is (even when posted to "members only" anyone at anytime can become a member - so it's not as private as one may assume) many prospective clients and even business associates are reading these posts.  Yes any new industry must go through growing pains but there are better ways of doing things than some of the things I've seen here. 

Maintaining professionalism and objectivity in all forms of business communication is key to crucial conversations, whether it gets heated or not - there are choices.

Posted by Karen Otto, Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, (Home Star Staging) over 13 years ago
Sorry you guys are in the midst of such controversy.  Reminds me of the joke about the people in heaven who want to be the only ones there.
Posted by ARDELL DellaLoggia (Better Properties Seattle ) over 13 years ago

Dear Eva and Karen,

You are both right... it was not a pretty sight to see at times. Lots of lemons... so what do I do? I try to make Lemon Aid.... maybe even KoolAid Lemon Aid! LOL (A little levity is one way to start to move on.)

Stage It Forward might look like words on a screen but it is a community. Made up of real people (with hearts and souls, pains and passions... real people with real feelings) who DO happen to come from within our industry.

Those were just 2 "heated" posts of 2500 already posted in Stage It Forward. That is a mere 1/1250th of all the posts! THAT is small potatoes and does NOT really represent Stage It Forward

I believe you do have to have bad so that the good CAN shine. Within a few days these posts well disappear and move down because NEW information will be published. Within a few days these posts will be replaced by more of what are TYPICAL Stage It Foreward posts.

It was what it was for a couple of days. 

While I will not RUN from from posts like these. I will not EMBRACE them either. It was what it was. Warts and all. I am trying to "correct" the matter by letting people know that this WAS something that took place... by being transparent. I do believe people are intelligent will see in the long run that this WAS just a blip on the screen... because that was and is what it was. A blip. And if they don't... that is who they are and this site might NOT be the right place for them.  

Negativity is an odd thing. I wish it did not occur... but it does. Maybe it is because I saw in my own family gloss over and stuff down painful negative realities that I deal with negativity the way I now do. Never talking about issues, it was "la la la" and that "everything is fine and good" in the community of my family. And I saw the sad and VERY painful result of stuffing down negativity. You can go back and find my blog posted last December called "The Gift of Tears" if you like to read the result. It was painful negativity stuffed down yet finally released in the most extreme of ways.

I have since learned that TRANSPARENCY is a much better way to go. This post today, that the BIG RAIN has chosen to feature, helps with the transparency. It shows we are NOT afraid to look at ourselves... good, bad or indifferent.

This post links all the posts... even those trying pull it back to a positive discussion. I did NOT just feature the negative posts. The positive posts demonstrate that the community IS working to bring back to calmer equilibrium all that was happening.

Unfortunately their is this rift within our industry. It goes beyond competition. It IS an element IN our industry and has been for QUITE awhile. Ignoring it is not the answer. Was this the BEST way to go about discussing those issues. Nope... not at all. But it came and was there. Pretending it is not there, or squashing it does NOT serve the industry... in the long run. I have commented in blogs from way back, way before Stage It Forward was around, that there is "bickering" in our industry. So now we've seen it... a couple of times.

So what are we going to do about it? Start bicker about the bickering? Or help find solutions that FINALLY put an end to it?

The issues discussed were good and should and need to be discussed... but again you are right it went too "personal". But not letting a member of our community speak is wrong... on either side. And I KNOW that both sides have those of you that agree with them. They might NOT agree with the delivery... but the CONTENT is something that needed discussion.

Also and in this case unfortunately one dynamic of blogs are that they are PERSONAL accounts/articles/posts/stories/tales. This creates a whole UNIQUE set of realities to deal with. I worked in print media for over 10 years. That media controlled and crafted the message the public saw. Bloggs are different. Part of the texture and personality of this new media is it individuality and personal empowerment it gives to all.

America has long struggled with the Freedom of Speech debate... gosh how I felt that here this week.

I chose to let the words be "published". It was weird to watch it unforld I have to admit. Just what is the "right" thing to do... gosh that is a tuff one. I chose to let it ride.

I have seen before an even LARGER "BATTLE" with MORE players in the Big Rain (much much much bigger than what we saw this week). Do you know of it? Now remember Active Rain is JUST 1 year old. So this was not that long ago. It was painful to see unfold. This is where I realized that the words on the screen are NOT just words posted. They are people. I saw people hurt with words. But do you know of it? Have you heard of it? Did you see it? Do people dwell on it? It came and it went and Active Rain is thriving.

During that time I remember one wise women and most of the most prolific bloggers here on Active Rain(Krystal Kraft) say this... "This too shall pass!" And it did.

Yes it is there if you want to dig up the crap... but a blip on the screen is not all that there is.


PS: Please don't read this as "blasting" it is just my way of sharing with you my perspective and what has infomed the way I look at things... that is all.

PSS: You might enjoy my Good Words Post that I put up today. I have them selected.

Posted by Craig Schiller over 13 years ago
Interesting if i look about over 11 yrs ago when I started in the Real Estate...if we said the word stagging I wonder what people would say. I do not beleive it even exsisted.
Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (Brokered by eXp Realty LLC) over 13 years ago

Hi Eva - I agree with you.  Some of these discussions certainly get off the track and head into the gutter sometimes.  And yes, I also agree with Craig about the freedom of expression/speach thing.  However, the thing is that when people read these personal attacks and sometimes childish dramas, they can get turned off and make assumptions about the people participating in them. 

I am sure everyone here has good intentions and are all striving towards similar goals.  However, this is NOT the place for carrying out public dramas.  If there is a personal problem, it should be dealt with via private e-mail or a phone call.  It is NOT everyone elses business.

As for me, Days of Our Lives is enough daily drama!!! (lol).

Posted by Maureen Graziano (Third Eye Home Staging) over 13 years ago

Hi Craig - I understand exactly what you are saying.  All I wanted to add was that there is a way to convey one's feelings, hurts, disagreements, differences in a constructive manner - what has been happening is  very public and what I see as a destructive one. 

I  believe that the issues that pertain to a personal nature should be kept that, between the people involved and through private emails or for goodness sake PICK UP THE PHONE AND TALK TO EACH OTHER or send a handwritten note - the very desensitized nature of the internet makes us sometimes more comfortable to say and write things we wouldn't dream about saying to someone in person face to face. 

I get along with all the neighbors on my block, I know a lot about them, I just don't need to hear the fights that we all know go on at times that have nothing to do with living on the block, we'd all feel much differently about each other if we knew every detail of each other's lives. 

I personally think as mature adults, we can find a happy medium to discuss things that will move the staging industry forward in a healthier more productive way.

Thanks again for taking the time to share your perspective, I do appreciate it.

Posted by Karen Otto, Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, (Home Star Staging) over 13 years ago

In my opinion, I think what happens is survival mode kicks in to defend and protect oneself. If one feels like they could loose what they have, they pull out everything they've got to defend themselves and/or their livelihood. It is pure instinct and until that instinct evolves into a maturity, it will continue to require massaging. 

I don't see any evolution or resolution happening as a result of these specific discussions; the victim and the blind follower are not shifting, evolving, or growing in my observation. And the source of contention is still the same source, unchanged and unyielding.

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 13 years ago

Hey Craig

What I don't understand is who has time to be worried about all this nonsense. Everyone should be OUT THERE helping our industry grow and Staging Homes to help sellers move on...

Peace, Phyllis pafumi

Posted by Phyllis Pafumi, ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ (ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey) over 13 years ago