Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog


The Stage It Forward Banner Unfolds and Rises...

 Jackie Peraza recently wrote a good post entitled Banner's, Bloggers and Staging that I encourage you to read. In is she asks an important question about Stage It Forward and what is happeing under its "banner". I've learned that if one person is thinking thoughts like this... others are too. Question like this need to be asked and should be asked.... so thank you Jackie. I am so pleasee you asked this question. I know you and I share a similar hopes for this industry. Sometimes the reply is better heard, just because the question HAS been asked.

So, in her recent post, Jackie questions what SIF is, in a legitmate statement of concern. She asks,"I didn't really understand when I signed on to blog and post within SIF that I was agreeing to being organized under any one person's or any one group's banner.  I'm asking now, is that a pre-requisite to blogging or posting in this forum, if so; perhaps I should know that here and now and at that point I'll at least be able to make an informed decision.."

Below is my LONG reply, so if you don't want to read all I have written, here is my reply in a nutshell. First, like Jackie, when I created and I "signed on" on to Stage It Forward I didn't know I was organizing a banner. As it was from the begining, being part of SIF on AR requires nothing of you, it is community of voices you can chose to  be a part of. In fact there are many members that do not blog or even comment. Plus, there are also those that come from the "outside" to read what we say and are not members of SIF either.  But like life, Stage It Forward has been and is an evolution that is unfolding and rising.

So to be as transparent as I can be,starting here, I have written a more detailed account of SIF history and how this has evolved and opened up under the Stage It Forward BANNER and were it is going >>>

As for joining under "one person's banner" I agree this should not and is not the intent of this group. As the founder of this group, I first wrote of the vision I had for something I saw that could help create a new bigger, better, organized industry and I gave a name to that vision. I called it "Stage It Forward". That original blog has been paraphrased and shown in the side bar text on the home page of this group since its inception. For what ever reason people saw something possible in the words I wrote and the group I formed under those words. There were other staging groups that formed at about the same time and there are other staging groups that since have formed here on AR. But this group has caught the collective attention of MOST stagers that are on Active Rain for a reason. I believe that reason is because people and assocaitions adopted, share and build upon the vision I first wrote of over a year ago.

As long as ActiveRain keeps this as THEIR policy, the SIF Community on AR is and will always remain FREE to join. Members are also FREE to leave if it is NOT what a member wanted, hoped for or thought it would be.But, on the flip side, what Stage It Forward evolves into and offers does NOT require people to be members of this blogging community either. In fact, recently I told facilitators, who have asked, that ALL stagers (SIF members or not) are invited to and welcome at SIF RoundTables.

But having a vision, writing that vision, refining that vision is a process that grows and evolves. Take, for example, our own country, it was "birthed" out of a vision first written as a declaration. It is a widely held belief that Thomas Jefferson led the way when he wrote the initial draft of the Declation of Independence, which then evolved and was refined by others. 

Literally, the very moment I thought of Stage It Forward I sat down and wrote the description of a possibility that I saw for all stagers. These would be the founding words that launched the group. In fact , 4 days after I wrote that KEY post entitled STAGE IT FORWARD..., where I first wrote of the vision and possibility I saw for the future of the home staging industry, Audra Slinkey sent me an encouraging email which wisely said, "I noticed a good little business niche for you in the last blog :)."  Over a year ago Audra saw possibility for what Stage It Forward could become.  But where my intital "vision" came from I don't know. I do know I was impressed with what I saw in the "big" Rain: and I knew part of what home staging needed was group where all voices could be spoken freely.

So to keep true to what I saw possible I know I had to incorporate a united collective voice into ALL that I have done. I have learned that in order to unite you have to listen to the "collective voice of the disgruntled" as well as what I call the "collective voice of those who are quietly content". Both are members here in Stage It Forward. For me the difficulty has been reaching out to the collectively "entrenched" and leery of any and all who strive to make this industry better. Plus, I have already come to see that the more one tries to do, the more there will be those that will set you in their sites as a target and take shots at you try to undermine you. This industry has seen PLENTY of this negativity. I wish I could say it is over.

So listening to, gathering and sharing the collective voice is what I have passionately try to make sure is incorporated in all I do for SIF and its members. Unfortunately, in the gathering and then the sharing, some people are going to make the assumption that Stage It Forward is ALL "Craig". Ongoingly, as SIF has been unfolding, I have been working hard make sure it is not seen as such. Knowing this would an issue I knew I had to be proactive. So when Callie Waterhouse first asked me if I would speak to a group of stagers in AZ, I was honored. It was important that I  did not  make it all about "Craig", the INDUSTRY had/has to be the star. It is for that reason I contacted stagers across North America (literally right before I was heading to the airport) and asked that they submit a question we could use for the AZ discussion. I promised that I would be sure to give them credit for their words. From what was to be submitted I hoped to get 10 good questions that would spark dialogue. Well I got more... I think it was about 20 good questions. So I thought of a way to incorporate them ALL into the discussion giving ALL a chance to "be heard". I listened. I gathered. I shared.

As we all now know, this first RoundTable went SO well and the questions were SO good and sparked SO much conversation and because so many contacted me wishing they could have, what is now called a SIF RoundTable, in their areas, I came up with a way to organize it on behalf of all. I listened. I gathered. I shared. The same ORIGINAL questions, first submitted by others, would be used as a springboard for discussion at these too.

But something like this must be organized, so I asked for help. Yvonne Root, a participant in the AZ SIF RoundTable, offered to help. To make an undertaking such as this worthwhile, they MUST be led. But again NOT wanting this to be the "Craig" show, I have been adamant that we are ALL just Members.  Yvonne and I had a discussion and chose the word "facilitator" to describe the member who leads the discussions. We thought the word conveyed leadership without title and power. In fact, Yvonne, then researched and then sent me an email with the definition of the word "round table" and the EQUALITY it conveys to all who participate.

While I am the founding member of this group of bloggers that is and has grown under under what is become the "Stage It Forward..." banner, I am still just a member. While I have taken on roles and responsibilities in places BEYOND what a typical member is doing on their own fronts for SIF's sake, this does not make me better then any other.  It is just where my passion is. I gotta admit where that passion comes from I do not know. All I know is what I have been doing has helped and I willing enjoy doing what I can. As time has unfolded, who I personally have evolved to be in SIF and this industry is changing. THIS was not something I set out to do, planned to do, schemed or connived to do. It just opened up. What I've said and what I see and how I say things connects with people. But as the saying goes, talk is cheap. So SAYING it is one thing. Putting it into action is another.

"Action" means that which does, and will fall under the Stage It Forward banner will expand. As I am sure Audra wants for her foundation training program (HSR) and her new industry association know as ASHSR. Expansion is the natural progression of things. As SIF evolves, over time, my hope is more  WILL become involved because more good opportunities to participate will be made available. But as I have tried to do now, as SIF expands I will continue to LISTEN, to GATHER and to SHARE the best collective message that I can.

So... if members here believe in what is ufolding under the Stage It Forward banner... I invite you to stay. If people DON'T like or believe in what is evolving, I invite you to stay or leave. Either viable choice is their's to freely make. But Stage It Forward's evolution will continue as it's banner rises higher.

Stage It Forward...


Comment balloon 14 commentsCraig Schiller • December 01 2007 10:51AM


Some of your words remind me of when I was working with the late Dr. Ron Herring doing workshops. He had some T-shirts for the facilitators which were printed with the word "staff" on the front and on the back was this image:

I for one appreciate all that you have done for me personally and for this emerging industry. I have always been impressed with your humility and with your genuine concern for the profession as a whole. Additionally, I have admired your visionary abilities and your willingness to so freely give of your wisdom and gifts.

Posted by James Frazier (James Frazier Personal Development Coach) almost 13 years ago


I can Only Second James Frazier's words in which you have a gift and passion to take your valuable time out of your busy day to write such informative helpful inspiring post.

And you ask for nothing in return, but to listen and share how we collectively can help make the Staging industry grow.

Best Wishes, And PLEASE keep up the great work!

We all benefit from your Posts!

Brian Bloom

All In One Staging & Redesign inc,

Posted by Brian Bloom, All in One Staging Inc. - Home Staging Consultant, Redesign Expert ( 1-630-292-2710) almost 13 years ago

Hi Craig, As I mentioned yesterday, I am most appreciative that you did not take that question as a direct shot at you and instead recognized it as a genuine question and concern on my part.  Rather, I was looking for a definition of term in larger perspective - thank you.

Having a greater understanding by being able to actually read the same page from the same book makes it much easier to follow the entire storyline.  Again, thank you for take the time to put as much thought into this post as you have to share that storyline.  Organization under the SIF Banner makes sense for Perceptions AdverStaging because we are on the same page.  I just needed to know what book we were reading from to determine if I even liked the story.

You are correct, we do have similar hopes for this industry.


Posted by Jackie Peraza, Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts (Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC) almost 13 years ago
Wow Craig - you began this group right after you invited me to join and I have been watching the evolution too and feel that It has allowed me to be a part of the growth. That is what has been so fun and worthwhile for us. SIF has been the neutral breeding ground needed for everyone at a time when there was nothing and I hope it stays that way. Thank you for your openness and willingness to expand and explore all the possibilities.
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) almost 13 years ago

As many of you have come to know, I am a skeptical one. The one place I felt there was no one person controlling from behind the scene or for some hidden agenda is here in SIF. Despite my feelings for the business', with the innately dividing letters, and associations, SIF (and Craig) has helped me to look beyond the now and to see the possibilities.

I don't know the whole big picture for SIF but the direction it is going is industry positive, mindful of the consummers and unifying of the professionals which matches with my values. I want to see a big picture not a bunch of little pictures with umpteen different views as we have's just not working. 

I am not a follower, not really a leader either, but I recognize SIF is moving in a wonderful leadership role with Craig constantly seeking out our input not taking the helm and directing it for his personal advancement.

So I am going to walk beside Craig, Brian, Yvonne, etc...I know I can learn more from them and at the same time be treated as a valued addition.


p.s. The link to Jackie's blog post doesn't work.

Posted by Toronto's 2 Hounds Design: Decorating + Staging (2 Hounds Design + Home Staging) almost 13 years ago

James: FIRST... schucks and thanks! But I wanted to let you know that I tried to google Ron Herring... but could not figure out WHICH Ron Herring you were talking about.

Brain:THANKS but the more I think about it... I think what my skill is is being able to synthesize all that others are saying. So it really is a group effort.

Jackie: Your Marketing acumen astounds me. Your willingness to pull apart something and REALLY look at it makes me think in new ways. Thanks doing your part.

Sheron: I KNOW WOW... hard to believe. So much has unfolded in so many ways. While we are different paths we are all walking toward the same goal. Eventually we will meet... when the time is right.

Dane:I will be 100% honest... I have no idea were we all will go with SIF. BUT I have to say I am up for and am enjoying the challenge. (PS: Link Fixed)

Posted by Craig Schiller almost 13 years ago

Well, if there was a 'Craig Show' I would gladly sign on to be one of your back up dancers!  I have always respected the way you've been open to anyone and everyone and have always looked to the members of the group to help tow the line, rather than doing it all so that you could get the credit.  I was totally won over when you did not turn your "speaking engagement" in AZ into the 'All Hale Craig Hour', but seized the opportunity to get us all working together. 

Anyway, the thing I love about SIF is that I do truly feel like everyone present matters and no one is looking to be in the spotlight (okay, maybe some are, but no one here would allow it ;)  )  This really is neutral ground for those of us who want to move the industry forward without having to pledge our allegiance to any one company, yet you are always reminding us to reach out to those companies and get them to work along side of us.  And that is something I want to be a part of, without a doubt.

I will gladly fly the SIF banner, because I know that I do not fly it alone.  Thanks for all you do, have done and will continue to do.

Posted by Kimberly Wester almost 13 years ago

Hey Craig - Kimberly has a good idea and she probably didn't realize it but I would carry the SIF banner just like I do the RESA logo...

SIF Banner represents ___________________ (fill in the blank with all the above) I think it represents something special and will help grow the group as well when asked "What is SIF?" (with say a 10,000 point minimum?)

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

Kimberly:  I PROMISE YOU... an ALL CRAIG SHOW would be VERY VERY VERY boring after about 15 minutes.

Hey Sharon... I like I like. I feel a blog coming on... I know the perfect time to do such a post.


Posted by Craig Schiller almost 13 years ago

Will SIF pins be available for purchase? ;-)

And the band played on....still marching to the beat too...

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

When I first started in this business I was a member of IRIS. In less than a year I invited all the Michigan IRIS members to my home for a "roundtable" like meeting. I wanted to meet in person those that have also taken this giant step into the unknown (at the time). I wanted to know what worked for them and what didn't work. Who were they marketing to and how and why. We all brought of marketing materials and our ideas and we shared. And it felt good. We promised to do it again and it didn't happen. Some of those people are no longer in business and some are very successful and some I have found here in the rain.

SIF I feel is like a constant roundtable; people tossing out ideas and others commenting. People sharing what they know and what they have learned. I often wondered if SIF or Craig had further "plans" for the future. But in the end, I like what I see today because it is congruent with my beliefs. I joined RESA after speaking with Shell at great length, because she too shared a common vision as Sharon and I do. Having Chapters and Roundtables across the US and Canada can only benefit my business as the home staging business gains momentum.

I volunteered to facilitate a roundtable because I believe in SIF and I believe in the Home Staging industry as a powerful component of the Real Estate industry. I want to work with others to achieve the goals that we all have.

Posted by Cari Pilon, RE:STYLE Home Staging (RE:STYLE Home Staging) almost 13 years ago

Craig, I know that you have been concerned with the idea of being a member as opposed to being THE LEADER. Well you have to face it -- there can't be members without leaders. If you had not led in forming the group it would not have existed in its present form. Does this mean I wish to make you King? Nope. It just means that I believe you have been doing a good job of (dare I say it?) leading. That is a very good thing.

So what if it breaks down to being in the right place at the right time? You have been able to make choices all along the way in this SIF journey. As I see it, you have made good choices and have indeed put action to your words. It would have been quite crazy for you to constantly call for action if you had never been willing to step to the plate and take action. 

There are various ways for members to vote in order to have a leader. One way is to simply stick around long enough to see what the guy on the soapbox is saying. Then, if I agree with what he is saying I can stick around even longer and see if he is going to get off that soapbox and begin DOING something. Well "leader" I've been watching you in action and I'm very glad that I'm one of the members who has such a gracious, humble, strong, thinking, creative and tenacious man leading the way.

What I have also seen coming from your proactive stance is a lot of people (is it 25 now?) who are also willing to step to the plate and be member-leaders. These are people who have caught the vision and are willing to take the risk in order to help the entire industry grow. The simple answer is these people SEE that by growing the home staging industry they are helping their individual businesses become more of a sought after commodity within the real estate industry. 

Oh, BTW, I would love to take credit for emailing you about the meaning of Round Table, but it wasn't me. I thought I would mention that so whoever did do it could be given his or her proper credit. Thanks Craig for all you do.  

Posted by Yvonne Root, Home Stager - Northern Arizona (rooms b.y. root) almost 13 years ago

Love the flag...and Karen's PIN idea. Can I get one too :)

I think I've said it before but I'll say it again, I admire you for all you bring to the table (dare I say Roundtable?!?!?!) sir.  Your passion, energy and welcoming spirit are contageous and WONDERFUL!

Keep SIF'en. 

Posted by Minnesota Home Staging Firm, Minnesota (Minnesota Home Staging Network~ MN's Top Home Staging Firm) almost 13 years ago

I appreciate Jackie's original queston and the response.  I am fairly new to the community, and was absent when the first SIF roundtables started being mentioned, so it was nice to read how it all evolved.  Keep up the good work!

Kim Dillon, Creative Eye Home Staging

Posted by Kim Dillon (Creative Eye Home Staging) almost 13 years ago