Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog


My Personal COMMENT on a STAGER'S STORM in the Rain

 While it was NOT the intent of my initial post entitled "Was Barb Schwarz the 'INVENTOR' of Home Staging"... somehow this post did cause issues to swirl to the surface. And in all this there lies a lesson for ANYONE who writes a blog.

So first let's talk about MY PERSONAL PURPOSE for writing that post.

The great thing about Active Rain is it a place for me to write my "first draft" and see what "works" with what I wrote. Comments then give me a clue to how well I communicated my message and if I need to alter/tweak before putting it up on my "Pretty" blog. Case in point... I KNOW that post missed some of the mark. I needed to go back and do some editing.

This post was about USING WORDS, CHOOSING WORDS, and ASSIGNING WORDS to the thoughts, ideas, theories, plans, programs, methodologies, concepts, wishes etc... etc etc we write of in life. I don't care if you are writing a note to you kid's teacher at school or a book that makes the New York Times Best Seller's List.

WORDS have power to convey (or wrongfully convey) a message. CHOOSE them carefully. THAT is why even in my own post I saw that the words I choose in the post did not fully convey the message I WANTED to communicate. So when I rewrote it and posted it on my "Pretty Blog" I added this: 

"Anyway... getting back to words, the use of the words "invent" and "staging" demonstrate how the use of the one right word can help to effectively communicate a message. So while Barb's word "staging" is masterfully on target, on the flip side, the word "invent" falls short."

I chose BARB SCHWARZ as a subject to write about because she is a recognized FACE IN THIS industry. Whether you personally have good, bad or indifferent feelings for her... it is a fact she is recognizable figure in the industry that I write about. From a writers perspective, it helps to develop a point and convey a message if you KNOW your audience can RELATE to that which you write.

As more and more people read my words... it sets me up to be a target. I know it, I expect it, I don't LIKE it...  but that is the way that it is. PERIOD. So my words need to be CAREFULLY selected. As do Barb's or ANYONE ELSE who writes PUBLICLY! Period. In this industry or any other. Period. As a writer you put your words out there to BE scrutinized. PERIOD. And if you don't like the fact that people MAY just challenge what you say. Then DON'T write blogs, DON'T write articles, DON'T give interviews, DON'T do videos, DON'T write books, DON'T teach seminars. LIVE in a friggin bubble.

But PLEASE reader, viewer, listener know that JUST because it is printed, televised, spoken that DOESN'T make it God's Truth. Don't be that ignorant or naive.

If you are THAT naive... then here. Craig Schiller created the World.  Now wait 2 days and print this post out.  Then you have the printed PROOF that it is so. Because you read it here and it is printed out! Really! What ever happened to the saying... "Question Authority" ?

As for all the controversy that surrounds Barb Schwarz.

I am sorry it is such. But there is obviously something VERY REAL between these people and Barb. AS there is something REAL between those people that LIKE Barb and Barb. 

It is a well known fact that people LOVE bad news MORE then good news. But, the BAD will TRUMP the good. And the BAD will grow and spread FASTER than the good. And the bad will be harder to clean up.

Once the BAD is out there it will stick to the hearts of those who feel it and they will judge, criticize, condemn Barb no matter what she does. She could create a scout troop for orphans that walks old ladies and puppies across street corners... and she will be a target. The hurt these people feel to me seems way too real. Way too deep. Who am I or who are you to say it is not so, for those that are hurting?


PS: I originally wrote this as my own comment on the blog referenced above... but I think there might be a greater message/lesson to be learned.


Comment balloon 25 commentsCraig Schiller • April 17 2007 09:29AM


Hi Craig - I responded to this same post on your original. 

Blog on!

Posted by Maureen Graziano (Third Eye Home Staging) over 13 years ago
Craig... you laid it out in this one. I like this post. Sometimes transparency and honesty and saying what you feel comes with a price. Honesty can be perceived as brutal. But if our honesty is measured with a good dose of "do unto others," all is well. The truth is it's own defense. I had never heard of Barb before your post, I'm not up on my staging history. So I'm not the one to comment on the "storm." But I understood your post to be about words, not an attempt to deny Barb her rightful place as a staging leader. 
Posted by Jeff Turner (RealSatisfied) over 13 years ago

Craig, I log on this morning and see the "storm" . . .it reminds me how important it is to take seriously the persona we create through words and interactions in this network or others.  The written word, though powerful, when used in daily interaction, such as on AR, is lacking the inflection, tone, pace and expression of spoken word. . . and misunderstandings, misinterpretations, mistakes are inevitable.  It becomes profoundly important to be cautious, gauge reaction and redirect if necessary.  Nicely done.

(I believe the "friggin bubble" might get lonely)


Posted by Lori Gilmore, One Savvy Move Home Staging (One Savvy Move) over 13 years ago
I had missed your original post and did not see it as "Barb Bashing" - it was a correction that needed to be made in your industry.  Words are difficult, they can be missinterpreted but the message I like the most from your post is "JUST because it is printed, televised, spoken DOESN'T make it God's Truth" - what makes blogging so powerful is the fact that it is the expression of human beings who are not perfect - we are not reporters and our opinion is not the final word.
Posted by Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate (Majestic Properties) over 13 years ago

Craig, you got people to feel something.  Maybe not exactly what you INTENDED, but you made people think and feel and get a little passionate.  Not a totally bad thing.  I think it's really cool that you can "practice" here for your pretty blog.

I need a "pretty blog".  (Pout.)

Posted by Sarah Cooper (Real Estate Shows) over 13 years ago


You are right that when we put ourselves out there we should expect to be criticized. Just keep blogging as you have and as far as Barb, truth is she is a leader in the industry regardless of what people may think, good bad or indifferent.

She worked hard to build her name, she has been at since 1972, right?? Hey in 30 years from now I hope people are still talking about me and if they are I could care less what they are saying, the fact that they remember my name, PRICELESS

Phyllis Pafumi

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

What is a good leader? My favorite teacher of all time, Betty Jean House, said to all her students and I quote; "You will all become greater than I, the student always becomes more than the teacher". She continued with "for you will use what I have given you and evolve it making it your own, using it in places I have never known".

Stage It Forward! 

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

Craig, I competely understood your first blog.  It seemed very clear to me exactly what you were saying about words.  I had no idea there was a storm about your blog!  The wonderful thing I have discovered about AR, is the freedom to voice ones opinion.  Peoples opinions are neither right or wrong, they are simply opinions.  No need to get hostile with one another.  I always consider reading blogs as just another way to open the "bubble" in my head and to expand it!  God know it won't pop!

I am with Lori, "the friggin bubble" can get pretty lonely if you do let get out and get some exercise!

Joelle Green, with my oh, so humble OPINION!  

Posted by No Longer Available over 13 years ago

Good Morning Craig: People perceive things so different- you write a blog about verbage and some people found it to be the chance to 'explore' & 'share' their experiences not so much with the verbage but with whom was presented as an example. As they say  - whether it be good publicity or bad publicity - all publicity is good because everyone knows your name/oraganization...and for the people that didn't know of that organization-now they do!  We are all 'Re-Inventing' Home Staging everyday by sharing, exploring and updating ideas & information within the staging industry.

Posted by Carol Flores (4 Square Home Staging & ReDesign) over 13 years ago
Good posts, Craig! Here's another one: Active Rain invented the real estate blogging storm:-)
Posted by Roberta Murphy, Carlsbad Real Estate and Homes (San Diego Previews Real Estate) over 13 years ago

Nice work as always, Craig.

I used to work in the contact center industry. One thing you learned pretty quickly was that people would say things over the phone that they might not otherwise say in person. The degree of anonymity caused people to act differently. The same is true of blog communities and the Internet. People express themselves in ways they wouldn't ordinarily in person. And many times they're not showing their best self and they can get ugly.

That's just part of the territory as you pointed out. 

Stage It Forward!


Select Home Staging

Denver, Colorado 


Posted by Veronica Harbert, Select Home Staging (Select Home Staging) over 13 years ago


Barb is a marketing genius. Really. She picked up the idea (which I'm sure many agents were doing) and ran with it.

I had seminars with Barb back in the '80's. And bought her VHS tape to give to my sellers so that they'd prepared their home for sale.

Now, the movement has taken off. People know the term and are aware of the need to make a home show well.

Guess, I'm too old to be too concerned. Yes, words are important...and in a flat medium (which is what blogging is) you never quite know the spearker's tone.

Blog? The term "blog" is a portmanteau, or, in other words, a blend of the words web and log (Web log). "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. Wikipedia.

It's a contraction of web log.

Posted by Eileen Landau, ABR, CRS, e-PRO (BAIRD & WARNER, NAPERVILLE) over 13 years ago
Craig, I just read your previous post(and all the comments) and this one and can only say "You be blogging now stager boy":) And I DO mean that in a great way. 
Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) over 13 years ago
It's success when you create the passionate comments you did, and get people involved.
Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) over 13 years ago

I love how you took it one step further and talked about words and the way we use them. Excellent points Craig.


Posted by Monika McGillicuddy, NH Real Estate Broker (Prudential Verani Realty) over 13 years ago
It's funny.  I used to think that it was the thought that counted. But we see how using the wrong words can make a huge difference.  If Imus would have said something like those girls are big, tough and ugly, things would have been much different.  Instead, he tried to be funny, screwed up and used the wrong words and now he's out millions of dollars. 
Posted by Tim Maitski, Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal (Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage) over 13 years ago
Okay Craig... I updated my post to specify that she invented the "term" staging.  Hope this is clear to any of my blog readers.  :-)
Posted by Irina Netchaev, Pasadena CA Real Estate (Pasadena Views Real Estate Team, Inc.) over 13 years ago
Craig...when you invented the world Why did you make Adam first?
Posted by Joan Mirantz, Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire (Homequest Real Estate) over 13 years ago
If Craig had actually invented the world it would have been much better staged.  ;)
Posted by Maureen Maureen over 13 years ago this the Tipping Point in the language of Staging?  Thank you for a wonderful and thought provoking read! 
Posted by Margaret Ann Innis, Real Estate Staging - MA & NH (Decorate To Sell - Merrimack Valley Real Estate Staging ) over 13 years ago

Margaret Ann... I hope what this creates is a small opening were understanding and healing can creep in. The negativity keeps the industry smaller and growing slower. I think Active Rain has blown a HUGE HOLE in the smallness that has been. The genuine kindness and professionalism that has been extended to our fellows and colleague stagers here in the Rain needs to spread. THAT is what will tip this.

However I think Barb Schwarz will play a key role, as a leader, to make that happen. She has an amazing opportunity here... I hope she sees it. To start a respectful acknowledgement of OTHER stagers would be a great olive branch to extend.

And if people read into this that I mean Barb has to END being competitive... you got me TOTALLY WRONG. I am a BLUE BLOODED CAPITALIST!  However.... even Ford acknowledges GM. In fact I think the fact that GM poo-poo'd Toyota for so long was a part of the reason why Toyota was able to GAIN on GM. IN fact Toyata is poised to be the world's LARGEST automobile manufacturer.

Holding on too tight just crushes...


PS: I finished The Tipping Point this AM. I am going to take your comment here as a sign that things are coming into alignment. THANK YOU. YOU are a gift to me.


Posted by Craig Schiller over 13 years ago
Craig - Have a pina colada with cocktail bitters and send me the tab!  Stage it forward!
Posted by Margaret Ann Innis, Real Estate Staging - MA & NH (Decorate To Sell - Merrimack Valley Real Estate Staging ) over 13 years ago
Mucho Kudos to you Craig for making us all think, for Tipping it Forward, and for being you :)
Posted by Lori Kim Polk, Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento ( Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services) over 13 years ago
Craig, I see nothing wrong with what was written ( I read both) and simply a recognition of what inventor/invention means. There should be no offense storm...simply fact. There's enough for everyone so sharing can be profitable for all...everything I learned, I leaned in kindergarten...hmmmm
Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) over 13 years ago

Hi Craig-

Isn't it interesting when one receives such strong reaction to written or spoken words? Coming from a place of lack and exclusivity causes individuals to get their emotions ahead of objectivity. The fact is that "More is More" meaning that there is plenty of business for all. Remaining in a state of gratitude for the ability to be on the front end of a rising tide i.e., staging, is the only place to be. Barb Schwarz is an amazing person and has helped the industry of staging to gain the respect and recognition it now enjoys but there are many others who have added exponentially to the wealth of staging knowledge and success. What we focus on expands. As professional stagers, it would behoove all of us to embrace the huge opportunity we have to be a part of something where everybody benefits. Thanks for keeping a bright and joyful stance on the job we all enjoy so much!

Posted by Trish Pachak, ASP Master - Denver, Colorado (We Stage Colorado- Colorado's Premier Staging Experts) over 13 years ago