Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog


Dear ASP/ASPM's... I do Believe ONENESS is NOT One Sided

 I have learned that mentioning Barb Schwarz's name in a blog is like taking a match to gasoline.

This is my reply to one of the last comments posted in my last blog post entitled: Will Staging Biz Book Hitting Shelves (this week) Hit the Target? I think my own comment bares repeating here to a bigger audience.

Barb Schwarz IS going to be written about... this is part of her "legacy" which she writes of in her email to you and others that was posted anomalously as a comment in my last blog. Some of the things written about ANY captain of ANY industry will be good, some bad, some indifferent. This is the way of the world. THE BLOG world makes it possible for anyone to say what THEY THINK or FEEL... INSTANTLY! Blogs have EVEN given YOU a forum to express your feelings as a comment.

My original post was NOT mean, it was questioning. I shared with ALL just what I was wondering about when it came to Barb Schwarz's upcoming book. I had NOT made up my decision about her book... but when I REALLY started to think about it, I was led to a conclusion. This conclusion I did NOT share. I was NOT going speculate and pre-judge Barbs book; as THAT would no have been fair. But sharing my thought process about how I saw Barb needing to position her book is FAIR GAME for ME in MY blog. In fact, sharing your thoughts, via comments, is EVEN fair game for YOU in my blog. I do NOT delete comments... good, bad of indifferent.

The first thing you accused the AR stagers of is EXACTLY the thing that upsets them the most with Barb Schwarz and many graduates (not all) ASP and ASPMS of the Whether you chose to acknowledge it or not, there is a SNIDE indignant attitude that NO-ONE but an ASP/APSM can stage. Phyllis Parfum wrote of this in her own post yesterday. It is VERY REAL in our industry. The Universal-oneness you accuse stagers on AR of not having toward Barb is the same thing. ONENESS WILL be part of this industry when and only when all in this industry... this INCLUDES Barb Schwarz, support it. (Don't get me wrong, I am well aware that competition is NOT oneness.)

Barb is a leader. Even in this matter of ONENESS. However, ONENESS is NOT one sided.

If Barb wants this to change than SHE too needs to take a stand of ONENESS. Right now her words tell a different story. Because they do, people will continue to snipe at her. There have been times throughout history when all a people asked of others was to dignify them by acknowledging them. It happens between generations, between cultures, between countries, between races, between sexes, between religions and many other areas.

WHY this can NOT occur in a simple industry is beyond me. HOW many times do others stagers need to hold out the olive branch only to get a cold shoulder? THIS is a sad fact , because if we can not get it right HERE... on such a smaller scale, the there is NO CHANCE for Peace in places like the Middle East.

Barb will play a role in making this happen. OR not making it happen by staying the same. I actually thought this book WOULD help. That was one of the reasons why I wrote what I wrote. She IS walking a tight line. This was part of the quandary the book put her in. I even wrote "she was DAMNED if she did and DAMED if she didn't" somewhere in some comment. I do believe that. But this is also a great opportunity for her... if she sees it and if she can seize it.

However, Barbs own words in that very revealing email are like Rick Wagoner (CEO of General Motors) saying that Toyota, Ford, Daimler/Chrysler, etc can't build cars!

Barbs email does not shed a positive light on her. It reveals much of what she thinks of her non-ASP peers. HER words fuel this fire. HER words incite the negative comments that people make about her. HER words reinforce the snide attitudes (I too have personally experienced) from other ASP stagers. THIS was the negative barrier I wanted to break down. THIS was the reason I spoke of ONENESS in the industry way back in the very first Stage-It-Forward post.

Defending Barb because YOU have experienced her as a nice lady is not the same experience OTHERS have of her. (For the record the time I did meet her she was very gracious.)

Whether Barb likes it or not this is NOW an industry. An industry made of REAL PEOPLE. These people are as REAL as you remind us Barb is. However, Barbs words in that email close off possibility for ONENESS of an industry. I wish Barb could get that she is NOT just a leader of OF a company any longer. NOW she is a leader IN an industry. "Of" and "In" are 2 different things. She needs to realize this industry is made up of others. But she has to now share the industry with other leaders too. In my opinion she is thinking TOO SMALL. She holds tight to something much smaller than the possibility of what can be.

It is a fact Barb is seen as a leader in this BIGGER and GROWING INDUSTRY. And as a leader she is open to criticism... just as the leaders of our country are. Bush is bashed daily. Hillary is bashed daily. Do I like it? No. But being critical and questioning is woven into the fiber of our society.

And... as any leader can do in any industry, if they don't like it...they can LEAVE the industry. But if Barb should leave... warn her on my behalf... she will be criticized for leaving too.

Stage It Forward...



Comment balloon 14 commentsCraig Schiller • May 15 2007 07:11AM


Craig, holding onto my seat.  If this is anything like your last post, it's going to be quite a ride.

Personally, I couldn't believe Barb really wrote that.  It WAS real???  WHOA.

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

Hi Craig-

I went back and read through your last post.

Geeze!  Did people go off on a bit of a tangent there or what?!?

You can just see the misunderstanding build and build.

I know you were just questioning things - it's just another example of people selectively reading a post and then going off in an unintended direction.

Posted by Marc Blasi over 13 years ago

I just posted in another blog that I wasn't going to comment on this again but..... here you are Mr. Schiller and I so appreciate your perspective - I never see it at "negative" but probing and thought provoking and well intentioned - although it can incite the opposite in many.

You hit it when you said, Barb Schwarz is the leader in the  industry. That's the key and I understand exactly what you're saying here.  She is also a business person in an unregulated industry and she is looking out for the best interest of her organization and that is bothersome to those who are not a part of it or want to be part of it.  Understandable. 

I say again, It is an issue of branding - but the rest of the staging community is feeling like it shouldn't be ASP branding - it should be STAGING as the brand.  I liken it to a stock - you buy into one hoping it takes off - yours hits big - your friend's doesn't - but that doesn't mean you're not going to benefit - other's see where the money maker is and start investing and soon enough the company growing and thriving and hey - look there's the next IBM - the STAGING profession can be just that!  But we all need to be a part of it.  Embrace the word STAGING - use it use it use it - don't worry so much about what three initials are behind the name. 

The real proof is in the PERSON behind it.

Really now,  I'm not going to be commenting on this subject anymore....for now.. PEACE my staging brothers and sisters

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

Hey all - The letters and titles mean NOTHING!!! Anyone can BUY these "designations" for the right price.  Like in all careers, the proof is in the pudding.  The bottom line is can you stage and can you run a business???  If not, all the initials in the world will not change that!  Also, at this time, there is no head staging guru or regualatory committee.  There is no licensing, etc., etc.  ANYONE can call themself a "stager". 

To the general public, when hiring a stager, the current titles, letters, etc. mean NOTHING.  They are just given to people who paid for a particular course.  Interview a stager and check out their portfolio, and get references.  This is the way to judge the individual, (not meaningless letters or titles).

I enjoy AR and hope all the "lightning and thunder" end soon!!!!

Oh, and by the way, I have the best 3 initials after my name, MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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


You hit a home run on that one. I agree 100%.

Craig, Thank you for bringing up some very valid points! 

Posted by Anthea Click, Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly! (Fresh Perspectives - over 13 years ago

Favorite Craig: WOW! And in case I wasn’t clear about that, let me just clarify by saying: WOW! This is intense. Iactive rain|active codgers, your active fans ©2007 Codger™ Images just stopped by for a friendly chat—and found myself intently reading & re-reading the comments on the previous post of yours! Someday we’ll commiserate on how to explain Word-graphics design & implementation to others—no controversy there—or IS there?

Posted by Boomer Jack Boardman & Carl McIntyre, the Codgers (Noted Curmudgeons) over 13 years ago
I just love Reality TV and I love Reality Blogging too. I am grinning now because I have sat at my PC the entire day reading and it just hit me...did you know that you can run on over to the Decorators Association of North American (DANA) and purchase your Decorator's Designation for $150? Yep!!! On sale now folks so hurry on over and you can officially become a decorator today! Hurry...
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 13 years ago

Sheron, sounds like we can buy anything these days, except a get out of jail free card for being controversial!

Craig, I admire your response. Very well put.

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

Now if just someday my name will evoke such a response.......

We will see if Paris Hilton can buy a get out of jail card ( or a stay out of jail card)

Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) over 13 years ago

From the perspective of a former business executive who is relatively new to the staging industry...Kudo's to Barb for building her brand.  It's what business people do.

Regarding those who are highly-charged over the controversy of the acronyms...go forth and do good work - that's how we will make STAGING an understood and respected service. 

Those who do well will propser, those who don't will go find another career over time.  The market will figure out the difference.

Kudo's to Karen Otto...I'm w/you 100% on this one!

Posted by Susan Smith (Rooms That Work LLC) over 13 years ago

What we need to realize is that Barb IS A LEADER in the industry and if she did not educate many on the benefits of Home STaging, where would our businesses be today. My only gripe is and will always be that whether you train with her or someone else should NOT qualify you as a GOOD STAGER or NOT!!

Geez, a realtor just called me again yesterday to inform me that I home I staged SOLD for $20K over asking before even hitting the MLS. Had nothing to do with my letters but everything to do with the GIFT GOD has blessed me with....

Phyllis Pafumi

Posted by Phyllis Pafumi, ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ (ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey) over 13 years ago
I spent several years with Xerox while in the corporate world.  Xerox did invent the copier, the mouse, and yes even e-mail.  Xerox would not be the company they are today if they spent all of their energy squabbling with HP, Canon, Ricoh, etc. about who invented the industry.  Kudos to Barb for her ingenuity in formalizing the term but it is time to move on.  We are in an exciting growth industry and there are many frontiers yet to uncover! 
Posted by Jo Potvin, Home Staging Cincinnati - Design To Market (Design To Market LLC) over 13 years ago

I stay on the education topic and yesterday I asked an editor of a local real estate publicaton if he would allow me to write an article, hopefully to become a regular feature.  I told him the best way to see what I write about and how I write was to go to AR and look at the blogs I've submitted.  He was concerned that the articles not be "self-promoting for any individual" and that they be educational, informative and geared to the public.  I am out in the staging arena trying to brand myself, but I don't think I can build an image until all realtors and the public know what I do and what staging really is about

Barb Swartz cannot possibly help or hurt what I am doing in my business.  I simply don't care about the woman and what she thinks.  She can 'trademark' the term staging (not) and it matters not one whit.  What concerns me is that she would try to make anyone think it is trademarked.  Anyone who has applied for and gotten, a trademark knows full well that a word in general usage, the name of a locality and I could go on, CANNOT be trademarked.

I join with my fellow stagers who say drop the designation .  Build a portfolio, get realtor endorsements and

Stage it forward!

Posted by Carol Ellis Luxury-Domain to Home Stage over 13 years ago
I'm not sure what all of this is about.  I am an ASP.  Isn't an ASP a snake?
Posted by ARDELL DellaLoggia (Better Properties Seattle ) over 13 years ago