Tell us about you and your company?
My name is Hannah and I am the Founder and Principal Stager at ACT1 Interiors. I started my business in 2018, after being a stay at home mom for several years. I am blessed with two amazing boys who are my biggest supporters. I always had a passion for interior decor but didn’t know how or where to start. I was introduced to staging when I was selling my house and thought it was a great idea to explore as a business. I started researching and also took a course that helped me set up my business. It was a great course because I was introduced to and became part of an association for stagers. I met many wonderful people who soon became mentors to help navigate through this entrepreneurial journey. I’ve worked on projects building rooms from the ground up to helping people rearrange spaces to styling airbnb properties. I also love advising clients on interior design factors such as space planning, layout and utilization of furnishings or equipment, and color coordination.
What inspired you to start your company?
I was in the process of selling my house when our real estate agent sent over a stager to help prep our home. I became interested in the idea and as I had never heard of it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the greatest experience so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I visited Home Sense to purchase a few items to give the house that “wow factor” it was missing. I started researching this industry and just like any other business you determine how you would differentiate yourself from your competitors. I was inspired by many stagers who were showcasing their work on social media and they truly became the motivation I needed to start and succeed in this business.
As a business owner, what has been your biggest challenge, how did you recover and what were the lessons learned?
As a small business owner you are faced with challenges everyday. When I first started my company, I didn’t know anyone in the Real Estate world. I had no idea where and how to even begin. I remember setting up time to meet with a realtor and after discussing my business, he handed me back all my marketing material and said, “…Well, if I need staging I will let you know.” As you can imagine, I was crushed and embarrassed. In that moment, I realized how hard I had to work to represent myself and my company.
The biggest challenge is the lack of time in the day and balancing growth and quality of my work. As an owner I was responsible for executing business plans, marketing to new and existing clients, meeting with clients, staging and de-staging, etc. In addition, the tight timelines and deadlines were challenging. In many instances, I found myself making a choice between working long hours or finding ways to cut corners. Neither of those were great solutions. I had to take a step back and re-evaluate how important it is to represent myself and my company. I decided the best thing to do is to hire and train my staff. I had to also trust my team to be creative and take on responsibilities so I don’t have to execute everything on my own. That was the best decision! As a business owner, your team is the most valuable part of your business. Allowing them to flourish, be creative, share ideas and have personal growth is what keeps them working for you.
What do you love about being a small business owner?
There is definitely a love/hate relationship of being a small business owner. There are some aspects of owning a business that I’m not too fond of - but I love connecting with my clients. I thoroughly enjoy meeting with my clients and helping them through the process of emotionally disconnecting from their home. I also have the privilege of listening to their personal stories and memories they’ve made in their home. This is the best part of my job as a business owner.
Who is your ideal customer and when should they start to engage your services?
My ideal clients are realtors. They are the first point of contact between me and the sellers. Our first step is booking the consultation where the realtor introduces me to their client and we do a walk through of their home and take pictures along the way. The photos help me design the plans on how to proceed with each project. My role is to make sure I showcase each property to its full potential and help get them top dollar for their property.
What is your definition of self-care?
Taking time for myself and stepping away from my business and being a mom. That is what truly recharges me. Taking a long relaxing shower, meditating, yoga, hanging out with friends and dancing are all stress relievers that help me reset.
How can people get to know more about what you’re doing and where can they find you?
My Instagram is the best place to follow along on our latest projects and daily activity. Please follow us at @ACT1Interiors.