Running on Empty (the day the furniture warehouse ran out of stock)
Hiring from a furniture warehouse is the first port of call for most property stylists looking to fully or partially stage a client’s property.
Spring market is always a busy time for stylists and furniture warehouses. However, Spring 2014 in Brisbane has seen unprecedented demand for hire furniture. The result? All hire companies in Brisbane are running at very low stock levels.
So how bad are stock levels? Beds are a big problem. It doesn’t matter how pretty the bedlinen- no bed means no bedroom. Rugs, sofas, dining tables, consoles, lamps, cushions and pillow inserts are all at record low levels. The warehouse I use recommends that installs are pushed back to the beginning of December. It’s very difficult to pull a whole house together but we continue to try. It’s amazing what you can do when you have very little to select from.
Let’s look at the causes of the low stock:
1. Number of houses on the market. You only have to feel the weight of the real estate section or to scroll through internet listings to realise there are a lot of houses for sale in Brisbane
2. Oversupply of houses and less buyer demand equals longer time on the market. Furniture hire contracts are being extended so the furniture is slower coming back to the warehouse.
3. Rise in popularity of home staging. More agents and homeowners are requesting staging and more stagers are starting a home staging/property styling business.
Help! I need to list my house quickly – what can I do?
If your property is occupied one option is to request a consultation only. It’s amazing what can be achieved by storing unwanted pieces then using what’s left but in different ways. If you need a few new pieces (lamps,bedlinen, art) these can be bought not hired.
If your property is empty try and work with your home stager on a solution. On hearing of the low stock levels last week one of my clients offered to bring beds from another property along with selected art and rugs. This all eases the pressure and will get the house listed more quickly
Help! I’m a property stylist but I’m turning business away. What can I do?
Focus on other ways to make money. I’m focussing on ‘consultation only’ business and also accepted a piece of re-design business that I’d usually turn down. For those stylists who like Christmas Decorating (I don’t!) or event styling or visual merchandising or home organisation you could offer these services too. In an ideal world we’d all like a plentiful supply of stock in the warehouses but ‘it is what it is’ so stop complaining (yes, even I’ve stopped) and go and find another revenue stream.
Take stock. Take this time to think about your business. What business do you want to attract? What plan do you have in place if this lack of stock happens again? Form alliances, find new suppliers, re-design your website.
A final thought…See those houses in the glossy real estate magazines? See the photos stylists are sharing on social media? These are the result of sleepless nights, worry, negotiations, tears and resourcefulness pushed to the limit (in other words the bit that we try not to expose to the world). Next time you think “well, I wouldn’t have chosen that table” ponder for a minute the stylist didn’t want to choose it either! But we still love what we do, love doing our best for our clients and love getting the call saying “We’ve sold our house” I know I say this time and again but selling houses is what it’s all about.
I’m Imogen Brown a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you want to stage your house I’d love to help. Call 0432994056 or contact me through my website