2017 IAHSP Conference Review by Courtney Schomburg of InHanceIt Staging . . .

It is nice when an attendee summarizes our event so well  on her own- it had to be shared as these are her words and experience – unsolicited – but so great!  Thank you, Courtney, for allowing us to re-blog your blog post!

2017 International Association of Home Staging Professionals – Nothing Short of Amazing!

21FEB2017in Upcoming Events

After a whirlwind weekend in Ft. Lauderdale I have finally returned home.  I had a great time and learned a ton at the annual IAHSP (International Association of Home Staging Professionals) conference and expo.  The theme of the conference was “Raise the Bar”, and I felt like they certainly did that!  The first morning was jammed packed full of information.  The energy in the room was so high and everyone was excited to be there.  Great music was played throughout the day to keep people energized and focused.

We kicked it off with Jennie Norris, the President and CEO of StagedHomes.com and IAHSP Chairwoman, telling us how we can “Raise the Bar” in our lives and careers by being clear about what we want, staying connected, and practicing good habits.  She used the BAR acronym to show us ways to “Raise the Bar” on business, communication, staging work, involvement, and attitude. Jennie was a dynamic speaker and had great advice.

The next presenter was a real estate photographer who stressed the importance of professional photography and building a “Brand”.  We learned that, in order to brand yourself and your business you need to stay consistent and be comfortably YOU. She also stressed that our job is to sell “Welcome Home”.

Blair Hamaty, the CEO of Setting the Space was a fun, energetic, and entertaining speaker. He prides himself on being the “YES man” and says that saying YES is what got him to where he is today.  Blair’s advice is to accept any challenge presented by a customer, help them solve their problems and to never say “NO” to any price.  He also expressed the importance to diversification, thinking outside of the box, and finding other ways to improve your business and to make more money.

After a quick bite to eat we were back at it and learning from Sandra Holmes, the president of Home Staging Concepts and IAHSP Vendor Affiliates Director, about buying wholesale and partnering with local artists to bring unique pieces into your staged properties.  I took about 6 pages of notes in the short time Sandra was speaking and I could have listened to her the rest of the day.  Everything Sandra had to say was very relevant to me and our business.  I think after hearing about all of Sandra’s success we might finally bite the bullet and buy wholesale…couldn’t hurt to try! “Buy low, rent high, sell high!”

After this power-packed morning we had a few of the event sponsors talk about their products. SURYA was the main sponsor of the event and surprised us with a few great deals just for being at the conference. I just received my 830 page SURYA catalog in the mail last week, so I was excited to learn more about the company and how their wholesale program works.

The main event!! Jeff Lewis from Bravo TV’s “Flipping Out” was our last speaker of the day.  Everyone was excited to meet him and hear what he had to say.  HE WAS AMAZING! Exactly like what you see from him on the TV show.  He was hilarious and entertaining.  He started off with a little gossip about the women of Real Housewife’s and talked about his baby girl, Gage and of course Zoila.  He answered every design question we threw at him.  Yes, he still likes and uses gray!  He went off on a playful side-splitting rant about how much he despises millennials that had the whole room rolling on the floor.  After Jeff’s inspiring talk it was time to meet him!  Somehow, I got lucky and went out a side door to get in line, this is where I basically ran into Gage!  I immediately told him how much I loved him and how his and Jeff’s relationship is like Jon (my husband) and mine.  I am the type A, go-go-go personality type (like Jeff) and he is the calm, cool, and collected one (like Gage).  He got a kick out of that and took a selfie with me.  After waiting in line for what seemed like forever I finally got to meet Jeff.  I was beyond star struck and could barely talk besides telling him how much I love him.  He posed for several pictures with me and complimented my necklace which I was super excited about.  Time to head back to my hotel room and de-brief from this intense day.

After a quick wardrobe change I headed down to the hotel bar for drinks with friends.  Two glasses of wine later it was time for the dinner and awards banquet. After a typical “banquet” dinner the awards ceremony started.  I knew I had entered INhance IT! in for an award so I was on the edge of my seat with excitement the whole time.  With this being my first time having any involvement with the organization I thought there was no way we would win, but we DID!  INhance IT! won Home Staging Team of the Year!  I was beyond excited!  A huge Thank you to everyone at IAHSP for recognizing all of our hard work this past year. Almost 11pm and its time for bed!

Day two of the conference was just as jam packed with great information.  The first speaker on Sunday was Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist.  Let me just say, she is one of my most favorite presenters EVER! Even though I took her three-day course (EPS) I took pages and pages of notes and loved looking at her amazing transformation pictures.  Krisite is a class act and extremely comfortable on the stage.

Next up was Joanne Lenart-Weary, the president of The JLW Company. She taught a great two hour class on color. We explored our new SW paint decks and learned how to divide the deck into four parts to find the perfect color for your client.  JoAnne is extremely knowledgeable and had great advice on choosing paint colors for any room and being confident in ourselves to make the right decision.

Between Kristie and Joanne’s presentations we all received our “IAHSP- CB Color Basics Designation”.  I think that getting a designation while at a conference was the icing on the cake!  What a great value-add!

Kevin Htain, CEO of Identity Home Staging, lead an entertaining talk on design trends for 2017 and beyond.  He is not only a great speaker but also hilarious! I thought I knew it all when it came to design trends but I learned a ton from Kevin.  Flamingo wallpaper is IN! Enough said!!

Home Staging contracts and how to protect and represent your company is something all stagers, new and old, need to revisit from time to time.  David Peterson, Co-owner of Synergy Staging, gave a great presentation on the different kinds of contracts and what each should include.  One of my favorite pieces of advice from David was not contract related but something I am going to implement right away-pin towels together to prevent people from using them.  Genius!

Theresa Thomas, CEO of Stage Right! Home Staging, was the speaker I took the most away from.  When she made the statement “It’s always about price” it really hit home with me.  We have been struggling with pricing because of what our competition is offering, but once she said this it all clicked for me.  We just need to get in the door and upsell!  She also talked about charging what you are worth and how to understand your value.  I am going to take my notes from her session and really think about what Is holding me back and who we are!

I must say, I admire, Mary Scalli, owner of North Huston Blinds and Simple Elegance.  She commits to taking 10 weeks of vacation a year.  She had tons of great advice on how to run your business so that you can step away and still be efficient! Her ideas on how to use Pay Pal to its fullest extent might change how we do business.

Nick May, a business entrepreneur and marketing expert, had great advice on how to write effective blogs and where to draw inspiration for the blogs. I learned about backlinks and guest blogging in order to get traffic to our website. Facebook adds can drive business to our website as long as we are doing them correctly.

As the conference came to a close I had to jet out and catch my Uber to the airport. Sad that it was over, but energized to get back and implement the things I learned.  A huge Thank you to everyone that put this together and made it such a great learning opportunity for stagers from all over the world.  Looking forward to October 2018 and the conference at High Point!

Welcome our newest IAHSP 2017 Conference & EXPO Sponsor – Darby



Inventory Management System

Regardless of the size or type of your inventory, managing your assets makes good business sense! And it does not have to be complicated or costly. Darby Inventory allows home stagers to manage their inventory, customer lists, and vendor information in one place. As stagers, you know the value of photos. Attach photos of all of your inventory so you know exactly what each piece looks like. Know what you paid for it and when you bought it for tracking and incomes tax purposes. You also get fast access to sales and purchasing information through a rich set of detailed reports.

We are looking forward to having them at our event!

IAHSP Welcomes SHERWIN WILLIAMS as a GOLD Sponsor for IAHSP 2017 Conference & EXPO!

We are excited to have SHERWIN WILLIAMS join us as a GOLD Sponsor for the 2017 IAHSP Conference & EXPO!  All attendees will receive the newest color deck, and our IAHSP-CB Designation will feature Sherwin Williams colors as recommended by instructors, Kristie Barnett and JoAnne Lenart Weary.   Sherwin Williams representatives will be in attendance and have a featured display booth in the main ballroom.

For information on the IAHSP 2017 Conference & EXPO go to www.iahspconexpo.com


IAHSP 2017 Staging Industry Awards – Nominations Deadline is TODAY – Jan 6th at Midnight PST!

The longest running industry awards nominations deadline is TODAY – Jan 6th – at midnight PST!  Make sure to turn in your nominations for yourself or a deserving colleague!

Top Vacant Home Staging, Top Occupied Home Staging, Top Team, Top Individual – all with multiple winners awarded, Rising Star, Barb Schwarz Staging Excellence Award, IAHSP-Spirit Award, Top IAHSP Regional Chapter – top one awarded!

Go to www.iahspstagingindustryawards.com and submit your nominations before the deadline passes!  Awards will be given out at our 2017 IAHSP Industry Conference & EXPO Awards Dinner on Saturday, Feb 11th 2017 in Fort Lauderdale!


IAHSP Conference & EXPO Tickets – deadline for best pricing ends Jan 9th at midnight! Get registered before the price goes up and event sells out!

Our 2017 IAHSP Conference & EXPO is going to be amazing!  You don’t want to miss out!  Get your ticket now if you have not done so already and lock in the best rates!  Prices go UP on Jan 10th!   Join our industry sponsors for this fabulous, once in a lifetime event, with our keynote speaker, Jeff Lewis!!  Go to www.iahspconexpo.com to register now!!






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IAHSP 2017 Conference BLACK FRIDAY Special!

Take advantage of this one time special for our 2017 IAHSP Conference & EXPO!!  Register by midnight on Nov 27th to get entered into a drawing for a chance to win a FREE Conference Ticket AND one of the VIP SPOTS with JEFF LEWIS where you get up front and personal with one of Bravo TV’s most popular stars!  All registrants will receive $50 OFF your next IAHSP Renewal!


The Getaway with a Takeaway! IAHSP 2017 Conference & EXPO!

Join Home Staging industry professionals and leaders for the 2017 IAHSP Conference & EXPO February 10-12 in Fort Lauderdale!  We are very excited to be bringing this high level event to our industry! Watch the video and then register by going to www.iahspconexpo.com

You will learn, be inspired, grow, and meet so many wonderful colleagues from all over the world!

SURYA is a PREMIER PLATINUM SPONSOR for the 2017 IAHSP® Conference & EXPO!

JUST ANNOUNCED!  SURYA – purveyors of all things decor, rugs, accessories, and more for the home and garden for Home Staging and Design is a PREMIER PLATINUM Sponsor for the 2017 IAHSP® Conference & EXPO!


“At Surya, our goals are simple: to be the go-to resource for coordinating home accessories across a diverse range of lifestyles and budgets and to simplify the shopping process for designers, retailers and end consumers.  Go to www.surya.com to learn more.”

We are very excited about partnering with this quality company for our 2017 IAHSP® Conference & EXPO!  IAHSP® Members will receive special promotions, and Surya will be prominently featured on our site, our IAHSP® Chapters, and our future members will learn about them during their trainings!

Join us in WELCOMING SURYA as our Premier Platinum Sponsor!!  Go to their site to find out how you can purchase from Surya and save $$ on inventory!

Earn your IAHSP-CB – Color Basics Designation! Come to IAHSP-ConEXPO 2017! The Getaway with a Takeaway!

Earn your IAHSP®-Color Basics Designation by coming to the 2017 IAHSP® Conference & EXPO – Feb 10-12!! Not only will you be learning from industry experts on many different topics, but we will be issuing a NEW Designation to all attendees!   It is your GETAWAY with a major TAKEAWAY – more EDUCATION and more INITIALS you can promote with your business!


Color experts, Kristie Barnett and JoAnne Lenart-Weary will be sharing on color including:

  • How to select best colors for selling
  • How to work with existing colors in a property
  • How colors impact us (and buyers) emotionally
  • Best neutrals and how to incorporate in a property for selling or living
  • And much more!


Go to www.iahspconexpo.com to register now!  We still have openings for the Meet N Greet and Photo Session with KEYNOTE Speaker, Jeff Lewis!!

See YOU in Fort Lauderdale in February!!


IAHSP Conference & EXPO Featured Speakers – check out who we have so far!

Jeff Lewis, Star of Bravo TV’s Flipping Out, Designer and Real Estate Expert

JEFF LEWIS is widely regarded as America’s most well-known house flipper through his role in Bravo’s docu-series Flipping Out.

After renovating his own properties for 20+ years, Jeff launched a design firm in 2009. By 2010, Jeff was asked to design the House Beautiful Magazine Kitchen of the Year, displayed in Rockefeller Center.

In addition to client design work, Jeff launched a line of paint with handcrafted colors in 2013, a line of rugs in 2015, and will launch collections of tile and barn doors while expanding Jeff Lewis Paint to 52-colors in Zero VOC in the Fall of 2016. All products are available exclusively at The Home Depot. The 9th Season of Flipping Out airs from July to September of 2016.

Yvette Michelle Booth

Yvette Michelle Booth

Mere Image ProductionsTopic: Using Photography to Market & Brand Your Business

With Staging, the visual is critical to get the Buyer’s attention. The same is true of our marketing brand. Our image precedes us in all we do and understanding the power of creating a strong brand with photography is key to our longevity.

Yvette Michele is the owner of Mere Image Productions and has developed over 55 creative campaigns since its inception. Her company portfolio boasts over 60% entertainment industry creative and 40% traditional business. Yvette Michele specializes in Brand Campaign, Design, identity systems, logo design, print ads and Internet presence.


Blair Hamaty

Blair Hamaty

Setting the SpaceTopic: Staging Business Growth – Adding Services That Add Mega Dollars

Did you know your business has the potential to earn MEGA dollars? By adding services you add revenue to your bottom line and diversification is a smart business strategy. In this session you will learn from one of the industry’s TOP Staging experts and highly profitable business owner.

Setting the Space is known as New England’s Premier staging and design company. Founded in 2006, CEO, Blair Hamaty has built the multi-million dollar design empire with his team of top talent designers by his side. President, Will Hayward, heads up the creative team working directly with Lead Designer, Sue Shockley. Setting the Space prides itself on its ability to bring fresh, unique and bold designs to their clientele around the world.


Kevin Htain

Kevin Htain

Identity Home StagingTopic: Design Trends For 2017 and Beyond

 This session will be highly informative as Kevin Htain is known for his in-depth research on topics he is presenting. We need to be on top of Design Trends to properly advise our clients for resale or remodel. Learn from industry expert and HGTV fan favorite what we can expect moving into the future.

Recognized amongst Staging and Design aficionados for creating lavishly imaginative spaces that sell… Kevin Htain, ASPM®, is a Home Stager who is rabid for Staging!  Graduating with an Interior Design Degree, top of his class in 1999- Kevin quickly gained opportunities to work with Design companies that created solutions for model homes, clubhouses and leasing centers. Seeking a stronger more direct connection with Clientele that the home building industry seemed to lack, Kevin formulated his own company, Identity Design Group in 2003. The ASP® Certified Staging component was quickly added and the Design component was quickly dropped. Kevin’s company name eventually changed into Identity Home Staging.


Sandra Holmes

Sandra Holmes

Home Staging Concepts, IAHSP.com, StagedHomes.comTopic: Purchasing Wholesale and Partnering with Artists for Profit

When you want to add inventory to your business, being able to purchase wholesale provides a fiscally smart strategy for business growth. Sandra is an expert in resourcing inventory, buying locally and nationally and will share her knowledge on how to best navigate the often complex world of purchasing. Sandra has also partnered with artists throughout the country that ship original artwork that is used and often sold in her high-end Staging projects, which in turn brings in added revenue for her business.

Sandra Holmes is Accredited Staging Professional Master® (ASPM®) and the President of Home Staging Concepts, the Premiere Home Staging Company in South Florida.  Sandra and her team have staged over $1 Billion dollars in real estate since she created her business in 2005. She continues her education in real estate and in the staging industry to keep current with the trends of today’s market.


Jennie Norris

Jennie Norris

IAHSP, StagedHomes.com, Sensational Home StagingTopic: Raise The Bar In Your Business

We all need to be working to increase our productivity and success and stretch ourselves to be the best business owner and person we can be. This session will inspire and motivate you to Raise the Bar in all areas of your life, and provide you with inspiration and ideas to take back with you to help create added success in the future.

Jennie Norris is the Chairwoman of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals® (IAHSP® ), helping to guide the Home Staging industry and provide leadership worldwide. She is President of the Denver IAHSP® Chapter. Jennie is also President & CEO of Stagedhomes.com and for the past 11 years has been a Certified Course Trainer, presenting the Accredited Staging Professional® (ASP®) & ASPM® Course throughout North America.  She is also a professional ASP® Master Home Stager and has been included in Staging features on ABC’s 20/20, NBC’s Today Show and HGTV television and online segments, national and local publications, and radio. She is the only 2-Time Winner of the Staging Award of Excellence and the IAHSP® Spirit Award, voted on by peers in the Home Staging industry.

Jennie is also the owner of Sensational Home Staging serving the Denver area, and oversees a team of Accredited Staging Professional® Stagers that provide the creative set up for all projects. Since 2002, Jennie and her team have Staged nearly 4,000 properties and over $2 Billion in real estate helping both sellers and Realtors® achieve their goals of a fast and profitable sale.


David Peterson

David Peterson

Synergy StagingTopic: Home Staging Contracts: How To Protect and Represent Your Company

Whether you’re brand new to the industry, or have a well-established staging empire, ensuring that you have a proper and up to date Home Staging Contract is vital to your business and every single project. Learn what you should include in your contract and why. Learn how to ensure that you get paid, your furnishings are protected, the property is stage ready, and much more. You’ll walk away not only with important tips for your contract, but numerous ideas about how to run your business more effectively and profitably.

David Peterson is the co-owner of Synergy Staging, an award winning boutique staging company based in Portland, Oregon. Founded in 2007 with his partner Nik Murrow, Synergy Staging was named the Top Staging Team in North America at the 2014 RESA Convention. As one of the premier staging companies in the Northwest, they specialize in vacant home staging and have merchandized hundreds of properties with their unique design aesthetic working with Realtors, investors, builders, and homeowners.


Mary Scalli

Mary Scalli

North Houston Blinds, Simple EleganceTopic: Inventory Management Application and Using Quickbooks To Your Fullest To Run Your Business

This session will share the importance of having the right resources and systems to run your business that can make or break you as your business grows. Since we all have the same amount of time in a day, putting processes in place to help track and manage inventory, and systems to track business growth and revenue will streamline your time and create efficiency, and ultimately make you a more successful business owner.

Mary Scalli is the President & Owner of North Houston Blinds, LLC dba Simple Elegance which specializes in window treatments, shutters, blinds, interior decorating services and home staging to sell and to live. She is an Accredited Staging Professional Master® and was personally trained by Barb Schwarz, the Creator of Home Staging. Mary is dedicated to excellent customer service and making a positive difference in each of her clients’ and team member’s lives.


Theresa Thomas

Theresa Thomas

Stage Right! Home Staging LLCTopic: Correctly Pricing Projects: How Fear Keeps Us From Charging What We’re Worth & How To Create Value in Your Business and Yourself

This session will help us to know how to price our services and get paid what we are worth. Pricing is an art and science and many Stagers are fearful of losing an opportunity that they price lower than they should or don’t realize they could have charged more for Staging. Just as we advise sellers not to leave money on the table by not Staging, we need to not leave money on the table as a professional Home Stager. Pricing strategically helps create value in your business and ultimately yourself.

Theresa Vallier-Thomas is the CEO, Founder & Principal Stager of Stage Right! Home Staging, LLC, which is headquartered in Wilmington, DE.  A published author, Theresa’s core education, experience & trained eye are the keys to her ability to transform any home into a showcase which prospective home buyers routinely fall in love. Since 2007, she has grown her staging company from a few accessories in her basement to a expansive warehouse with enough furniture and accessories to stage dozens of homes at a time.

Stage Right’s client list includes hundreds of Realtors, dozens of home builders and real estate investors and thousands of individual home sellers.