I’m originally from Ocean Twp. and now live in nearby Neptune.
Tell us about your business!
We’re a home staging company located in Monmouth County. We work with investors, realtors and homeowners all over New Jersey who are looking to sell their homes without leaving any money on the table. Our current average of when people list their homes staged to when they accept an offer is 11 days. The quickest someone has accepted an offer was 6 hours! We specialize in helping people market their homes to sell by beautifully transforming their home to get top dollar and a quick sale. We also partner with Realtors by offering home staging and preparation services to their clients in order to obtain more listings, market the listings better, sell the homes faster and for more money.
What’s your background? What made you go into what you’re doing now?
I have always had a strong interest in design. From rearranging my bedroom obsessively as a child to repurposing trash found on the curb to sell at farmers markets. However, I have a background in Sociology and International Development. It’s what I went to college for and how I started my professional career. I distinctly remember during my final semester of college, a professor asked the class what we would be doing if money wasn’t an issue. Assuming we were all thinking something along the lines of sociology (researching, working for nonprofits, diplomacy, etc.), the very first thing that popped in my head was “designer”. I was shocked by my own answer and disheartened considering I had just spent a lot of time and energy working on being at the top of my class and getting a great internship and ultimately, a job. Over the next couple years, I couldn’t shake that thought. In 2016, my desire to do something with design was insatiable and one day I remembered hearing something from years ago called Home Staging. I did a little research, and that was it. I was hooked. I loved that I could still help people and meet them at a point in their lives when they’re going through a change. I loved that I could use my skills to help them transition to their new chapter in life. When I work with investors, I love that there are formulas to design that when implemented, can successfully tweak a buyer’s mind’s psyche enough to choose their house over the competitor’s. So I left my job in New York City to move closer to the beach in New Jersey and started Opal Home Staging within the same week. In the end, my sociological background has given me the unique personal and professional strengths that allow my business to flourish.
What do you love about having a business in Monmouth County?
I grew up in Monmouth County, so the familiarity of it has it’s benefits, but I gotta say that what I love about having a business here is the beach!
What has been the most challenging part of running your business during COVID, and how did you overcome it?
When the lockdown started, I was nervous because we work inside people’s homes! Fortunately, more than 90% of our business caters to vacant stages. Once people got used to the new normal and the real estate market came back from it’s month-long break when trying to figure out how to navigate, we were well positioned to continue doing what we do best. I started doing more virtual consultations where clients would send me photos and videos of their space so that I can put a plan together for them instead of me physically going to the project site. It has worked out well for us and I’ll definitely be keeping that virtual option open going forward.
What are some exciting plans you have for the business in 2021?
We’ve been busier than ever in 2021, which is fantastic! I’ve focused on renewing our inventory so that our look stays fresh. A side project I’ve been working on is putting together an online course to teach people how to stage. The course will be targeted towards people who would like to start their own staging business, but focuses heavily on the science of design rather than the business side of owning a company. I want more home stagers to know how to balance a room instead of just how to balance their books. Once I have more details on it’s progress, I’ll let you know!
What’s your favorite business in Monmouth County (other than yours!)?
I would love for everyone to check out Tobin Connor Shop! The owner, Jaclyn, is my staging assistant and right hand at Opal Home Staging. When she’s not staging with us, she’s running her own incredible shop of one of a kind home & lifestyle products. We sometimes use her products in our stages, so I only have good things to say! You can find her at a variety of local pop-ups such as Babes in Business and the Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar.