Home Staging Roots Are Long and Deep - the truth about "Where Staging Came From"

By
Home Stager with Sensational Home Staging

Barb Schwarz, ASPM, IAHSP, Certified Speaking Professional, has been recognized for many things in her career - Successful Realtor, Broker, Mentor, Motivational Speaker, and Creator of Home Staging.  In this last role, she once again demonstrates why she is at the forefront of the real estate industry as a visionary and expert.

I felt the need to post this blog because I have seen the industry change in the past 6 years as a professional home stager, and certain areas like training have been flooded by many that want to profit off the need for education.  That's fine.  But I keep my ear to the ground and hear the craziest things about "how" someone supposedly came up with the idea for their course or association - and this post is about giving credit where credit is due - and about being honest about origins and education.

Having had the privilege of being in Barb's company many times as a student, mentoree, and friend (more like family) I have seen how dedicated she is to furthering the education of the public through press, seminars and one-on-one conversations about the benefits of Home Staging and how it can change lives, one at a time.  She literally sleeps, eat, and breathes staging, and no one that I know is as devoted (or as she says, "possessed") with this responsibility of properly educating the world about Staging.

The roots of Home Staging are long and deep and like an oak tree have stood the test of time.  The character of an oak tree is about strength, courage, endurance, and truth - and this is a great parallel for our Staging industry and Barb Schwarz, President & CEO of Stagedhomes.com and President of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals.  Barb is not "perfect" but if she has made any "mistakes" in her journey, they are few, and her successes are many.

Over the past 36 years the service of Staging has been shared with over a million Realtors and helped launch the careers of independent business owners that started a home staging business.  For over 15 years in the 1980s and 1990's, Barb toured the country, sharing the benefits of Staging as a key marketing tool for Realtors - reaching mass audiences and nearly 1 million Realtors with her message and success principles.  Since that time, she continues to educate mass audiences, with her Accredited Staging Professional (ASP) Course - the first course, designation and Accreditation developed for Realtors and Stagers.

When she created the first professional designation for Home Staging in the 90's, she opened up a door for many others that would come years later that saw an opportunity in the educational arena.  She clearly remembers the moment she had the vision to create the first professional designation - and it was a vision for the future.  Ask others about their "moment of inspiration" - I know it was not the same as Barb's - where hers came from a spiritual place of a calling that was bigger than herself. 

It's like that movie "Working Girl" when at the pivotal part in the movie, Sigourney Weaver's character is asked how she came up with the idea for the project, and she bumbles and stumbles - because she did not originate the idea, and she instantly loses credibiltiy and respect for misleading her colleagues and trying to claim someone else's work as her ownWouldn't life be great if it were so easy to expose "imposters?" (or at least those that are not truly honest about their own education origins?)

In a place where Barb nearly lost her life, and did lose her ability to walk and talk for a period of time, the vision for a designation and industry that would parallel the National Association of Realtors and National Speakers Association are clear benchmarks in the development of the educational process that has now reached thousands of Stagers and over a million RealtorsMost of the others have come from a place of competition, of trying to benefit from what they saw as a profitable industry, and were not born from innovation or inspiration, or heart.

We have had posts on the origins of home staging where others have claimed to have been the first, and I have even heard first-hand at trade shows those that were associated with Barb's claim THEY trained Her.  Some of these people's claims are just fraudulant - they never were in the real estate industry and so would not have been able to come up with the concepts, phrases and processes Barb developed as a succesful Realtor and innovator.  And yet they are teaching programs that are eerily similar to the ASP program developed by Barb and based in HER years of success in real estateShe even has a book that was published in the early 1980's where much of the content of her program is published - so the idea for the ASP designation and course was based largely on her stories and success principles chronicled and documented in this best seller.  No one else can demonstrate that clear connection or history in the industry.

She was recognized (2 years ago) as one of the Most Influential People in Real Estate - as voted on by her peers in the real estate industry, as well as receiving Educator of the Year.  And the accolades just keep coming in . . . because of all she has done for the industry.

My research on the various companies out there that offer any sort of Staging education - from very basic information with little or no credibility (to me) to a handful of companies that actually offer a respected designation - is that they ALL can trace their roots to Barb in some manner.  If they were not a student or former trainer of hers, they saw her on the road or read her books on Staging, or perhaps saw her videos from years past.  There are those that have come at this whole staging industry from a different origin - decorating or design industry - and so their roots are not in, to me, the purest form of Staging - which is real estate and marketing.  Still, most have used the model Barb set forth in her company to build their own training organizations.  There may be one or 2 exceptions - but I believe I am pretty accurate based on my research.

Some may dispute my statement above, but go ahead and do your homework, like I have.  No one else has 36 years of history in this industry - and no one else remembers the day they said the word "Stage your house" for the first time - and created an entire vocabulary related to what we do - stage, stager, staging, destage, etc. - and so I know that the others that came after Barb, like myself, would have found information online or in a book store, or from word of mouth that winds its way - even if in a small thread - back to BarbAll you have to do is ASK - and listen to their answers and find out for yourself where the truth is.  Fortunately, the truth is documented and published in books - so it's pretty hard these days to claim something as truth that can easily be disputed by the facts found in many places.

Just as in life, people come and go in relationships and business.  The same has been true with Barb and with those she has mentored, befriended and invested time.  No matter the circumstances for departure from "Barb's world," the fact remains that there have been many that have built their next move on her shoulders.  I, for one, would like to see that acknowledged but to do that it takes courage, grace, honesty, and integrity.

The media exposure opportunities shared by Barb willingly with her family of ASPs has created a basis for "expertise" in Stagers that today don't acknowledge or honor the source of their "fame," and yet continue to hang their hat on their participation in segments originated with Barb - that she did not have to share.

I have not yet seen any others involve their fellow colleagues or graduates in as many segments, articles, and events as Barb has.  Part of that is because they don't get the media opportunities she does because the media also do their homework.  Barb shares - as it is one of her foundations and commitment to those she serves.

I don't have a problem with other companies taking advantage of a training industry, or others that want to help Stagers launch businesses.  That is not the point of this blog post.  I acknowledge there are some good courses out there headed by wonderful people.  And there are those that I would not give a second glance.  My issue is with those who conduct their company  - not giving credit to the origins of THEIR own education (formal or informal) and instead want us all to believe they came up with all the ideas for their program on their own.

Each time someone else comes out with a course, program, group, or association (and I know we have not seen the last of "new training companies or designations" or even associations), I smile inside because I know for the most part that there are no originators - just immitators.  Some have said to her, "You changed my life,"or "I did not know Staging even existed as a career and business for me," and then go off it seems without regard to their origins or remembrance of who got them started.  Others may toss in items about decorating, feng shui, etc. - and may call things different words or use slightly altered phrases, or even different methods to educate their students, but in the end, they are emulating the one that started it all - started us all on this wonderful journey in Home Staging - and that is Barb Schwarz.  Just give credit where credit is due. 

As Barb frequently shares, life is too short to be in the darkness - and instead of using her time and energy to pursue or dispute those that have not honored the origins of their education - she moves forward, using her ideas and vision to move ahead at light speed, paving the way for the future of home staging, always rooted in the truth, with courage, strength and endurance - just like the oak tree.

For me - that is the type of person I want to be around - and I do hang my success - not on the shoulders of Barb Schwarz - but in the heart of what she shares with each person she meets - and touches their lives for the better.

- Jennie

 

Posted by

Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP-Premier, SRS, REO, Owner & Principal Stager, Sensational Home Staging serving the Greater Denver region

  • International Staging Expert, Blogger, and Media Personality
  • Member of International Assoc of Home Staging Professionals since 2003
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Anonymous
No idea

No one has any idea as to the discussions between Barb and NAR - that's the point.

Everyone can have discussions - time to sell some results.

The need for staging should be front and central on the NAr site, yet it's not there. The recent NAR presidents message talked about how to sell your listings to agents, and cited pricing them right as the way to sucess - NOT ONE MENTION OF STAGING.

That's the point. If she is the voice of staging - woe behold.

PS - the sellers advice page on NAR's site that suggests staging for sellers is written by someone else in 2002 - click here . There are other articles there by Barb, but they are not front and central in the NAR messaging - you have to search for them - adding to real estate agents perception that staging is not that necessary (a wrong perception).

Jul 23, 2008 01:52 PM #8
Rainmaker
94,294
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regionnulls Premier Home Staging Resource, ASPM, IAHSP, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO

Well any discussion is of course, confidential. We won't learn of things until it's a done deal....but I do know discussions have taken place and have been in the works for years. As Barb shares, Rome was not built in a day, and I don't know of anyone else that has been working as long and hard as she has. People sure want to reap the benefits of her efforts but are reluctant to give her credit....They expect her to deliver (which she has time and again) and then don't say "thanks."

When she works on behalf of her company or ASPs or staging in general, it does benefit ALL of us as the impact is far reaching. I spoke today with a former colleague and active AR person and clarified that this post is not about separating or dividing...it is about acknowledging and appreciating.

I have heard enough people trying to take credit for not only training HER but also have used her teachings... without acknowledging. And that is what I would like to see stop....We all have roots somewhere and it is not a bad thing to show appreciation and a nod of thanks to those that helped us get where we are today. Jennie

Jul 23, 2008 03:38 PM #9
Anonymous
Anonymous

I am new to all of this but if Barb owns the trademark for staging why can she just not sue all these imposters? I think they need to add a disclaimer or something that she invented staging and then she would get the credit she deserves. same thing for the stagers tv show- barb needs to be on that show staging homes! great post

Jul 23, 2008 05:07 PM #10
Anonymous
agreed

Honoring her establishment of the staging business is warranted.

I think that some of the discontent may stem from the fact that her business model has changed, and she is now the leader of an educational business- getting people to become stagers, and the perception that she is not furthering the cause of those that have become stagers.

Fair play to her success, she deserves it for sure. She is however, now the voice of staged homes, not the entire home staging industry.

There are many voices in the home staging industry, all with the same goal - build home staging as an industry and build their business within it. 

We will only be sucessfull if we do it together on our own way and stop fighting over how was first. That chapter is closed - time to move on.

Hard to move on if we cling to the past.

Go Stagers! of all certification denominations.

 

 

Jul 23, 2008 06:16 PM #11
Rainmaker
255,803
Chris Fisher
Your Virtual Assistant - Concord, CA

Jennie - Barb has done a lot for the industry.  Other people training, etc., is proof of growth, not an insult to Barb.  You have Barb staging since 1972, however according to Barb herself and her book she started in 1984 when she received her real estate license (just a little fact check - part of why Barb is frequently questioned as the creator of home staging is because these little facts keep changing according to the situation).

Other people's success is not a threat or insult to StagedHomes.com or Barb Schwarz.  As Barb herself says, "There is enough out there for everybody."  Let's be positive about each other's successes and supportive of each other's challenges and continue to grow.  This who did what first is just plain silly, always has been.

Barb has her training company, others have their training companies.  Always have. 

Quit being so defensive

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 23, 2008 07:22 PM #12
Rainmaker
94,294
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regionnulls Premier Home Staging Resource, ASPM, IAHSP, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO

I agree that Barb, of all people, should have a TV show . . . the ones out there right now make me sick with how they do not represent what we do - and are creating a whole other challenge for us to overcome in the minds of the public that is being fed lies about our industry. She does have the trademark - and even that gets debated and misinformation fed about that online.  In a world where it seems now anyone can just claim anything and others don't seem concerned about actually fact-checking, it is an uphill battle

Barb has had the right to "sue" others for copyright infringement and more, but instead of taking up hours and hours of time and thousands of dollars of income - she would rather focus on moving the industry forward in a positive way.  I admire that in her - or anyone that chooses to take the high road.

Last person - who I believe has been on here 2 times now - sign your name or don't post - because I will have no choice but to delete your posts because I don't like people that hide especially when putting up comments that incite instead of just are interesting.  If it was a mistake and you just forgot to log in, fine - but I don't think that is the case here.

Barb IS a voice for the STAGING INDUSTRY  - and THE Voice that to me has the most credibility behind it because of all she has done and continues to do for the industry.  She is not for just her own company - she is for the industry.  The amount of articles and other press coverage that others that are not trained by Stagedhomes.com - have used to further their own businesses are dozens and dozens.   Are there others that also have a voice - certainly. In fact anyone that is in Home Staging and has helped educate their region, target clients, etc. - has provided a voice for Home Staging.

Are all "voices" on equal footing - NO - and I doubt anyone on this site would refute that.  I have yet to see anyone even come CLOSE to the amount of press she has helped generate for Staging.  Are other voices saying important things, yes - and over time may gain the same influence and reach that Barb has in her decades in the industry.  But we have to pay our dues and put in the time - like she did - and you know what, it's OK to say you learned from someone else!  We will still like you!

I am not "fighting" over who was first - because I already know the truth about that - what I think is funny is that so many want to REWRITE HISTORY. and in rewriting history - they are essentially trying to fool all those they are "leading" in their own company of business. 

I know for some they could care less about where it all began - they jumped in and are happy with their business and with whomever they are aligning themselves with - that's great.   Go Stage and be happy.  I love Staging - and that is my passion too . . . My creative side loves it!  Then the business side of me steps in and sees a lot of garbage being spread and said, and people deliberating doing things to do harm to others in this industry - and enough is enough.

All I am saying is let's be honest about origins - and give thanks for those that helped us get where we are.  Whether it is Barb or anyone else.  That is how I operate and to me it is the right thing to do.

- Jennie

Jul 23, 2008 07:33 PM #13
Rainmaker
255,803
Chris Fisher
Your Virtual Assistant - Concord, CA

Jennie - when the dates & info changes depending on the situation, that is rewriting history. 

Jul 23, 2008 07:38 PM #14
Rainmaker
94,294
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regionnulls Premier Home Staging Resource, ASPM, IAHSP, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO

PS - Barb got her real estate license in 1972 - and her BROKER's license in 1984.  We already went through this months ago when someone posted false info on this site - and this FACT was checked by a Washington state Realtor (because of course people just had to assume Barb would falsify even her origins - and not believe what she has shared all these years was true)  -  and of course no one ever apologized for their smear campaign.  So just to keep the record straight - Barb has been a licensed real estate agent for 36 years.  Getting a broker's license is different - and she achived that goal in 1984. - Jennie

Jul 23, 2008 07:42 PM #15
Rainmaker
94,294
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regionnulls Premier Home Staging Resource, ASPM, IAHSP, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO

Exactly, Chris.  And there are those that are out there (not Barb) who are rewriting history with their claim to just have shown up here with all the info in their heads like osmosis or something.  THAT is rewriting the history of Home Staging - and excluding the person that helped them get their start.  Do ALL people in our industry come from Barb - no, but when I look around at those I used to see as an ASP - that are now doing their own thing - I KNOW where they came from and most (not all) seem to lack the courage or integrity to say it! - Jennie

Jul 23, 2008 07:47 PM #16
Anonymous
Anonymous

Jennie, I am actually going to take her course later this year.  I am not a stager but have always had a thing for interior design.  That led me to Barb.  I've always known she's an orginal.  It amazes me some of the things she comes up with; there's no way an uncreative person could think about taking an ironing board and using it for an console table.  Who would have thought of that?  Only Barb

Jul 23, 2008 08:05 PM #17
Rainmaker
255,803
Chris Fisher
Your Virtual Assistant - Concord, CA

Jennie - considering the past between some of these people you're referring to and Barb, I think they're taking the high road by NOT talking about her at all, as their experience was extremely negative.  I'd personally be glad they were keeping their mouths closed about it. 

I happen to know the facts change as I was asked to change them on the site more than once.  That's fine, but it does make people question credibiliity.

Barb has a good course, as do these other trainers. 

Chris

Jul 23, 2008 10:30 PM #18
Rainmaker
255,803
Chris Fisher
Your Virtual Assistant - Concord, CA

Michelle - I'm sure you'll enjoy the course.  Barb is definitely creative and energetic!

Chris

Jul 23, 2008 10:39 PM #19
Anonymous
Anonymous

Who was the first real estate agent?

Jul 24, 2008 12:06 PM #20
Rainer
11,595
Joni Van Deventer
RoomByRoomRedesign - Midland, TX
RoomByRoomRedesign

Jennie~  Honey, I hate to tell you this but you are never going to win the war of Stagedhomes (ASPs, ASPMs) against people such as the anomyous poster because they have an axe to grind.  You will win a few battles, recite some facts your opponents will do the same.  This has been going on since I first became a member of the Rain and low & behold, it's still going on.  One of you ladies please let it go.  I believe Barb Swartz is an absolutely wonderful speaker, teacher, etc. and I bet you one thing, she's big enough to take up for herself, so let her. 

Just my humble opinion.

Jul 31, 2008 02:40 PM #21
Rainmaker
94,294
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regionnulls Premier Home Staging Resource, ASPM, IAHSP, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO

I am not posting to keep up any sort of "battle" and don't consider this about a "war" at all - so please do not misread my original post intent.  For me - I only want credit given where credit is due - and in the world of Staging - there are many, regardless of how they want to remember their origins - that have climbed on Barb's knowledge and teachings to get where they are today.

They used their relationship with her - much the same as we that worked in the corporate world all did when changing jobs - to get to a next position or opportunity.  That is "business as usual" - right? And yet the next prospective employer always asks, "Where did you work before this?" - and the HISTORY of how we got from point A to point B to Point C is evident on our resumes. 

THAT is what is missing from the info I read online and why I say that it's as if all these others want the public (and fellow colleagues) to believe that the information and knowledge they have just miraculously appeared in their heads - when the fact is - they LEARNED it under the tutelage of someone else.  And for most of them - it was Barb.

Even if I disagree with how it was done, the fact remains that they have built their next move on the education and learning they got from her.  Why that cannot be acknowledged - to me - shows a lack of character.  THAT is what I am posting about - and will continue to bring up until those that walked that path acknowledge and get to the place where they may even be able to appreciate their beginnings. - Jennie

Aug 02, 2008 12:33 PM #22
Anonymous
Anonymous

If we admit Barb is the creator of everything, can we all shut up about it?  Don't bother to even comment, Jennie censors her comments.

Aug 04, 2008 01:09 PM #25
Rainmaker
94,294
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regionnulls Premier Home Staging Resource, ASPM, IAHSP, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO

I only censor those that do not SIGN their posts or those that write something that is too personal and only will fuel a side tiff that I don't want to put out there to the public.  If you have something you'd like to write to me PRIVATELY - fine - let's do that.  But I am not going to get into an argument online for expressing my opinion and I don't want the blog post to go off track because of a comment that someone posts.  Not signing a name - to me that shows a lack of character and if you are going to criticze someone in their own blog post, at least have the guts to sign your name. 

I never write anonomously - it's like, what you afraid of?  I put my name and face out there - and others who have been subjected to unkind comments that were anonymous have deleted them too - and sometimes it's the AR people that do it. 

Just for you - last person that wrote and did NOT sign your name - I won't take yours off.  My post was not about saying Barb was the "Creator of everything" as you sacrastically wrote.  I just feel credit needs to be given to those that got us where we are - whether personally or in the bigger picture and I am entited to my opinion. Evidently there are those that cannot or will not go with history - and instead go with hystrionics.

- Jennie

Aug 04, 2008 01:26 PM #26
Rainmaker
94,294
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regionnulls Premier Home Staging Resource, ASPM, IAHSP, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO

Hi Joni - your post is below as I do save all replies to my posts on my computer for just such an occasion as this.  I did delete those that did not sign (except for the last person) - and yours is here - and should not have been gone - not sure why it was not there.  So - there you go.  I am not "way out there" - I am just here - and apologize to you if you thought your removal was on purpose. - Jennie

 

Comment by Joni Van Deventer-RoomByRoomRedesign:

Jennie~  Honey, I hate to tell you this but you are never going to win the war of Stagedhomes (ASPs, MASPs) against people such as the anomyous poster because they have an axe to grind.  You will win a few battles, recite some facts your opponents will do the same.  This has been going on since I first became a member of the Rain and low & behold, it's still going on.  One of you ladies please let it go.  I believe Barb Swartz is an absolutely wonderful speaker, teacher, etc. and I bet you one thing, she's big enough to take up for herself, so let her. 

Just my humble opinion.

Aug 04, 2008 02:53 PM #28
Rainmaker
94,294
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regionnulls Premier Home Staging Resource, ASPM, IAHSP, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO

Actually - Joni's blog post was there - I just did not scroll up high enough - and so I am not sure what she is referring to - as I did not delete a blog signed by Joni. . . and have written to her privately to ask her if another post that was not signed was hers. - Jennie

Aug 04, 2008 04:11 PM #29
Rainer
1,330
Susan Kilpatrick
Keller Williams Realty Northwest - Oklahoma City, OK

What's all this catty talk about??  Why fight over this?  I chose Barb's classwork because I belived in her and her program.  Other people believe in other programs.  So what?  This nasty talk takes up time one could be using to market, stage a home, pull together a presentation, etc., etc.  It's really unprofessional to air such dirty laundry.  Get over it!  If you don't support Barb, why not start your own training or blog?

Susan Kilpatrick, ASP/Realtor

Aug 04, 2008 05:17 PM #30
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