We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Julie Wills. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Julie below.
Julie, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. What’s the backstory behind how you came up with the idea for your business?
Occupied Home Staging is not a new concept to the Staging industry, but it was a new concept for me. After all, most of us watch HGTV and see big teams of people working on a home, followed by a large truck to unload all of the beautiful furnishings. This is not the reality for most people and it wasn’t for me either when my husband and I moved to Tennessee ten years ago. I did everything myself and I thoroughly enjoyed it! After moving, I helped my neighbor with her “Staging to Sell” and shortly thereafter, we built a house and moved again ourselves. A few months later, I saw the need for “extra hands” when my mother passed away in another state and decluttering, packing, and Staging to sell became my next big challenge. I had a lot of experience in a short amount of time!
After much research, I found a Staging course that was in the area and decided to start my own Staging and Consulting business for Occupied Homes in the Middle Tennessee area. I ran this by a couple of my realtor friends and acquired a mentor and also a business coach. My mentor kept saying that things had to “look fresh”, so I used her wisdom and named my business Fresh Look, LLC.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers?
I grew up in Central Ohio and spent 30 years as a classroom teacher, primarily in Kindergarten. I always enjoyed the “prep work”, such as bulletin boards, setting up my classroom, and all the creative things elementary teachers are expected to do. After our move to Tennessee, I wanted to find something that kept my hands busy, but where I could also set my own hours. I decided that a Staging course would be a good fit for me, and enrolled in one in Nashville, TN. I became an ASP (Accredited Staging Professional), and have since taken extra Certifications in Buyer Trends, Luxury Homes, and Senior Staging. This year I added a CCE (Certified Color Expert) to assist clients with their paint color selections. With my Staging Certifications, I am also a qualified member of IAHSP (The International Association of Home Staging Professionals.)
There are many types of Staging, and I decided working with people during a stressful time was more important to me than decorating a vacant home. That is when Occupied Staging became my specialty. I offer Stage to List Consultations, Photo Shoot Prep (using the homeowners’ furnishings) and Photo Shoot Enhancements (adding some of my accessories) to my clients. Helping my clients make a plan from decluttering to packing, and the final room arrangement has been my niche!
Any insights you can share with us about how you built up your social media presence?
I built my audience on social media by first creating a business page on Facebook. I asked my friends on my personal page to follow me. Afterwards, I created accounts on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Alignable. I friended every realtor that was suggested, since they are my target market.
I post on all my social media quite often. Someone once told me to start small and post pictures of my own home, and then eventually share pictures of my work. “If people don’t see your work, they won’t think you are working!” This has been productive advice for me! I also post tips, current trends and sometimes humor. The bottom line is good content!!
Can you tell us about what’s worked well for you in terms of growing your clientele?
The most effective strategy for growing my clientele has been LOTS of networking. I attend as many events as I can in my area and have built trust and great relationships. I have definitely gotten work from it. I have also spoken to realtor groups and continually meet one-on-one with many agents. It’s important to find out who the hustlers are in this industry and show them how they can benefit from my services. Eventually, you will get new business just by word of mouth and reputation.
- Website: stagedhomes.com/JulieWills
- Instagram: julie_wills
- Facebook: Fresh Look, LLC
- Linkedin: Julie Wills
- Twitter: N/A
- Youtube: N/A
- Yelp: N/A
Patterson Ford Sherri Stanfield Duffek