Meet QC Design School graduate, Rachael Stafford! Tell us a little about yourself, Rachael!
Hi, I’m Rachael and I’m a QC Design School graduate. In my personal life, I am a mom, wife, and entrepreneur. I most value spending time with family and friends, as well as travelling, experiencing new cultural activities, and being in nature.
Through my career, I take a great deal of pride in:
- Helping out clients achieve calm and balance in their homes;
- Relieving their stress during the selling and moving process;
- And providing an inclusive and gratifying work environment for my amazing team.
Why did you decide to become a professional organizer and home stager? What draws you to these specific areas of the home design industry?
I have always been innately organized, and found calm in organizing my own home and workspaces. When I discovered that professional organizing could be a lucrative career path, I jumped at the opportunity to help others create a sense of calm and balance in their own homes. A few years into my organizing career, my parents sold the house I grew up in and I discovered my knack for home staging and moving as well.
I’m drawn to these areas of the home design industry because they allow me to apply my natural skills and passion for organizing and redesign. Moreover, I can also utilize my B.A. in Sociology, and years of experience in Project Management, to help others simplify their lives.
What made you decide to pursue your certification training online – and how did you first hear of QC Design School?
I felt that having the necessary training would better serve my clients and provide me with more confidence and credibility. I googled various online staging certifications – and because I was working full-time, online training was the only option for me.
Why did you ultimately choose to enroll with QC Design School? (E.g., What was it about our school that won you over, compared to other online design schools out there?)
QC Design School just felt right to me. The course outline was clearly laid out on the website, the materials were efficient and easy to follow, I could complete the units at my own pace, and it was reasonably priced.
How was your experience with QC Design School’s self-paced, online Home Staging Course? Would you recommend it to others – and if so, why?
My experience was great. I very much enjoyed completing each unit. While I could do it at my own pace, I looked forward to the next assignment and so I completed the course very quickly. I would highly recommend it to others, as it reconfirmed my innate skillset and gave me the confidence I needed to proceed in adding home staging and redesign to my service offerings.
FUN FACT: Did you know that many of our graduates were able to complete their certification programs in as little as 3-6 short months – simply by devoting a mere 1-2 hours per week to their studies? It’s true!
What was the most challenging part of the Home Staging Course and what was the most rewarding?
I honestly did not find the course challenging in any way, which reconfirmed my innate abilities and passion for design. I loved that it covered so many aspects of home staging – from identifying focal points, to color schemes and furniture layout, etc. The most rewarding part was achieving A’s in each unit.
You’ve since started your own business, Order in The House, which has been doing exceptionally well! In your opinion, what was the most challenging part(s) of launching your very own business from scratch?
The most challenging part of launching my own business from scratch was learning HOW to run a business. While organizing and home staging were an innate skillset for me, I do not have a business background.
So, I hired a business coach very early on in my career to help me with:
- Website creation;
- Determining my ideal clients and niche market;
- Setting my rates, etc.
A few years later, I hired a productivity coach to help create and streamline systems such as my CRM, invoicing, and bookkeeping. They also assisted me in handling the sales process, which, in turn, then provided me the opportunity to delegate tasks and grow my team.
What advice would you give other home designers (who are in the beginning stages of starting their own business) for attracting/booking clients, properly marketing their business, networking, etc.?
Hire experts to help you in the areas that are not your strength. This way, you can focus on being creative and finding your ideal clients.
While I offered all sorts of services in my early years, I quickly found my niche, what my strengths were, and which services brought me joy. Then I stuck to those, in terms of who I marketed to, which networking events I attended, and how I maximized my time.
Your business has also expanded over time to include a handful of employees! What advice would you give other small businessowners who feel ready to start hiring on staff for the first time?
I started as a solo entrepreneur and found there was never enough time in the day to complete ALL the tasks required to run a successful business. As a result of this, my work-life balance was highly jeopardized.
Bringing on staff was a game-changer for both my personal life and my business! Find others with similar values, a strong work ethic, and skillsets that can help to balance your own. Importantly, trust your instinct when hiring!
How would you describe your style of both professional organizing and home staging?
I wouldn’t say that I necessarily have a specific style. When it comes to professional organizing, I turn towards the client’s style and habits in order to implement systems that will work for them and their family. For instance, some want decorative bins and baskets, which we love to provide. Others simply want to reduce the amount of clutter in their homes and repurpose existing storage solutions.
When it comes to home staging, I turn to the style of the home for inspiration. For occupied properties, we try to use as much of the homeowner’s existing furniture and decor as possible, and supplement with rentals where needed.
You’re located in Richmond Hill, ON, which is a part of the GTA. (For those who are unfamiliar with this area, it is very large and HEAVILY populated!) With so many competitors in the GTA, how do you set Order in The House apart from other professional organizing/home staging businesses?
We take pride in being a one-stop-shop through our three service offerings of:
- Home organizing;
- And move management.
Many of our clients come to us with a need for one of our services and then become repeat clients in another. For example, for many of the homes we stage, we then go on to help our clients pack, manage their move, and then unpack and organize their new home.
Furthermore, we also take a great deal of pride in providing a top-notch service experience. Our team is extremely compassionate and detail-oriented, which has resulted in us becoming a mostly referral-based business.
Speaking as a QC Design School graduate, why do you feel it’s important for home designers to have professional certification training?
Certification training provides you with knowledge, confidence, credibility, and the opportunity to network with other professionals in the industry.
Overall, as a QC Design School graduate, why would you recommend QC’s self-paced, online certification training to aspiring home designers?
As a QC Design School graduate, I found QC to have efficient, practical, and versatile courses. Additionally, they provide students with the opportunity to work at their own pace while juggling other commitments. They’re also budget-friendly, too.
To date, what’s been your proudest moment so far as a design professional?
Whether it’s helping our clients clear the clutter that’s been holding them back, highlighting their home’s best features to prepare for a quick sale, or helping them settle-in to their new home – I am SO proud each time our team achieves our clients’ goals, while relieving their stress at the same time!
What’s in store for Order in The House the rest of this year and beyond?
This year and beyond, we plan to continue growing our team, fine-tuning our processes, and servicing more great clients and realtors.