Meet QC Design School graduate, Natalie Mireault! So, tell us a little about yourself, Natalie!
Hi, I’m Natalie, and I’m a QC Design School graduate! I’m a seasoned home stager and property stylist with a passion for helping homeowners transform their properties into irresistible spaces that captivate potential buyers. With a background in interior decorating and photography, I bring a keen eye for design and a flair for capturing the essence of every home.
As a QC alumnus of the Home Staging Course, I’ve honed my skills and knowledge over the course of five successful years in the industry. Throughout my journey, I’ve had the pleasure of working with numerous clients; guiding them through the home staging process with confidence and professionalism.
I know how stressful selling a home can be. So, I strive to make the process as easy as possible for my clients. By taking care of all the little details, we are able to focus on what really matters: making sure your house has everything it needs to stand out!
I want to help you feel confident and excited about the process, without being overwhelmed.
Why did you decide to become a professional stager?
As a kid, I was constantly rearranging my bedroom, painting the walls, and planning my next DIY project.
Who remembers the Sears Catalog? (Lol!) We are throwing it way back… But I would be so excited to get my hands on the latest copy! I would sit there and circle which Couch would go with what side tables, area rugs, etc.
Flash forward years later, and now I actually get to pick out furniture to use in real life! I guess you can say that I’ve always had a passion for home decor and creating visually appealing spaces. I’d taken an interior decorating course years ago, but felt like something was missing.
So, when I came across QC’s Home Staging Course, I knew that was the perfect fit!
What made you decide to pursue your certification training online – and how did you hear of QC Design School?
I was working a lot at the time, but I wasn’t fulfilled at my 9-5 job. I’d just moved to Ottawa and was looking for a change. Because I wasn’t able to go back to school full-time AND work full-time, I decided to see what classes there were online.
I came across home staging, so I started to research courses in the area… And QC Design School popped up! I knew right away that I wanted to take their online course!
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?)
I really liked how organized and fun it looked! QC Design School had great reviews and feedback. I also loved how the learning style was at my own pace, so I could work on it between my work schedule.
As a QC Design School graduate of our self-paced, online Home Staging Course, what was your experience in this program like? Moreover, what was most challenging – and what did you enjoy most? Overall, would you recommend this course to others (and why or why not)?
My experience overall was a very positive one! For starters, the tutors are amazing. My tutor provided great feedback and always corrected my assignments in a timely manner.
I think the most challenging thing for me was just staying on track and going at a good pace. I really enjoyed the spacial planning unit. There, we got to cut out the furniture and place it in the various rooms. I’m a visual learner, so that was very helpful!
I would absolutely recommend QC’s Home Staging Course to anyone who’s looking to become a home stager, or wants to expand their knowledge in the home decor field.
How would you describe your style as a home stager?
I would say that my style is very neutral and simple. Like most home stagers across the board, I think it really depends on the style of the house, as well as the current trends that are in.
Why did you decide to open your very own business (NM Home Staging)?
I think I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of running my own business and having flexibility to choose my hours, clients, and projects. I’m very grateful that I had an opportunity come my way, and that I decided to jump in.
I haven’t looked back!
What were the most challenging parts about launching a business, and how did you overcome these challenges?
I would say, it’s all mindset! The most challenging thing is letting go of the fear of failing. I worked – and continue to work – really hard on my mindset and self-worth. Self-doubt is another challenge to deal with when starting a business, too.
You also provide professional staging services for local businesses as well. Personally, do you enjoy staging homes or business spaces more?
While I love both, currently, I am very much enjoying staging business spaces. It’s something different for me and is challenging me creatively!
In your professional opinion (and based on what you’ve seen as an industry expert), how does professionally staging a home benefit it once it’s listed on the real estate market? How does staging a business space improve its overall success? Basically: is professional staging worth it – and why?
I might be biased (lol), but staging is a MUST nowadays, for sure! Whether it’s decluttering and getting a fresh coat of paint, or removing some furniture, EVERY home that goes on the market can use some staging.
The houses that are staged typically sell faster. Plus, the homeowners usually get asking price or higher. This is often because a staged home really helps potential buyers better envision making their own memories in that space.
Do you remember what your very first project with a legit client was like? Tell us about it! What did you learn from it, what went well, etc.?
My first legit project was a vacant staging job. It was so much fun but also, I remember being nervous! I just wanted everything to go right!
For the most past, it went smooth. However, I did learn that it’s best to overpack decor, plants, bedding, etc. I learned this the hard way because I found myself missing a few items that I needed to bring back in.
Moreover, I also learned that not everyone is going to like your furniture choices or decor pieces… And that’s okay! It is not the end of the world.
What are your business strategies when it comes to: finding/attracting clients, marketing your business, networking, etc.?
I utilize Instagram a lot. Once I started just being myself, showing my funny side, and sharing the humorous aspects of professional home staging, I started to attract the right type of clientele.
You’re located in Ottawa, ON – a major city with a population of approximately 1.4 million people. With so many competitors in and around your area, what makes NM Home Staging unique?
Well, first off, I would love to shout out ALL the stagers in the Ottawa area! This community is so wonderful. We really lean on one another to get through some tough days.
But I think what makes me unique is just being myself, showing up authentically, and making people laugh. I want my clients to enjoy the process as best they can – and if I can provide a laugh along the way, I’m more than happy to do so!
What do you love MOST about home staging?
I really love that I get to be creative. Even though it’s the same type of work, every day brings something different. I love meeting new people and connecting with them; hearing their stories and being able to help them!
And, of course, I love a good transformation. Nine times out of ten, the homeowners will say, “Why didn’t we do this when we lived here?” And they start to fall back in love with the house all over again!
Which area of the home is your favorite to stage and why? What about your least favorite?
I love living rooms, kitchens, and primary bedrooms. I think those rooms are fun for me because they’re the most important when showing a house. In terms of least favorite, I would say basements. They’re just not as fun (speaking from a creative place).
What’s your favorite style of design and why?
This is a hard question! I feel like my favorite design style changes from week to week. I just love seeing the latest trends!
However, I am pretty simple and love the clean, minimalist look. Also, I love cozy, warm spaces.
Speaking as a QC Design School graduate and businessowner, what advice would you give to aspiring home stagers who dream of starting their own business?
I would say, play the long-term game! The first two years, you are really putting money back into the business and trying to build it as big as you can (at least, that’s how it was for me).
So, don’t get discouraged and don’t give up. It’s such a fun and rewarding career!
Speaking as a QC Design School graduate, why would you recommend QC’s self-paced, online certification training?
Speaking as a QC Design School graduate, I would recommend QC because they are so supportive! I love that their courses are self-paced and online, as you don’t feel rushed. The Home Staging Course had exactly what I needed to be able to succeed with my own business!
To date, what’s been your proudest moment so far as a home stager?
I think just getting up and doing what I love everyday! I’m proud of myself for pushing and overcoming obstacles. It feels amazing to be able to get paid to be creative!
What’s in store for NM Home Staging the rest of this year and beyond?
I’m hoping to continue to grow and eventually add team members. I also would love to have my own home decor line… You heard it here first!
The sky’s the limit and I’m excited to see where my business takes me!