Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Interview ~ Naomi Findlay of International Institute of Home Staging

 Meet Naomi Findlay, founder of The International Institute of Home Staging, which offers the first and only interactive online home staging and property styling courses in Australia, helping budding designers learn the art and business of making homes attractive to buyers.

“The courses offered are put together by a fantastic array of Australian design, styling and business mentors that provide great insight into what is a growing industry. It’s designed to teach other people how they can make money on their own property sales or start their own property styling and home staging business,” says Naomi.

Naomi founded the Institute after she enjoyed instant success with her own home staging business, SILK Home Staging & Styling. Naomi has been struggling to keep up with increasing demand, styling 100 houses over the past year and currently styling 30 per month. Soon after launching her business, Naomi realised there was a huge demand for talented home stagers in Australia. It also concerned her that there was lack of a code of standards for the practice, so she set about using her education qualifications and her expertise in home staging to develop the formalised online courses to help the practice evolve locally.

Naomi was kind enough to allow me to interview her for Looking Glass...

When did you decide to start "The International Institute of Home Staging" and why?
Running a busy home staging company (SILK Home Staging & Styling) I get the chance to meet and help amazing people and work with amazing properties every day. A week does not go by when someone doesn’t say to me “what a dream job…I wish I did what you do….. how great is your job, running around town creating amazing spaces… you are so lucky that you get to set your hours that work with your family”. It got me thinking that there was little available to help these people break into the industry so I wanted to develop a set of courses that could be used to either develop sound home staging skills to effectively stage your own home or to develop a thriving home staging company just like mine.

What does a typical day for Naomi entail?
I am a mother of four, and run three companies so my days are generally jam packed!  It usually starts at 5am with 8 month old waking, once the older kids are at school and the babysitter arrives I hit the road.  The beauty is that each day is totally different, from styling homes, creating sample boards, selecting stock from my warehouse, meeting with agents, project managing property developments or shopping for bathrooms and kitchens – it is all fun!  Then at 3.30pm I turn back into a mum and do lots of taxi runs to netball and soccer. Once all is quiet in the house I then get back into it, the flexibility of running my own race is perfect for my family.

Any exciting new plans for The Institute of Home Staging on the horizon that you can share with us?
Soon you will see the launch of the second course in the series of three.  This is the advanced home staging course that takes those who loved course one to the next level in their journey to be a professional home stager.  As well as the launch of rolling enrollment and payment plans.  With such an overwhelming response to out launch we have moved towards making it even easier for people to break into the industry.  Not only can you enroll at any time but you can pay your course off as you go!

What is your favourite part of teaching others about Home Styling?
The best part for me is being a part of helping students realize their potential.  So many students are in careers they do not enjoy and simply want the creative and flexible lifestyle that a home staging business can offer. 

What are you reading right now? 
A client of mine gave me a book she authored as a gift so I have just picked it up, “The Vagina Buffet” by S.J. Tierney

What are you listening to right now? 
I am a big fan of Adele

Finish this sentence: the perfect day of indulgence for me would entail...
...a run around the lake in the morning, a mid morning massage followed by lunch with friends and a spot of interiors shopping, a swim at the beach with my family and four children in the afternoon.  Then finish off with a BBQ and a glass of champagne in the evening!  I like to jam pack my days!!!!

Favourite place in the whole wide world?
I have been so lucky that my career has taken me all over the world and although I have many places that I could have surely stayed longer in, the continent that touched me the most was Africa! My 12 weeks there changed my perspective on so many things!

What advice would you give to any readers thinking of learning about Home Staging?
The best way to begin learning about the industry is to become familiar with the property market, interiors trends and even work experience with a stylist.  The IIHS hold student webinars every month so if you want to know more about available courses head on over to http://www.instituteofhomestaging.com.au and register your interest, we can then let you know when the next student information session is starting up!


Thanks, Naomi, for sharing your business savvy tips with us and allowing us to know a little more about you. Here are my favourite transformations that Naomi has done through her business SILK Home Staging & Styling...

Before & After - New York Pod

Before & After - 1800's Cottage Makeover

All photos courtesy of SILK & IIHS

You can see plenty more photos on Naomi's website, SILK Home Staging & Styling.
Be sure to check out the International Institute of Home Staging for more info on their courses.

Clare x
Check out my other interviews here:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Maleficent the Melancholy

"You poor, simple fools. Thinking you could defeat me. *Me*, The Mistress of All Evil!" 
~ Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty, 1959

Sleeping Beauty is one of my most favourite fairytales. It was my very first movie I owned on VHS (yeah, remember those?) I still remember watching it over & over again after my Grandma gave it to me for Christmas when I was knee high to a grasshopper. I was so fascinated by Maleficent & distinctly remember asking my Mum what "melancholy" meant after watching the film the first time.

Recently my friend, Tori, hosted a fancy dress party for her 30th birthday and the theme was "your favourite character or your idol when you were a kid." Naturally my first thought was Maleficent. I admit, I was a little worried about trying to pull off the makeup myself, but luckily my wonderful friend & makeup artist, Linda Moore, was on hand to help me out in that department. Ok, so she did all of my makeup really.

Here are the getting ready shots...

 If only I wasn't texting in the full length photos! A common problem for me...

I went with a Maleficent-inspired look by creating my own outfit by layering purple & black dresses together with a leather vest and black jacket that had the large cape-like collar. I created a crown with plaits in my hair piled atop my head rather than wearing horns. I know a lot of you won't be lucky to have a great makeup artist for a friend like I do, so I thought I would suggest a few pieces that you can put together to replicate this look as best as possible.

face paint and eye-makeup from Fancy Dress Ball / costume from Kaboodle / pimp cane from Balloons Galore / raven from Shopping.com

Face Colour & Purple Eye Makeup
 The key here is to try a few colours to get the right shade, or if it's too dark try removing some of the colour by dabbing a little off.

If you don't want to purchase a costume you could try layering black & purple pieces from your own wardrobe like I did.

Cane & Bird
It was really hard to find the right length and design of the cane, but this is not a big deal as you could just glue the bird on top of it, thus removing the need for it to look exactly the same. However, if length is a factor - then you could just use a curtain rod, as they usually come apart at the centre - however, if you plan on restoring its use as a curtain rod after your fancy dress party then it's probably wise to avoid gluing anything on top of it.

This is an ideal costume for Halloween as well as any fancy dress party. To top it off, Angelina Jolie is playing the title role in the movie Maleficent due for release in 2014. Very excited for that!

I will leave you with a few pics from the rest of the night...

The birthday girl was Mary Poppins, then we had James Bond, a cricketer, a pro dirt bike rider, and my favourite, Katie, as Carmen Sandiego.

Been to any fun fancy dress shindigs lately?

Clare x

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Happy Mother's Day! 

We celebrated at home this year with Mum & my Grandmother. A delicious BBQ lunch cooked by Dad followed by the most scrumptious chocolate fudge cheesecake that Mum baked. She can't even relax on Mother's Day!! I brought giant cupcakes over with Mother's Day chocolate hearts garnishing the top but she still felt the need to make dessert. That's Mums for you ;-) How did you celebrate?

Here's a little instagram shot from our day...

Clare x