When you run a large home staging company, someone needs to set the standard.
At Rave Home Staging, that someone is Konnie Kretlow. As our Staging Manager, Konnie is responsible for quality control. That means running a clean, tight ship on every stage. It also means supporting and training a team of 5 stagers and 4 assistant stagers!
Despite her busy schedule, Konnie was able to sit down and answer some basic questions about her role and her experiences as a stager.
How did you get into staging?
Konnie said she worked in interior design and sales for about fourteen years before joining Rave. At that point, she was burnt out from working in retail. Since her kids were grown, she decided to start her own business.
“Through that business, I joined RESA—the Real Estate Staging Association—and that’s where I met Melissa,” Konnie said. “Melissa was getting busy then, it was just her, Sue, and a moving company.”
Melissa Marro is the owner and founder of Rave Home Staging. Konnie left her business, which focused on interior design, and started assisting Melissa. She steamed beds and hung art, and she helped pack and unpack houses. Before long, Melissa was assigning entire houses to her.
That’s when Konnie realized she absolutely loved staging.
“With interior design, you have to wait 8-12 weeks for everything to be finished,” Konnie said. “With staging, it’s immediate gratification. You see the results very quickly, within a day or two.”
But joining RESA wasn’t Konnie’s first exposure to home staging. She actually became aware of staging as an industry through her work with the elderly.
Many people end up downsizing and moving to smaller homes as they get older. Konnie wanted to help her elderly friends through that process, not just by helping them move into their new homes, but also by helping them sell their old ones. Staging was the perfect way to combine her design skills with her passion for aiding the elderly.
What does “Quality Control” mean for home staging?
As the manager for a staging team of 9 people, Konnie has to set and maintain certain standards.
“We want our end result to reflect our integrity,” Konnie said. “We want our furniture to be clean. Sometimes things get dirty, dinged up, and broken, but we don’t want to look sloppy to our customers.”
Konnie has developed a checklist to put those standards into writing. The checklist is full of tasks like cleaning mirrors, dusting furniture, using a magic eraser to clear up any small marks, and other responsibilities a stager or assistant might forget in a rush.
Once the stagers and assistants are done with a house, it’s Konnie’s turn to check it out.
“I make sure everyone’s done what they’re supposed to do,” Konnie said. “We want to find any mistakes before a customer does.”
What happens if someone doesn’t do everything on the checklist?
If a stager or an assistant does make a mistake, Konnie let’s them know—gently and discretely. But quality control isn’t just about catching and correcting mistakes. It’s also Konnie’s job to try to help the stagers build up their skills and overcome their weaknesses. One way she does this is through monthly training meetings.
Konnie also goes out of her way to give a shout-out when anyone goes above-and-beyond.
“I take pictures and send the really good things I see to everybody so we feel good about our jobs,” she said.
For Konnie, being a staging manager is about making people happy. She makes sure our clients are pleased, and she ensures that our staging team can feel good about their work at the end of each day.
What’s the most common mistake you see as a staging manager?
“Smudged mirrors,” Konnie said. “And mirrors that are hung too low.”
Is there an ideal mirror height?
“You want to be able to see your face in the mirror,” Konnie said, chuckling. “Hanging it six inches above a console doesn’t always pertain to that. You don’t want to see your stomach as you’re walking by.”
You left your own company to join Rave. What made you decide to do that?
With her own business, Konnie said she wasn’t able to do the level of staging she wanted.
“I didn’t have the resources or vision to have a business this successful,” she said.
But when she joined Rave, Konnie felt like she had everything she needed to make a house look exactly how she wanted. She didn’t have to deal with chasing down furniture from different suppliers and a house jam packed with accessories anymore.
“At Rave, we have a lot more resources than just one person can pull together,” Konnie said.
Konnie Kretlow is an experienced interior designer and home stager. She has been an integral member of the Rave Home Staging team for five years, working her way from Assistant Stager to Staging Manager. On the weekends, Konnie enjoys hiking and camping or simply curling up with a good book.