Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Home staging an emerging avenue for aspiring women leaders in property

Home staging an emerging avenue for aspiring women leaders in property

The emergence of the UK’s home staging industry has enabled estate agents, developers and sellers to present properties with specific buyers in mind to increase offer values.

This International Women’s Day (8 March), Kirsty Fisher, business development manager at Lemon and Lime Interiors, reflects on her role in helping to establish the women-led home staging firm as the industry leader in the UK.

Under the influence of Elaine Penhaul, founder of Lemon and Lime, Kirsty says the company have made ground-breaking measures to develop careers in a sector where women are typically underrepresented in management positions.

A new avenue for women in property

“We’re attracting talented women to Lemon and Lime from interior design, estate agency and sales backgrounds. The broad range of skills and input from our talent team has enabled us to punch far above our weight and partner with established national estate agent firms - a healthy and incredibly motivating environment.

“I cannot speak highly enough about the team we have cultivated over the past seven years. As we’ve become a small business that operates nationally, we’ve worked hard to retain our culture, making sure new people fit in as we work towards the same end goal. Everyone has a voice on day-to-day and strategic decisions, and this ensures we continue to substantially grow the business.”

Elaine’s influence and tutelage

Kirsty joined part-time as Elaine’s first employee when the business was storing inventory in containers and delivering to clients out of a horsebox.

“As the longest-serving member of the team, I have a special relationship with Elaine in that I have seen the business grow from nothing back in 2015. From the firm’s infancy to becoming an industry leader now, with an expanding team, warehouse space, service offerings and client reach, Elaine has been pivotal in my personal career development.

“I see Elaine as a mentor, role model and a proud woman business leader who has carved her niche in a highly demanding sector.

“Amid the uncertainty of the pandemic alongside the unpredictability of working in the property industry, she has managed to rapidly scale the businesses and rise to the challenges that come with being a leading face of the home staging industry.

“I’m fascinated by the way she thinks and I am constantly learning from her. Her ambition and vision to continuously drive the business is admirable, and I want to follow her lead.”

Balancing work and studies

Alongside her business development role, Kirsty is currently studying part-time for an MBA - as she seeks to continue developing her leadership and management capabilities.

“The course is incredibly hands-on, and I find myself constantly applying my learnings to the day-to-day running of the business. Delivering on client expectations can be challenging so being equipped with the knowledge and tools to overcome problems is proving beneficial.

“Women in business development positions are rare in property so I am constantly looking to improve my abilities and hope to inspire others to do the same.”

Achieving excellence at Lemon and Lime

“I am particularly proud of helping to establish Stageflow, a revolutionary, data-driven home staging app that I was highly involved with researching and developing.

Furthermore, I have enjoyed helping to grow our association with the International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IHASP), establishing Lemon and Lime on a global level as we look to expand offerings beyond the UK.

I am proud how far we’ve come as a team, forging landmark partnerships with estate agents - an industry previously reticent to home staging - and winning over more people to secure better fees on their properties.”

Advice for aspiring women in home staging

“It’s an incredibly enjoyable career choice for women who may be seeking a role in property or marketing and have a burning desire to work with interiors.

“Building a network is incredibly important in this industry. Elaine worked hard in the initial stages to create relationships with developers and estate agents, and continues to do so. Establishing a social media presence and engaging with the home staging and estate agent communities is also fundamental for gaining business opportunities and building a reputation.

“A career in home staging can be what you want it to be, we positioned ourselves in the upper end of market but maybe you want to focus on staging new builds or simply becoming a decluttering expert. A lot of capital is required for purchasing furniture, but many stagers rent instead.

“It is an exciting time for home staging as it moves out of the infancy stage in the UK. Home staging is an evolving avenue for women looking to get into a career in property and we look forward to seeing where other stagers can take it.”

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