Showhomes is the largest national staging brand in the country. Every major national media outlet in the U.S. has praised the work of Showhomes, the company’s work has also been featured on The Today Show, HGTV and the Travel Channel. Meet Nancy Jones. She owns Showhomes Triad (Winston-Salem, NC). Here is her story.
1. Tell me about your background.
I have worked in the furniture and design industry for most of my adult life. My college degree is in Business Administration, but I’ve always been able to work in a field I love. As a stay at home mom, I ran a wallpaper and design company in Chesapeake, VA. My next adventure was in retail, working in sales in a furniture store in Myrtle Beach. I had the opportunity to partner with a builder and open a Stanley furniture gallery in MB as well. I have been a sales rep, a designer & a District Manager for Thomasville/Drexel Heritage, covering the entire state of FL. When Thomasville was acquired by another company I was recruited by the largest privately held furniture company in Michigan to be their senior director for their high end luxury business. It did not take me long to realize Michigan was not where I wanted to be.
2. What was happening in your life that caused you to want to own a business?
My husband’s “main” career brought him back to the Carolinas and at the time I couldn’t find a job unless I wanted to go back into retail management. Being we were “newlyweds, we decided not to go the retail route to be able to spend more time together – we are on the shorter end of the “life stick”!
3. Why franchising (did you consider a startup)?
We chose Showhomes because we were familiar with the business model. When we moved to Florida for Thomasville, we were lucky to find Showhomes and we lived in a Showhome and got to know the franchise owner in Tampa. So…we stayed in touch during our time in Michigan and our return to the Carolinas, and she called us when the Triad NC territory became open. We had owned a franchise before in Charlotte, and had determined national brand recognition and support were more important to us than a start up on our own. We were very impressed with the franchise’s vision and the buying power that Showhomes franchisees share – plus the support corporate gives the franchisees.
4. Why Showhomes – did you look at any other options?
Showhomes fell perfectly into my “wheel house” of furniture & design so staging is a no brainer. My husband and I love updating and renovating homes together, and the Triad market was hot. There was a big demand for updates and renovations from companies with great integrity. We looked at several other options, ie. ServPro, HandyMan and Decorating Den, but felt the investment level and the overall fit were best suited with Showhomes.
5. What was the biggest surprise (something you didn’t expect) when you opened your business?
We were blown away by the support from several key realtors right after we “opened”. We knew the market would like our products once we had some success, we just needed to get established, get a little reputation on our side. We had our first staging within a few weeks and have never looked back! We targeted 5 realtors from Day 1 and got 3 of them on board right away…and they are still our biggest supporters today.
6. What would you have done differently now that you know what you know?
I would have staffed differently. Our business took off very quickly, as I said, with the help of some key realtors and we were behind on staffing from the beginning. I thought I could be a one man show and wear all of the hats…wow, what an eyeopener I had! I quickly discovered that while I could touch each area of new business development, I couldn’t follow through at the fast pace I was running. Getting our staff ramped up earlier would have paid huge dividends.
7. What’s the best thing about owning your own business?
I have the opportunity to control my retirement, my time and who I choose to have on my team. We set the culture for our business and for how we handle customer service.
8. What’s next for you?
Our first goal for this year is to hire more staff, again! We’re growing by leaps and bounds and need to be able to keep up our great customer service! We plan to expand our warehouse space and inventory to facilitate better response time for staging and makeovers. Additionally we are expanding our support staff to keep up with demand for update services. Somewhere in the midst of all of this we are going to take some vacation time and just relax. We have a great team and we know they can handle whatever comes up.