Today we'll be taking a "Behind the Blog" look at the blog "The Unxepected House Guest" by Roslyn Ashford. I met Roslyn during Blogfest 2011 in New York where I discovered that she is extremely creative and a fantastic business woman. I admire her passion for design and desire to inform the world about all the goings on in our community. As a result of our connection, I've become dependent on her to share design information that I somehow miss. Just last week she noticed a shout out to Pinkeggshell on the Style Network. Talk about an eye like a hawk, right?
Mood board created by Ashford for a recent staging project
She's honest, funny, and I'm sure you're gonna love her. So, here are our 10 questions for Roslyn.
How long have you been blogging?
I have had a blog for about 3 years – first on ActiveRain (site for realtors), then my own (blog.rarooms.com), now I blog on Zillow (another real estate site) and Mohawk’s Homescape Blog.
How has it helped your business?
I believe it has helped create more awareness of my company and helped increase its ranking on search engines. When I was active on ActiveRain, I actually did get local realtors and sellers who contacted me for work, based upon the blog.
How much time do you spend blogging each week?
Nowhere near where I should – probably only 1 -2 hours at most. I'm not consistent.
What inspires you?
LIFE inspires me! I typically use a photograph to get me going. Pictures that I take are perfect, because they are truly reflective of where I am or what I am seeing.
What's your favorite social media platform?
Hands down – Twitter!! I get to reach and exchange with people I know, people I don’t know, and (most importantly) people I WANT to know. I have been smart enough to attend real life tweetups – so I have had the chance to meet people I tweet with, both locally and in New York. It makes Twitter that much more fun!
Tell us a little bit about your business?
I'm a Home Stager by day and blinds retailer/dealer by night.
What's a typical day like for you? Start at 7am and run us through it.
7 am – Get up and get myself together. In spring/summer, my uniform is sneakers, comfortable shorts, and a t-shirt. When you're moving items in and out, you have to be comfy!
8 am – Jump on email. Send out any urgent messages and check up with people. Also I ensure that I have the full address and entry code (for lockbox) on my phone.
9 am - Breakfast! Always make sure to have breakfast with protein – chicken, salmon leftovers, scrambled eggs, whatever works. In the spring/summer, I might add on a fruit smoothie too! I try to start off the day with a full stomach that will keep me going until 1 – 2 pm. Lunch is never guaranteed.
9:30 ish Welcome my project manager, Stephan, in and we start packing for today’s job. He has been working with me for about 9 months on the staging projects. I let him do the selecting and packing of items and then monitor the amount and quiz him to ensure we aren’t forgetting anything major. All of the staging items except for the furniture are stored out on the enclosed back porch of my house. And some in the hallway…and some in the guest room :-)
10:30 By now, both cars are loaded and we are headed off to the property. On a good day our regular delivery guys are moving the furniture because they already have a key to the storage unit and I have sent them a list of what to pick up.
11:00 Stephan and I arrive to the property. Hopefully we have a correct code for the lockbox, allowing access to the house, parking is close by and the house is ready (meaning it is clean). If all of those things are true, we start to unload the cars. As we're unloading, the furniture typically arrives and we direct the placement of the furniture (sofa here, bed here). Condo buildings may require loading docks, reserved elevators, and dealing with rude or difficult concierges (sigh).
11:30 am – We are in full staging mode, furniture has been delivered and set up, and now we are blowing up mattresses, making beds, hanging art, setting tables, arranging furniture, laying down rugs, and folding towels. Making the magic happen.!
Hopefully by 12:30 or 1 pm, we are done. We gather up our empty crates, trash and debris and load it all back into cars. We both take pictures of the rooms, lock the property back up and leave. .
1 or 1:30 pm – We return to the house, throwing away all the trash, emptying the crates (in case we had taken extra items) and then finally, the staging day is complete.
This is of course an IDEAL day. There are always things that have happened to throw us off – the air mattress has a hole, we forgot the bed slats under the bed, the house is not clean (which means we spend time moving our items from one room to the next while it gets clean) and a realtor visits while we are staging, and on and on. So sometimes our day doesn’t end until 3pm or 4pm depending upon the mishaps. EVERY DAY is different!
Image from a recent Staging Project done by Rosalyn Ashford
What advice do you have for up and coming black design students?
If you REALLY want to be an interior designer, you must get out of your comfort zone. Assume that NONE of your friends or family are going to hire you – so you have to get out there, meet new folks who have money with little time, build up trust and convince them to hire you. You are NOT going to meet your clients at the interior designers' happy hour, or the young-just-out-of-school happy hour.
If you have a hard time selling yourself, then look for a design job – with a firm, retailer, manufacturer etc. or find someone who likes to do the marketing, meeting new clients part and you do the design. Doing them both at the same time is HARD WORK.
What are your thoughts on an organized home?
An organized home is a thing of beauty. Unfortunately my life is too busy for my house to be organized. But I’m a work in progress!
The unexpected house guest is the notion that your house should be ready to receive the unexpected house guest – for the one who calls and is ready to come over to either visit or stay. That means you keep up with repairs in your home, keep clean linen in the closet or on the bed, and take care of your home not just for yourself but for the unexpected house guest.