When buyers tour a vacant home, Lydia Andrews knows they often lack the imagination to see its full potential.
That’s where her home staging and design business, Maple & Moss, comes in.
Since 2016, Maple & Moss has been working with Colorado Springs homeowners, real estate agents and builders to help transform their properties from bare houses into inviting homes.
From its humble beginnings as a one-woman operation, Maple & Moss has grown exponentially.
The company, which netted under $50,000 in revenue its first year, now employs four contracted designers in addition to Andrews and brought in more than $340,000 in 2019.
And it all began less than four years ago with nothing more than a dream and a credit card.
Before starting Maple & Moss, Andrews and her husband Kevin lived in Los Angeles for about 10 years, chasing Hollywood acting dreams.
Eventually they moved to Kevin’s hometown of Colorado Springs to pursue new opportunities. Not long after they arrived, Andrews gave birth to their first child.
Andrews quickly realized she wanted a career in which she could work full time, but have the flexibility to spend as much time as possible with her son.
“As you can imagine, there’s not too many businesses that allow for that,” she said. “So I was like … if I can’t get the work, and I can’t get the time that I’d like, I’m just going to create that.”
It was then that Andrews, who’d worked at a staging and design business in L.A., decided to launch Maple & Moss. She dived into the business with $2,000 in credit card charges for startup capital.
“That was for purchasing my own accessories, which I housed in my own garage, and I started out by renting furniture at a local rental place,” Andrews said. “But I became increasingly frustrated with the fact that the furniture would not be up to my standards, in terms of style.
“So after about a year of that, I decided to purchase all of my own furniture and took kind of a second investment in the company.”
Launching a staging business in a city where the housing market is ultra-competitive and thriving might seem like an uphill battle. But Andrews said the hot market has actually increased the need for her company’s services.
“Typically you would only think of stagers as needing to come in when the housing market needs help, because if houses aren’t selling, you want to stage them so they sell quicker,” she said.
“But I think the business has actually grown because the market is doing so well. There’s so much competition. People are selling their homes left and right — so how are you going to stand out from the house down the street?
“We’re a market to be reckoned with along with some of the top cities in the country. So we need to have that professionalism, and that starts with staging your home. It’s showing that your house can beat out any house on the block, just by presenting it in a professional way.”
One of the main benefits of home staging, she said, is that it tends to reduce the time a home stays on the market.
According to the Real Estate Staging Association, homes staged before going on the market tend to sell about 73 percent faster, on average, than their non-staged counterparts.
It also can increase a potential buyer’s offer.
In a 2019 National Association of Realtors survey of real estate agents, 22 percent said clients who staged their homes saw offers 1 to 5 percent higher than similar homes on the market that were not staged. Another 17 percent said staging increased offers by 6 to 10 percent, and 7 percent said it yielded offers at least 11 percent higher.
Maple & Moss’ rates vary, but typically land between $1,000 and $2,000, including the cost of the design fee and transporting furniture from the company’s warehouse.
Maple & Moss also does home consultations for a flat fee of $150, where sellers in furnished homes hire the company to prep for market using their own furniture and accessories.
“And if you need additional help, we can send crews in,” Andrews said.
“We have organizing companies that can come in, cleaners … and other great local businesses that can help get your house ready. Because moving is a stressful time for people. It’s one of the most stressful things people do in their lives … so we try to make that process really simple and streamlined, and we help as much as we can.”