Celebrating 10 Years of Step By Stage

We are celebrating Step by Stage’s 10th birthday this month!

Ten years ago, we planted roots and started a wonderful journey of building a business and impacting our community. 

Through the words of our Owner/CEO, Anne Furlow, read about the vision, the journey, the success of Step by Stage, and everything in between!


The Vision. Our original version of the business started back in 2011 just after the recent housing and real estate collapse. Having been in interior design for 10 years and experiencing a layoff of my own as an interior designer, I wanted to continue to do something in the real estate field that could have a positive impact on our community while also improving the overall value of home sales. That’s when I decided to start Step by Stage. After mentoring with another professional home stager in Pinellas County for a few years and educating myself on the industry through multiple accredited home staging training courses, I took my experience in interior design and my passion for home staging and created Step by Stage Interiors. Step by Stage has laid the foundation for home staging and brought it to the forefront right here in Polk County. We would like to say we laid the groundwork and framework for professional home staging here in Polk County and all Central Florida. The rest is history. After 10 years in business and being Polk County’s premier and largest home staging company, we have been able to add major value to the price of a home’s sale, while also achieving incredibly fast results for our clients and Realtors. In turn, helping increase property values and impacting neighborhoods all throughout Polk and Central Florida. We always knew the potential and return on investment home staging can play, but it is wonderful to see how mainstream, popular, and beneficial home staging has become!


The Challenges. The home staging industry is not easy to get into without overcoming a few barriers to entry. For us, we started small, acquiring inventory slowly in a very bootstrap method of growing the company. It can be expensive to acquire the right and appropriate amounts of inventory to stage houses the right way. Matching the right decor and furnishings to the unique styles of homes here in Polk was a challenge. Also, using the proper scale of items goes a long way to ensuring each staging is telling the right story for each house, while the quality and design elements that set the emotional and psychological connection are established. 

Overcoming objections is always another top challenge, though in recent years not as much so as it was 5 + years ago. Price has always been a top challenge to convey. The investment cost to stage for many years has never quite fully been understood by most homeowners and Realtors. As more and more homeowners and Realtors understand the benefits and competitive advantage professional home staging provides, more and more people are choosing to stage their properties to generate more showings, more offers, all while maximizing profit at the closing table. 


Advice I would give to my past self.  Always continue to grind and never give up! There will be ups and downs, but weather the storm and the waters will always get calmer. Establish new relationships and continue to blossom older relationships. The best business is referral business. As we build trust and continue to establish collaborative partnerships with our agents and homeowners, we can continue achieving our main goal…helping agents and homeowners sell their properties faster and for more money!


Goals for the Future.  As we continue to grow the business, we strive to increase our footprint and impact right here in Lakeland, Polk, and our service area (From the gulf coast beaches, all the way to Orlando and in-between). We would love to add another full time Stager, Staging Assistant, more Movers, another box truck to the fleet, and triple the business revenue we have achieved so far. We continue to strive to become the “Go To” home staging company for all Realtors and Homeowners who require and expect only the best for their properties, branding, and clients. As a RESA Pro (Real Estate Staging Association) Certified instructor, we also look to continue educating willing agents who want to incorporate home staging into their arsenal through professional home staging training classes, offering continuing education courses for Realtors worth 3 CE credit hours through the state of FL. 

On behalf of Anne and the Step by Stage team, thank you for your support. We are looking forward to what the next 10 years have for us!

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