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  • Writer's pictureSydney Kern

Why I quit my 9-5 to start my home staging + styling business

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

I had a wonderful 9-5 job, working with amazing individuals...why would I want to leave stability, a team I cherished, and an encouraging work environment? These were the questions that gripped me as I started to feel the inkling that change was on the horizon and that it might take a massive leap of faith.

The awe and wonder for design started back when I was a kid. I would move around my bedroom furniture often as I started to explore my fascination with spaces. I loved the new perspectives that changing my bedroom brought as I would sit in my newly positioned chair, being transformed time and time again, always feeling like I had a new place. This is where dreams for the future started, pulling out my drawing book, sketching up layout after layout, continually being captivated by all that untouched potential space could have to offer.

All this being said, I never thought of myself as a creative individual. I enjoyed doing some creative things, such as painting and drawing during a season of high school. In other seasons, I made decor for my bedrooms…(I was hanging sticks on walls before it was cool). I know it sounds dumb, and I got quite a bit of flack for it, but Crate and Barrel sold one for over $150 in their Christmas collection last year. Even though design didn't feel like a destined career path from a young age, there are many moments woven throughout my life that had a significant influence on my passion for design.

It was at the end of my business degree, that I started questioning...what is my calling? How am I meant to impact this world? What do I bring to the table? How am I uniquely wired?

I didn't find the answers to my questions right away. But I did start to analyze my life and understand that I might have something to offer within the world of design.

I got a great job, working for university Admissions. In this position, I grew a ton. I learned what an adult job looked like, where my place was on the team. I learned that I had a lot to contribute as a young professional while at the same time having a ton to learn myself. Throughout that job, I was able to tap into my creative abilities in a new way...realizing that hospitality, whether in your home or during a visit, meeting a friend for coffee or meeting someone new.

It was through this role that I learned a ton about the things that got me excited to come to work each day and the things that didn't. People were and will always be my “why”. Working with people was always life-giving. But I also knew that I loved working with my hands, being creative, and having results that I could see.

I started to see things differently when I moved home after graduation, saw my childhood bedroom as a blank canvas again and got excited about helping friends out with their homes. I would help with anything, from organizing their pantries to figuring out a new layout for their living room or bedroom. Occasionally my friends didn't think my crazy ideas would work, but they trusted me anyway. In these moments I found my voice and confidence within the design process. I knew that I could re-envision a space to maximize its usage and create a space where my clients felt at home. I worked through helping friends repurpose pieces that didn't fit in their living

room but served a hole for storage in their bathroom. I showed them how a different bed placement could open up the spaciousness of their room. It started to open their minds, along with mine, to see rooms in a whole new way as we experimented together. Having them trust what I was suggesting had a lot of weight and started to transform the way I saw my knowledge and language around space and design. Then, my parents gave me my first official room transformation of my brother's old room, into the new guest room.

I convinced my parents into letting me take on a few more projects over the next few years. This bathroom DIY reno, was a good old quarantine project, in the dead of winter, when my husband and I needed a little project to help keep us sane, but also to just see what we could make of the space with an extra can of paint and $200.

Just shortly after that fun little quarantine project in our basement suite at the time, I got the privilege to lead the design process of a full renovation of their master bath, bedroom and laundry room. This was a major project that allowed me to have complete design freedom, testing out dreams of a white oak vanity and a black framed shower, that I never imagined having in my portfolio this early on in my career. This project gave me the confidence that so much more is possible than I thought. Below are a few before and afters from this renovation project. What a dream it was to see these ideas come to life.




Taking the leap to start my own business was never something I thought I would be able to do, let alone be presented the opportunity at twenty-four. For someone who loves stability, consistency, having a plan, and knowing what to expect...having your own business is anything but that. Yet, I felt like I was ready for the challenge. If I didn't take the chance now, and at least test things out, I knew I would likely regret having had the opportunity to take the risk in life, when there wasn't a ton on the line. I knew it had the potential to fail, and the imposter syndrome was and is real, but who doesn't feel intimidated by others in their field? If you are considering taking a risk, but don't know if it's worth it to take the plunge...ask yourself, what are you going to lose if it fails? Likely it will mainly just be a humbling opportunity, where you learn more than if you were successful. BUT if it turns out, who knows, that one decision to risk it, could change the trajectory of your life.

Back to the question that brought you to read this. Why did I quit my 9-5 to start a home staging and styling business. I realized that I believe so deeply in how spaces can transform lives for the better. Your space can directly impact your mental capacity. Everyone is impacted by the space around them daily; from their living room to your counselling office, to the coffee shop, you and your friends love going to. Realized that I could have an impact on people's lives, more than just making a space look pretty. It is about how a beautifully designed space impacts your conversation, ability to open up, your love for hosting. It impacts so many more parts of life than we give credit to.

I am officially nine months into full-time home staging and interior design. I have had more opportunities present themselves in the past year than I ever thought possible. From consistent stages, partnering with Nest Real Estate Group, to heading up the renovation for my parents, to working with my first big corporate interior design job. I have been so grateful for everyone who has trusted me in their spaces. It takes others taking a risk on you to build a business. It is because of every one of my clients that I get to live out my passion for creating spaces and seeing people's lives transformed in them.

The main thing that I have learned in this past year is to go after what you are passionate about. Seek out opportunities, without needing them to lead somewhere specific. Believe in yourself before needing others to believe in you. If you take anything out of this piece, please, please take this; there will be no one else that can seek out or take opportunities for you, YOU are the only one holding yourself back from doing what you are passionate about.

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