She was 16 years old and had just got straight As in her exams – but she didn’t want to go to university.
The last time I saw Olivia Conlon we were at the ball.
(The Association of Scottish Businesswomen Awards to be precise.) We promised to chat but time passed and now she has a business turning well into six figures.
Here’s her story…
“I started The Property Stagers with a couple of hundred pounds, which I am really proud of as I have literally built it with no investment to what it is today.
My parents had been in property for a while and they were trying to sell one of their apartments. It was empty and was on the market for a few months with very little interest and no offers. Having an interest in interior design, I decided to stage it for them. I furnished it and made it look like a showhome. It sold, within three days, above market value. I decided to start a business doing the same for other people.
My mum joined me a year ago which has been life saving. I needed someone I could trust to deal with clients, invoicing and quoting, whilst I focus more on the marketing side of the business.
The best advice I have received in business would be: Stay in the one lane & don’t watch what anyone else is doing.
This advice has served me so well. I have stuck by it, which is why I think the business has been so successful. It’s really tempting to jump into the “next big thing” but by focusing on our niche I have built a business so successful that our biggest competitors (who have been operating for 20 years) have asked to merge with us.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced has been scaling the business. When I was a one-woman band I was only doing installations locally but as my work became well known throughout the UK I received a lot more enquiries. So the hardest part for me was taking the business from Glasgow-based to UK wide! It has involved several strategies with many different people to get the right process and right team members
I have worked flat out pretty much every day for the past three years to get the business to get where it is now. We are proud to deliver “one of a kind” interior design looks nationwide and to hundreds of different properties.
The main thing we have done to grow the business is hire our own in-house team. We now hire artists, designers, delivery people and shoppers. It was quite a scary step taking on people and knowing you’ve got the business behind you to pay their wages and support them.
Our plans for the next 18-24 months are huge. We have recently joined forces with one of the biggest property training companies in the UK – Touchstone Education, where we will be delivering Property Staging training for several hundred delegates a year, in the UK and abroad.
From this we are hoping to make connections in the States and replicate our business model there. We are also launching an on-line cushion business in the next couple of months.”