Some may call the origin story of Michigan-based Fox Design and Staging one of fate. Fox recalls his declining a full-time role at Pier 1–and his decline being rejected–as the beginning.
“I had no merchandising or design background whatsoever,” he said. “They refused my decline and then said, ‘We’ll see how it goes,’ and that’s how I ended up in the merchandising field.”
Over time, Fox found himself taking various positions at furniture stores–each being eliminated eventually, forcing him to find a new role. But, it was during his time at a local furniture store that customers would ask him for help designing and staging their homes.
He was hesitant to accept, at first, but a very persistent customer convinced him to take on the project. He realized these kinds of projects could be a great side hustle. And, when that same customer began referring many friends and family to him, it gave Fox the opportunity he needed to launch his business, Fox Design and Staging. That was in 2017.
Fast forward to today, Fox now specializes in designing and staging vacant and occupied homes for sale by removing some or all of the furniture, using select pieces customers already own, and incorporating pieces he buys from wholesale retailers to boost the home’s market appeal. While the company’s primary focus is on residential properties, 20 percent of its business is commercial properties–that includes working with local developers for model homes, apartments and senior living communities.
Fox’ core business, however, is the company’s reveal-style home makeovers. For those customers who want to be more hands on or are a little hesitant about the reveal approach, his team, including four contractors and himself, sends them “a few of the key pieces to get them feeling comfortable with what’s coming into their home. Anything that they don’t approve of in advance or are not committed to keeping is taken out of the mix,” explains Fox.
That rarely happens, though, according to Fox.
Great customer service has been Fox Design and Staging’s saving grace in tough times like the pandemic, when businesses all around him were shutting down. For Fox, the pandemic forcing people to spend more time at their homes resulted in an uptick in new clients for his business. While this was great news for long-term sustainability, supply chain delays presented a challenge. Fox was able to manage through those disruptions by managing client expectations and planning ahead.
“When upholstery was very difficult to get, I would just start grabbing whatever was available that I could get–just to have it on hand and available for clients wanting to purchase or for staging–even if I didn’t have a specific need for it at the time,” he said.
Fox has developed a good rapport with his customers and prides himself on building great customer relationships.
Clover has been a huge help in building customer relationships. Fox uses Clover Virtual Terminal, which he decided to try after using a Clover chip reader that was recommended to him by his bank. With the Virtual Terminal, he‘s not limited to “building the relationship during his customer interactions” and knows he can email a link for payment rather than interrupting the customer interaction by asking for credit card information to receive payment.
Fox has been able to sync his Clover Virtual Terminal with the invoicing platform he uses to send invoices after a job is complete or to collect a deposit before a job starts.
“It’s fantastic!” he says. “Especially with the reveals–customers are so excited about their new space! To follow those reactions with ‘OK, now I need a payment of thousands of dollars, please,’ would take away from the fun of the reveal.”
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