Meet Molly Hilton, the founder of Design To Impress – a company of home stagers who will address your property’s weaknesses with an honest eye.
What is staging and how did you find this path?
Home Staging is necessary in a world that has become so image conscience; essentially staging is the eye candy of a home. People’s eyes tell their heart what they want. We design a space that enables the homebuyers to envision themselves living in it. Its more than just adding furniture to a home for sale, it’s the imagination and vision that follows. Its recreating a space so that many people can relate to it, can see themselves living in it and get excited to one day make it their home.
Where did you get your drive/ambition from?
I moved to Canada as a teenager, from the war torn country of Guyana (west indies) with pennies in my pocket. I always had the dream of being my own business owner but also love design and working with my imagination. I modeled in my 20’s and saved up enough to buy my first fixer-upper house in the Parkdale neighborhood. Scraping by, I renovated the house myself, decorated and turned it into a duplex. From there I flipped many homes and even built a custom home for a client. Real estate quickly became my passion and a gateway to financial freedom, being a single mother of 4 girls. What I loved so much about real estate was the designing aspect -enter home staging. Owning my own home-staging business quickly became my passion, as I saw how helpful a tool it was to agents and homebuyers. Its truly remarkable to see the transformation of a home after being staged and how quickly the turn around is when you make the space relatable to home buyers. I am constantly looking to create new looks and styles for my clients and that to me is exciting.
If you had to attribute your success to 1 thing, what would that be?
As a mother of four children, I wanted to show them that they could do anything they loved, that they had a passion for, to go after their dreams no matter what age they were.
Who inspires you? Did you have a mentor? How did he/she guide you to get where you are today?
My mentor was my mother (she has since passed). My mother was strong and ambitious; she was an immigrant who was constantly looking for ways to better her and her family’s life. She enabled all her children the same, but especially pushed her daughters to be in control of their lives and pursue their dreams.
What are your preferred tools for keeping organized and networking?
Technology in real estate is evolving and we are so honored to work with agents who do 3D home mapping and state of the art online virtual tours. In our home staging company we are lucky to have amazing staff who help keep stock organized, clean and ready to use.
How do you deal with day to day problems and continue to stay motivated?
I start every day with a clean slate; I don’t take yesterday’s pits into today’s potential for peaks. I live for today, I live for positive interactions and helping my clients achieve their goals.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome in your career/with your business and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge to overcome was the startup costs and having clients believe in me. Thanks to two business managers at TD bank who believed and trusted me; there are good people in the world who want to see others succeed. Where there is a will there is a way. I’ve been telling my children since they were young. Never stress about things that are out of your control. There will always be challenges and obstacles to overcome, always.
What was your favourite project and why?
The first home I designed and renovated with my bare hands with the help of a few family members in 1989; I still have the investment property and I don’t have any intention of letting it go. That property taught me everything I know today.
What would be your dream project?
I make every project my dream. Every home I stage is a clean slate. It’s exciting to transform spaces, especially when you sometimes have less than 24 hours! Working with a great team helps. I work with one of my daughters and my son in law and it certainly makes long days easier when you’re working with people you love. We have a lot of fun while on the job, we laugh and motivate each other and that makes all the difference. It’s an amazing feeling to help people achieve their goals of selling their home as well. When you hear that a home sold in less than a week or sometimes even 24 hours its a reminder that we are on the right path!
What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve received that you can pass along to our readers?
Be true to who you are, understand your strengths and weaknesses. These are words I have repeated to my daughters for 20 years and still do. Live your dream, not someone else’s. There are dreamers and then there are risk takers, those who think up great ideas and those who take the steps to fulfill them. Being a risk-taker has allowed me to live my life to the fullest and I encourage everyone at some point in their life to take the leap into really living out their dream and doing what they are truly passionate about.