Passion to Prosperity: The Inspiring Story of a Founder’s Journey to Success in an Undiscovered Niche
Carol Hobson’s passion for Interiors lead her on a twenty-year journey that started with storing staging furniture in a friend’s garage; to becoming one of the largest, established, and most successful Home Staging and Interior Design companies in New Zealand.
“My team often teases me because I use the word ‘journey’ a lot; but I don’t mind, because I believe the Amazing Interiors journey is both a special one and a shared one. We wouldn’t be what we are today without my incredible staff. I also value the strong relationships we have with those who work closely with us.”
Home Stage with Amazing Results
Carol’s trusted, long-standing relationships with clients, agents and developers sets them apart from other Home Staging companies, while decades of collective experience bring a wealth of expertise in interior design and decoration.
Internationally recognised first-place winners in home staging, Amazing Interiors also have a wide knowledge of Auckland’s real estate market and a deep understanding of what motivates buyers. While the “A-Team” as Carol calls them hold multiple awards in visual merchandising, Interior styling, and botanical design, they keep a constant finger on the pulse of the latest trends, enabling Amazing Interiors to approach each job with professionalism and to achieve an exceptional outcome. “The team love going to work every day – and it shows in the work they produce. Every day we collaborate to create beautiful spaces and help homeowners and real estate agents achieve the prices they dream of, and buyers to find the homes they love. Home staging really does create a memorable impact,” Carol says.
Amazing Interiors also have a ‘playground of design’ retail showroom, which is located on Auckland’s bustling main street of Howick Village. It also serves as the hub for interior design. The moment you walk through the doors of the retail showroom, you will discover a display of exquisite, luxurious interiors. Boasting a vast range of exquisite decor, furniture, soft furnishings, window treatments and accessories. Friendly designers are on hand to offer in-depth, on-the-spot advice, or if the project is large, they offer in-home interior design consultations.
With many tiers to the service, Amazing Interiors interior design services offer decorating advice and sourcing, interior and exterior colour consultations, and are well known for their window treatment design. “We love getting to know our clients and guiding them to uncover the vision for their home – and we want everyone to have fun in the process! So come and spend time with us in our playground of design – the place where exquisite interior design concepts take shape,” Carol said with a contagious smile.
Thriving Business Model
Amazing Interiors has a diverse business model that includes an online retail shop, staging furniture for homes on sale, selling staged furniture, and providing interior design services for buyers’ newly purchased homes, with each branch building off the others.
When the warehouse needs a clear-out to cater for new season décor and furnishings, they hold large scale clearance sales.
After customers purchase their ex-staged furniture at a clearance sale, they can then revamp their new items by visiting the retail showroom for a reupholstery consultation. Working with a plethora of the latest fabrics in the showroom, and to bring life into a new forever piece, the interior designers take into consideration lifestyle, durability, and the elements already in your space.
Alternatively, at their chalk paint bar, Amazing Interiors can simply advise how to refurbish furniture in a multitude of colours and finishes. Or bring your furniture project along to one of their chalk paints workshops, where you are expertly guided as you paint up a storm and take your finished masterpiece home.
Since moving to Howick from South Africa in 1986, Carol’s career began, opening the iconic interiors shop, Biggie Best. Carol’s passion for interiors evolved over the years, pioneering as a market leader, selling her store, and founding Amazing interiors in 2003, where she beautifully staged homes for sale. Carol could see an undiscovered niche for a design and staging consultancy. This started out of her garage and quickly grew to 3 large warehouses full of bespoke design pieces.
This was the start of a very successful business.
Now alongside home staging, Amazing Interiors have a retail showroom, a hub for Interior Design services and stunning products for the home. Amazing Interiors are also proud stockists of New Zealand’s premium chalk paint, a craft furniture paint range made by The Artisan Company; as well as running a variety of interior focused workshops.
Carol is passionate about every aspect of her business, and her real love is working with clients, curtain furnishings and Interior decorating. Carol’s trend forecasting and selective buying has kept Amazing Interiors forefront in the everchanging fashion industry with beautiful sought-after quality items.
Challenges the Home Staging Industry Faces in the Marketplace
Due to higher mortgage interest rates, a cost-of-living crisis, and an increase in building material and labour costs; the real estate market has significantly slowed down. Reduced sale activity means properties are on the market for longer, and more homes are available for buyers to choose from. As with last year, it is a sellers’ market no more. People hesitate to put their homes on the market during this crisis. Which means less homes requiring staging services.
As usual, Carol Hobson embraced opportunity in the face of adversity.
With homeowners increasingly opting to stay in their existing homes rather than selling up, Amazing interiors have capitalised on this and pushed the interior design services. Angling on transforming their existing home into one they dream of.
Improving Performance Despite the Market
Carol’s strategic approach to selecting business locations has proven to be effective in ensuring the success of the company. By carefully choosing properties with high exposure, she has positioned the business sites in a way that maximizes visibility and attracts customers. As a result, the company has been able to thrive and achieve its goals.
Regardless of the challenge of the pandemic, Carol’s bold approach and knack for business growth confidently embraced opportunity. Many businesses had to close, leaving available fantastic property to rent. When the perfect space became available, she moved the home staging base from Ben Lomond Drive, Pakuranga Heights, to a high-profile warehouse in Auckland’s Ōtāhuhu. This impressive new warehouse and staging showroom serves as the hub for home staging. Carol invested a significant amount in signwriting the large building, which receives a high volume of daily traffic from passing cars.
The same went for the showroom, in the middle of the pandemic in uncertain times, Carol made the decision to move her retail base and took on prime position retail real estate in the main strip of Auckland’s bustling Howick.
Her actions paid off, as the high exposure locations allow Amazing Interiors to stay in the forefront of people’s minds, and additional foot traffic has brought in many new customers. Not only has this resulted in more home staging and interior design jobs, but it has also dramatically increased her sales.
Carol’s bold move has proven to be a great success and has enabled her business to grow and thrive during uncertain times.
Amazing Interior’s Key to Success: Strategies that Grew the Business
Fostering a lively and positive work environment while identifying and developing the strengths of her Amazing Interiors team has led to success in performance, loyalty, and longevity of staff. Carol strongly believes showing appreciation can lead to increased happiness, and accomplishment in individuals. “Every member of my team is valued. One of my favourite sayings by Dale Carnegie is one I live by, “People rarely succeed unless they are having fun doing it…” I encourage a vibrant fun culture at work, we are like a big family really. It’s a divine atmosphere to be in, there is so much laughter. Work really is our happy place. My team are everything to me.”
Coming out of COVID, Amazing Interiors have grown from strength to strength. “When it comes to hardship in business, it can be easy to focus on the negative aspects. But instead of allowing stress to paralyze you, why not use it as an opportunity to get creative and find solutions?” she says. Stressful situations can be an opportunity to think outside of the box and come up with innovative answers to complex problems. The key is to take a step back and look at the situation objectively. Focus on the potential benefits that the situation can bring, rather than on the potential pitfalls.
“Stress doesn’t have to be negative,” Carol says. “With the right attitude and approach, it can be an opportunity to grow, innovate, and find creative solutions. So, the next time you find yourself in a stressful business situation, take a deep breath, and start looking for the potential opportunities that can come out of it. More often than not, they are there.”
Lessons Learnt Along the Way
Carol knows that Amazing Interiors wouldn’t be where it is today without all her client’s incredible support, enthusiasm, and loyalty. She often gives back to the community by donating to various charities, schools, local organizations, and initiatives. “I believe that when you live in a community, it is our responsibility to give to those in need,” explains Carol.
Recently, Cyclone Gabrielle’s aftermath has left the Hawke’s Bay region devastated, with communities and residents suffering immense heartache. This natural disaster has caused widespread destruction, including homes being submerged in water and large areas covered in mud and debris. It is considered the most significant natural disaster of this century.
Carol donated furniture, and with the help of colleagues, corralled around Auckland in her large truck, gathering generous donations from her willing suppliers. May Time, Le Monde, Cintesi and CC Interiors all contributed to a 40 cubed truck full of designer homewares to gift to the people who were hit with the cyclone wreckage. The round trip of eighteen hours was received wonderfully well by the people of Hawks Bay. By investing in the well-being of their communities, businesses can reap long-term benefits that extend far beyond their bottom line.
Meeting the Needs of Today’s Consumers
Carol found success in an uncertain market by understanding the needs of her customers. She provided a variety of services that built off each other which made her business stand out. “A strength we had over the Covid pandemic, was that our company could diversify. Having multiple sources of income can help ensure that you will always have a customer base no matter what the economy looks like. This way you can always be sure to find clients who need your expertise.”
Boosting Your Business Through Connections
Networking is a gateway to partnerships, referrals, business advice, inspiration, and talent. Carol has been a long-standing partner with numerous local networking communities which have proven to provide a valued support system. As an entrepreneur, Carol heavily encourages the importance to surround herself with like-minded individuals who can offer insight into both their successes and failures. “If you are able to build a network of trusted individuals, you can observe their successes to learn from their experiences.”
Carol and Amazing Interior’s success story is a testament to the power of resilience, gratitude, creativity, and hard work infused with fun. She was able to capitalize on a situation that seemed unfavourable and build something that would benefit her customers and her business. Her success story is a reminder to us all to look for opportunities in the face of adversity.
Written by Sarah Martin
Retail Shop Video (welcome to use this QR Code for printed copies – the link is https://youtu.be/wMdYmxM0wss
The QR Code to home staging movie:
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