2023-01-09 | New Roads Magazine
Setting the Stage for Success
Jodi Gaines builds her business by turning obstacles into opportunities, backed up by the right attitude and the right vehicle.
Jodi Gaines has carved out a career by turning setbacks into opportunities. For example, her college degree: Although it wasn’t the degree she initially sought, it was exactly what she needed, she says.
She began college intent on a degree in interior design. Most of her professors were encouraging, and her grades and hopes were high. Yet later, an instructor who doubted her methods suggested she pursue a new career path. Shattered, Gaines sought a degree in business.
“Sometimes your naysayers are exactly what you need to do something great. He wound up being my motivation,” she says. “I thought, ‘I always wanted to be a business owner. Then, I can do whatever I want, and someone like him can’t tell me otherwise.’”
STAGING A COMEBACK
Out of college, Gaines began designing showrooms and broke into the commercial interiors industry. In 2019, she joined a global marketing firm as a brand manager. That helped bring her to Dallas in 2020, where she bought a house. Luckily, she also began working toward her real estate license — because when the pandemic took over the economy, she lost her job at the marketing firm.
“I was not expecting it, but it was the greatest gift,” Gaines says. “It lit a fire under me.”
Gaines decided to put her house in Dallas on the market. To help it sell faster, she contacted stagers about making it show-ready. Staging a home helps prospective buyers see the house as their own and requires creating a blank canvas that is both stylish and charming.
“But I didn’t like their timelines or their prices,” she says. “I said, ‘This is silly. Why am I asking someone to do something I love to do when I know I can do it better? I’ll do it myself and start my own home staging company.’”
Gaines’s house sold quickly, and her new staging company, Land & Luxury Studio, took off.
“I have a good connection with Realtors and do a lot of work with my sister, who’s the principal agent on our real estate team. I just made everything happen as fast as I could spot the opportunity,” Gaines says.
Having the right vehicle was just as important as having the right connections, so she bought a 2020 Traverse Premier. “My car is the first thing people see,” she says. “I wanted to make sure it was professional and that it had a utilitarian element, where I could move things around without renting a truck.”
MY CAR HAS TO BE COMFORTABLE FOR CLIENTS OF MY REAL ESTATE BUSINESS.
Showing prospective homeowners houses in and around the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex also influenced her decision to get a Traverse. “My car also has to be comfortable for clients of my real estate business. In the time it takes to get across the Dallas–Fort Worth area, people in the Northeast can cross three states,” Gaines says.
The 30-year-old gets furniture and artwork to flip or use for staging from social media marketplaces, interior designers, and other stagers.
“The biggest furniture I’ve fit in my vehicle is a king-size headboard and frame,” she says. “I’ve also used my vehicle to move a large dresser, chairs, and nightstands.”
SECURING HER FUTURE
Gaines sees room to grow Land & Luxury Studio. She plans to buy an 8,000- to 12,000-square-foot warehouse in a design district where she can live, work, and store her staging décor, furniture, and art. The building, she says, would be a creative and collaborative resource for artists, real estate agents, and other entrepreneurs.
“A lot of photo studios, for example, don’t have a lot of inventory. They could come in and take photos or videos of spaces I stage with the latest design trend,” Gaines says.
While the Traverse helps Gaines transport clients and materials necessary for staging, she says it also helps her feel more protected out on the roads.
“Dallas has pretty rough roads and fast, aggressive, and sometimes dangerous drivers. I was in a smaller car before. Now, though, I don’t feel like people can use me as a bumper car,” she says. “I feel safe.”
STORY: LESLIE D. GREEN / PHOTOGRAPHY: CHRIS BACARELLA