Female Founders: Stacie Staub
For the next installment of the Female Founders series on Union Street Media’s YouTube channel, Rachel Allard, Senior Vice President of Strategy, spoke with Stacie Staub, Founder and CEO of West + Maine Homes, an independent boutique real estate company that has taken the industry, and the Denver market, by storm. Click the video above to watch the full interview.
As Stacie Staub describes it, she was perfectly happy working as a Marketing Director for a software company and had “no inkling or aspiration” to ever sell real estate. Because her clients were real estate brokerages, Staub was able to get to know the real estate industry from the software side. Over time, she discovered that many companies wanted a realtor on staff in order to understand the entire process of searching for and buying a home. So while out on maternity leave, Staub decided to get her real estate license. Her primary motivation was simply to expand her skills, as she always assumed she’d go back to work after her leave ended. “I never really ended up going back because I fell in love with real estate,” she reveals.
Staub leaned on her connections for advice and started West + Maine Homes. She built her own website and created a digital strategy. “I built my own website and figured out IDX. I got the online game down pretty quickly at a time when agents didn’t know how to do that yet,” Staub explains, adding “Same thing with blogging.”
Looking back on the decision to start her own business, Staub reveals that she and her co-founder, Madeline Linder, simply couldn’t find a place they wanted to work. “There was clearly a space in our market for a boutique brokerage that was doing things a little bit differently,” she says. Because the Denver market sees a lot of mergers and acquisitions, many agents in the area were looking for a place to grow roots, ideally one that was culture-driven and client-focused. Spotting this need and deciding to be that company is one of the main reasons Staub believes she was able to grow West + Maine Homes so quickly.
“We’re just looking to do the things that make us excited because it makes our agents excited, then their clients, too.”—Stacie Staub
One exciting project West + Main Homes launched this year was a lifestyle magazine. Due to the impact on content from the pandemic, they had to shift their strategy. The new magazine is completely customizable by agents for their clients and is focused on loving your home more. “It’s totally all about them and what we thought their clients would appreciate having on the coffee table and finding in their mailbox. That’s a program that will stick because it was so well received,” Staub explains.
Even before the pandemic, West + Maine Homes was already a virtually-enabled company. Agents didn’t have desks and they used Slack for internal communication. In the first week of working remotely, they figured out quickly what platforms to use to keep everyone connected and organized, and started providing weekly company-wide updates.
Staub also mentions that the other major event that impacted their company and industry was when the Black Lives Matter movement surged over the summer. Staub reveals that agents she’s hired recently have expressed their disappointment in how their former companies handled the movement. “There’s also so much that’s said in the silence, not having that stance, and not being able to acquaint with fair housing and our history in the real estate industry and how we’ve certainly been part of the problem,” Staub explains.
“‘Can we be part of the solution?’ [This] has been really a huge focus for us from day one.”—Stacie Staub
Staub strongly believes in having the right education and training in order to make an effective difference in the industry. As a result, West + Maine Homes started a fair housing series working with their local Fair Housing Center.
Staub also seized on another opportunity to educate and inform. After Inman stopped its roadshow, Staub created Genuine Hustle, which is now a series of events, videos, and a podcast. Staub reached out to friends from all over the country who are experts in their field to come and speak. “We do it because we really feel like there’s this need in the industry not only for connection but also for information and you may not have it in your local market,” she explains. Due to the pandemic and inability to have in person conferences, Staub reshaped Genuine Hustle into the Genuine Hustle Academy, where speakers lead a series of online classes, and added a podcast.
“I don’t need [Genuine Hustle] to be a money maker. I need it to stay special and whole and keep attracting wonderful people, which is all that it’s done.”—Stacie Staub
When asked what her advice is to people looking to market themselves, Staub says, “don’t struggle through this. It’s important to outsource and find what products represent you and that you can afford.” She continues on to explain that it’s an ongoing process and “if something isn’t you, let someone else do it so you can focus on something else.”
As for what’s on the horizon for West + Maine Homes, Staub says, “now it’s more like what can we do to support the agents, continue to exceed expectations for our clients and help them do that?” They also recently opened an office in Oklahoma City which led to a few other markets expressing interest in having West + Maine Homes in their area. “We’re just going to keep investing in the company and investing in things we believe in and hopefully make some things better for some people and hold on for the ride,” she states.
To learn more about Stacie Staub and West + Maine Homes visit: https://www.westandmainhomes.com/