This past month here at Gentleman’s Creative we had the honor to work with luxury real estate broker, Jaime Richichi. She is a part of the Nest Seekers team, a global real estate brokerage whose “[team is] frequently featured as experts on highest rated media outlets such as CNBC, BBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and on real estate reality shows.” Wanting to get an inside scoop of what the luxury real estate world looked like from the inside, we sat down with Jaime who was kind enough to answer a variety of questions about herself and her experience working in the field.
1. First thing’s first, where are you from and where do you live now?
- I grew up on Long Island – South Bellmore out in Nassau County. I moved to Brooklyn 11 years ago and lived in various areas such as Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg. I just recently moved into Manhattan in the beginning of the year!
2. What was your first job? What is the greatest lesson you learned from it?
- My first job ever was working part time as a cashier, making minimum wage at Banana Republic in the Americana Mall in Manhasset while going to college. I learned so much from that experience! If you have ever worked on the floor in Retail, especially during the holidays you know there is nothing more pleasant than being cursed out by an angry customer while having to smile back and say have a nice day! My two biggest takeaways are that there is no substitute for work ethic if you want to be successful. I was fortunate enough to work with great leaders there who recognized my work ethic, commitment and potential which led to me spending 5 years with the company, leaving in a leadership role that ultimately helped propel my successful almost 20-year career in the fashion industry. You must do the work. My other biggest takeaway, and I share this because I get this question from younger people all the time who are trying to find their way…College is great and absolutely is the right path for some people. But for others it is not, and that is okay – and for many careers today it is not a must have. I was in my 3rd year of college when my mom got cancer. I was working full-time, going to school full-time and then running to the hospital at every free moment. I was going to college to say I went to college – I did not have a clear idea on what I wanted a career in! Ultimately it all became too much to manage, and I had to make a choice – give up the career path that I was just starting to build in Retail or focus on school. I choose the career that was in front of me. The significant salary I was on at 20 years old, helped to drive this decision as it allowed me to help my family. Leaving college at that point was the right decision for myself and my family. And I went on to work for some of the biggest fashion brands, lastly spending 7 years at HUGO BOSS running the Operations for North America. Not having a formal degree did not impact my career path and that said, I do firmly believe that there is no substitute for hands on experience – I have sat in Board Meetings with some of the industry’s biggest leaders, been responsible for close to $1 Billion in businesses, traveled the world with various companies, built successful teams and opened over 100 Retail stores – this type of hands on experience teaches you a business acumen that you cannot duplicate in a class room.
3. What initially grabbed your attention about real estate?
- For as long as I can remember I have been real estate obsessed! I think it started when I was a child, my mom and I would spend every weekend reading the real estate section of the NY Post & NY Times and pick out which open houses we would go to. Often, we would be driving to a destination and divert because she saw an open house sign! We always loved looking at the design, quality of the construction and, as I got older, I was really intrigued by the economics of the business. I love beautiful things, which is why I think I naturally stayed on the Fashion course for so long. But mostly, I love helping people and there is nothing that makes me happier than being able to make someone else happy. This the part of real estate that I love the most – we are given this gift of being trusted and let into strangers lives to help them with what will likely be their biggest investment. Being a part of a client’s home purchase or sale is an honor and not a responsibility that I take lightly.
4. You have a past in fashion, working with Hugo Boss for years, do you miss working in the fashion industry?
- There are parts of it I miss, of course. Mostly the free clothes (kidding but not!), I miss the people and having a team. The interesting part about real estate is that we are all entrepreneurs building our own brand and business so it can feel lonely. I am getting to the place where I am grounded in how I want my personal brand to be represented and am starting to build out a team. I have always said that Luxury is Luxury and Luxury is a lifestyle. So, whether it is Fashion, Jewelry, Cars, Boats or Homes it truly is a lifestyle and the Fashion world will always have a connection to real estate as we share the same clientele.
5. How did the opportunity for you to work with Nest Seekers come about?
- Social Media of course! I was working for a small online brokerage for years while maintaining my corporate career (too afraid to give up the big stable salary) and last summer when we were all in the heart of COVID it really got me thinking about what I want and how I want to live my life. I started speaking to all the big corporate brokerages out there but just did not feel connected to any of their Brands. And coming from my past in Fashion, Brand is incredibly important to me. I was on Instagram one morning and Shawn Elliott posted that Nest Seekers was hiring and left his phone number in the post. I was like well, what the hell I have nothing to lose. I called him, he of course sent me to voicemail – so I left a message and to my surprise 2 days later he called me back. After several weeks of trying to get on his insanely busy calendar (not his fault, he sells like a Billion Dollars of real estate!) and me stalking him daily we finally met. It took a tremendous amount of follow up on my part and putting my ego aside to keep trying even when I was not getting a response. Moral of the story is, that if you don’t go after what you want, you will never get it (even if it means putting yourself in a situation where you can get rejected). Shawn and I have gone on to do several deals together and are about to list a $22M Penthouse on Central Park with unobstructed views that cannot be duplicated! Trust me you will want to call me about this one!
6. We’ve seen the 5:00AM wake up timestamps on your Instagram Stories (@jaimerichichi). Where would you say your work ethic comes from? Have you always had it or did it develop over time?
- I am such a morning person! If I wake up late, I feel like I am chasing the day which stresses me out. And for me, there is nothing better than a good sunrise…it just gives you so much hope for the day. I grew up riding horses and went on to ride professionally. I believe this is where my work ethic was created. From such a young age, I was responsible for these incredible animals who required so much care and attention that it almost forced me to be responsible – (even on days when I didn’t want to be). When most of my school friends were out playing, or going to movies and restaurants, I was at the barn caring for my horses and practicing my craft. It takes an incredible amount of discipline to ride a horse and then layering in competing as an athlete requires your full commitment. Anyone who knows me, knows I do not do halfway well. I fully believe if you want something to be successful you must work for it and give it your full efforts.
7. What’s your greatest challenge that you run into being a real estate broker in NYC?
- That there are more factors out of our control than in our control. That said, I believe everything is about perspective, so if you choose to focus on the handful of things that you can control it makes the hard days a bit easier and more fun.
8. What has been your favorite property that you have ever listed?
- My townhouse at 163 East 64th Street that I currently have listed with the amazing Jessica Campbell. This is the most photographed townhouse in Manhattan! The façade and roof terrace are just out of this world stunning. And you have 1,325 feet of air-rights to build up as your life grows and evolves. Plus, it is 90 feet deep, which is unheard of in Manhattan. I’m obsessed with this townhouse, if you cannot tell. Did I mention it is for sale? So call me and let’s make this your next home!
9. What has been the greatest lesson you have learned from a client?
- To have patience and thick skin! Buying or Selling a home can be incredibly fun and exciting. But it can also be incredibly stressful if the client needs to move, doesn’t want to or maybe their financials do not align with their wish list. And that stress can often be taken out on you. Do not take it personally. Our job as brokers is to be patient, listen, carry the weight of the stress for our clients and to find solutions even when the situation feels impossible.
10. What do you love most about being a real estate broker in the NYC market?
- Aside from being able to see some of the most expensive, well designed masterpieces of homes in the world – the people and relationships I get to build. I am so lucky to meet tons of different people on a daily basis, from all walks of life. Getting to learn about them and who they are is so special and stimulating and I’m always learning something new. But, most of all it is getting to see my clients happy in their new home or the seeing the relief they feel when their home is sold – this is truly the best part of the job.
11. How long did it take you to get to where you are now, selling multi-million dollar properties around the world?
- I am really just getting started, and no where near where I want to be for my own expectations of myself. I am so fortunate to work for Nest Seekers, where our founder and President, Eddie Shapiro has really created a We Are Stronger Together mentality. The brand is so strong that it gives clients an extra level of trust and there is a lot of teamwork that happens amongst us. 90% of my business though, has come from referrals from past clients which is the absolute best feeling!
12. What is your favorite quality about the townhouse we’re in right now, 163 East 64th St.?
- Everything! I cannot pick just one thing to be honest, between the dreamy façade to the depth at 90 feet it is really beyond incredible. And the location is so special – it’s exclusive location on East 64th Street and Lexington Avenue is extraordinarily distinct with 25 private townhouse residences and historic Bishop Crook Lampposts. The block is just magical, especially in the evening.
13. If you had to give one piece of advice to anybody that wants to get into real estate, what would it be?
- Be consistent – this business is not easy, and you will get more No’s than you will Yes’s. But it only takes one Yes to help you gain momentum. Be consistent in your approach and your work ethic and the results will come. But also, never lose sight of the fact that this is a relationship, service-based business –your clients’ needs should come first no matter what. And if you work hard and focus on the right behaviors the results will come. I still remind myself daily that results take time!