Editorials

Metropolitan Magazine offers powerful editorial content each issue, featuring insight from a who’s who in luxury real estate including CEOs, top agents and the stars of the industry. Click on the boxes below to read the features within each section or scroll down to start browsing work from our columnists.

 

Yoga: The Perfect Style for Your Personality

By Kathryn Budig 

bhujaThe word yoga probably conjures up the image of a content-looking yogi contorted into the shape of a pretzel but I have good news-all yoga isn’t like that. In fact, there are endless variations of yoga for every type of person.

The question is where should you start? Below is a short list I put together of some of the most popular styles of yoga, mapped out to match your personality in hopes that you may find your perfect style. Remember to try more than one, or at least until you find one that keeps you motivated. It’s out there — I promise!

 FOR TYPE A’S 

You’re organized, always on time, never miss an appointment, and always want to do your best. 

You’ll loveAshtanga yoga. This style of yoga created by Pattabhi Jois originated in Mysore, India. It’s a set series of postures that are done in a sequence that can be practiced independently or in a led class. The sequence is challenging and fiery — it’s a great way to build strength, burn off excess energy and see results from your dedicated practice.

FOR ATHLETES 

You’re a born athlete. You sweat every day. You adore a challenge and you love to move! 

You’ll lovePower yoga. I know this will be your cup of tea. These classes are often heated (which translates into major sweating) and include demanding postures strung together into sequences. Even the strongest athlete will find a challenge in this style of class, not to mention a great way to elongate and protect the muscles for their regular endeavors.

FOR THE OVER-THINKER 

You’re constantly on overload with you wheels turning and twenty irons in the fire. Clearing your mind will sooner happen when pigs fly. 

You’ll loveVinyasa flow. This style of yoga links movement with breath in an often dance-like sequence of postures. It can be rigorous or soothing, or both, depending on the teacher and level. Vinyasa flow demands your full attention to do well. You can’t balance or flow if your mind is somewhere else, so this is the perfect way to get rid of your to-do list, for at least the duration of the practice

FOR THE BOOKWORM

You’re a sponge for information. You’re always open to learning about anatomy, how the body works, and how to keep it safe during your practice. 

You’ll love… Iyengar yoga. This style of yoga was created by B.K.S. Iyengar. His style focuses on the intricate details of the body and how it works within each pose. It moves at a repetitive and thoughtful pace with ample amounts of yoga props to make the posture more accessible and appropriate for each body type.

FOR THE INTROVERT 

Showing up to a public yoga class is your worst nightmare. You don’t want anyone watching you or you’re simply not confident enough in your yoga skills to practice in front of other people. 

You’ll loveOnline yoga. All you need is a space big enough to unroll your yoga mat and to be able to stand, fold and extend your arms. This option allows you to safely try different teachers and styles in the comfort of your home, and to work at your own pace.

 

Visit Kathryn’s online studio @ www.yogaglo.com 

 

Written in Stone

In an age where we find ourselves surrounded at all times by a complex web of glass, steel and plastic, stone retains its elementary and essential status as the material of permanence and timelessness. There is no experience quite the same as placing one’s hand against the coolness of marble or seeing a supple flow of forms carved from its seemingly unyielding hardness. But while stone retains a place of pride in building, architecture, and decor, the grand tradition of stone sculpture, particularly figurative work, has diminished in modern times, threatening to mute one of stone’s most glorious and distinctive voices. These voices raised themselves up to counter that danger.

Henderson_Joshua_Mother

JONATHAN TIBETT

(Proprietor of ABC Worldwide Stone & Board Member, New York Academy of Art) Sculpture gives us the opportunity to recognize art dimension-ally. It brings art to life in a way that other forms of art can never achieve. I have had the opportunity to see some of the great masterpieces of sculpture, and each time I’m in their presence I’m humbled, and yet I’m challenged by the level of talent that our species possesses. Sculpture in the urban setting adds beauty and sophistication to the fortunate onlooker. Where sculpture exists, an oasis is created where people are drawn to explore, contemplate and enjoy the inseparable bond between art and nature.

Sculpture enriches public spaces like no other form of art, but sculpture is also one of the most expensive and time-intensive kinds of art making. Training, fabrication, materials: all require commitment, skill and an intimate relationship to a sculptor’s chosen medium.

PETER DRAKE

(Dean of Academic Affairs, New York Academy of Art) I see two extremes happening simultaneously in contemporary sculpture. On the one hand there is the post-studio model whereby the artist becomes the director, orchestrating artisans and assistants to produce ambitious work that may not require the artist’s touch. This sensibility has a certain remove and coolness that speaks to its conceptual history. Artists with large studio practices and multiple assistants are nothing new in the art world, but with the advent of digital printing and milling, it is currently being taken to a new extreme. On the other hand you see artists returning to the inherent joy of being what Mark Mennin refers to as “the single combat warrior.” This kind of artist almost insists on doing everything themselves. This can lead to a certain romanticizing of the studio practice, but I find it admirable just the same.

The trend in contemporary sculptural practice in recent decades has been away from stone in favor of modern and manufactured materials, especially in abstraction and assemblages created from diverse sources. While many beautiful and intriguing sculptures have arisen from this engagement, there’s been an unfortunate side effect: a lessening of stone as the first choice for sculptural practice, which has had some unforeseen effects.

STEPHEN SHAHEEN

(New York-based artist) I think stone is worthy of consideration today for two important reasons. First, its aesthetic contributions are endless, both in the range of colors and applications. Secondly, we live in a time of expanding sensitivity to using natural materials and avoiding petroleum-based synthetics such as plastic.

Another unintended consequence: a loss of skill in working with stones of all kinds, as artists turned away from the material. Hard as it is to imagine, it would be difficult to find contemporary sculptors who have the technical know-how to create sculptures on the level of many figurative works executed just a hundred or so years ago.

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JONATHAN TIBETT

I had the pleasure of being asked by the New York Academy of Art if I would be willing to assist in developing a stone sculpture pro-gram to an already existing and incredible sculpture department. I was so happy that they had the foresight and vision to want to further pursue this age old medium. We immediately put together a Residency program that would allow the students to travel to Italy and learn these classic stone carving techniques with some of the masters in Carrara. Carrara is the home of the Apuan Alps, which is where all of the great Renaissance sculptures procured their materials and honed their craft for millennium. We were also able to assist in designing and offering a workshop at the school which would allow the students instruction on how to sculpt in stone here in New York. The Academy then provided the space to house a dedicated stone sculpture area at the school in which a stone sculpting elective is now taught as a part of the regular curriculum. Since this process started in 2011, the community of sculptors at the Academy has grown and the interest in stone sculpture is seeing an upswing in interest and stewards.

PETER DRAKE 

Since the inception of the stone-carving elective at the New York Academy of Art I have seen an uptick in the sense of seriousness in the Sculpture Department. There is a feeling that along with the rigor that is demanded of stone carving there is a connection to art history and its most ambitious art-makers; there is almost no way that you can start carving stone without feeling a connection to Bernini, Michelangelo and Rodin. I have also seen how the Academy’s patrons respond to the art that is produced in the class and through the Carrara Residency; it is almost a magical reaction, as if they can’t believe that students can produce something so incredible.

There is no experience quite the same as placing one hand against the coolness of marble or seeing a supple flow of forms carved from its seemingly unyielding hardness. 

The results of Tibett’s and Drake’s efforts in raising the profile and proficiency of stone sculpture have been highly successful, and the proof can be seen in the artworks themselves. Joshua Henderson, a young sculptor and winner of the 2014 Carrara Residency, created the lovely, mysterious work “Mother,” a sculpture whose flowing lines and wind-swept drapery remind viewers of just how powerful form can be when channeled into a block of creamy Carrara marble. There is nothing quite like working with stone, as both Henderson and Stephen Shaheen can attest.

JOSHUA HENDERSON 

(Carrara Residency Award Recipient 2014) Once I’ve selected a piece of marble, I try to grasp a vision of what the stone means… I ask myself many questions during the artistic process. How does this material relate to me? Why stone? Why this composition or gesture? Who and what am I representing? During the process many of my questions are answered, and when they are I begin questioning the answers. In selecting material for my sculpture “Mother,” I wanted a stone that was pure and beautiful as was my perception of my mother. I looked for a stone that closely mirrored my feelings for the concept. In this case, white Carrara marble was perfect, pure and strong with subtle veining.

001-Metro2 (84)STEPHEN SHAHEEN 

I use many different media, but when it comes to stone, it’s quite a visceral, even brutal process. There is a violence enacted on the material, and reciprocated on my body. I don’t know that I give them life so much as an interpretable transformation; some people and cultures would prefer the stone in its natural state. Regardless, it is a very involved process that requires close human intervention from start to finish.

JOSHUA HENDERSON 

In order to “experience” the stone I suppose one must have involvement in, contact with, observation of, awareness of, or insight into the stone. I think it’s safe to say that the more experience a person has with stone the closer that person comes to mastering it.

  • ••

And it’s safe to say that, thanks to the efforts of businessmen, educators, fabricators and artists, new generations will have that irreplaceable experience of stone that has for so long been a crucial encounter with beauty.

By Gregory Crosby

How to Upstage a Home

By Cheryl Eisen 

CHERYL EISEN of Interior Marketing Group shares her thoughts on a variety of design elements that help define the future residences of Manhattan’s elite buyers. They can work just as well in a Chelsea studio or a quaint pied-a-terre in the Village. Eisen’s picks for her team’s stagings, as well as their interior designs, have a unique broad appeal equipped with ‘wow-factor’ that enables your home to upstage its former self.

995-fifth-ave-living copyHERE SHE SHARES EIGHT OF HER FAVORITE DESIGN TRICKS:

A Fresh Coat of Paint

If I had to pick just one thing to spend money on, whether it be in a $250,000 home or a $25,000,000 one, I would choose paint. A fresh coat of paint makes any room look finished and new. My go-to’s are Light Grays and “Greiges” – neutral beige-grays – which make a room look bigger and lighter. Walls are the backdrop for your design — think of it as a canvas.

20-greene-2014Grasscloth Wallpaper

When paint isn’t the complete answer, I turn to grasscloth wallpaper. They are naturally textured and add an instant but tastefully subtle luxuriousness to a space, many of them with light-reflecting threads woven into them. I love creating a dark and dramatic accent wall with gray grasscloth behind a master bed to add depth,

or covering an entire hallway with a lighter color. Have left over wallpaper? I like to wrap smaller old or scratched furniture (textured side-table anyone?) and it becomes a one-of-a-kind piece. See Puck PH 2 master

Mirrors, Mirrors on the Walls

Ubiquitous in all my stagings are my unapologetic use of multiple large mirrors. Not only do they make a room feel double the size, they also double the windows, adding more light.

xosqHI6lwo3qy-pR1QTsojRq_ZxuB22OSdVDSnVpylQ,xcW6CHDbowdp88TtUfp_htJQUlxO2R8J1Gi6iYV7PnMOversized Modern Artwork

Most, if not all, of the artwork I use is original, which is wonderful because we can make statement pieces custom-sized and painted for a specific job. We like it oversized and abstract and mostly black and white (unless it’s a kid’s room), creating an eye-catching focal point for the room. How big should you go? As big as the wall space permits. Pro-tip: paint, then hang canvases together so they appear as one oversized piece.

Low, Modern Sofas

Seating that lacks height, but makes up for it in length and plush works by keeping spaces feeling more open and not blocking views, especially if seating is not against a wall. Also, like walls, sofas are best kept light and neutral, helping make a room look less cramped.

Sprawling Rugs

I never use a rug that falls short from covering the seating space in a room. The bigger the area rug, the larger the room will feel. And whenever the demographic permits, I love to use a plush flokati rug.

113186070 copyUnexpected Sculptural Furniture

Especially in smaller spaces, furniture pieces that are both utilitarian and sculptural are a perfect two-in-one and are simply stunning. I like to use pieces with organic elements like raw wood paired with warm metals, such as gold or brass, to create a striking combination.

Authenticity

If it is your home, never fear the most important insight of all: yours. When staging, I want to make a room look real and inviting, not staged. The trick to the latter is knowing who you are staging for, and design for that demographic, but always include unexpected elements because buyers for the same listing are not all the same. For the homeowner it is easier because you are designing for yourself, you know what you like, and if you’re not sure, there are those of us with the insight to help.

 

Cheryl Eisen is President of Interior Marketing Group

 

 

Rebranding and Preservation

 …with Elizabeth Stribling

2By Stephanie Jones

When Elizabeth Stribling became President of Stribling and Associates in 2013, she knew she had an uncompromising legacy to uphold. Having worked as Director of Marketing and Business Development for many years, Stribling already had a comprehensive understanding of core values, including the number one axiom handed down from her mother, company founder, Elizabeth F. Stribling: Work hard and be honest.

Growing up in a family that nurtured ambition of the most sophisticated nature, Stribling spent her formative years frequently engaged in dinner table conversations that would later shape her into a professional listener and role model for self-possession. Her mother taught her the importance of personal accountability while she was still in grade school, a lesson she has carried with her throughout her career. “I think the first thing you have to do is accept the fact that you may fail,” she says.

“Failure can happen, and failure isn’t as bad as people think it is. I don’t have all the answers. No one does. Life is a continually changing process. I have learned to be able to say, ‘I don’t know, but I will find out, and I’ll work to find out.’ And to the people who think they know everything, and are quick to the make answers, and are often too hasty- that’s when real mistakes are made.”

A true New Yorker, Stribling has observed the dramatic developments in her native city over decades of change, and works to imbue each burgeoning real estate market with energetic ideas that preserve the company’s essential ideals. “New York is always changing and we must change with it,” she says, “but [we have to] hold on to [our] core beliefs, and that’s ‘work hard and be honest.'”

“New York has changed so drastically. You can’t have the worst apartment on the best block because there is no best block anymore; everything is the best block. You have to be able to work with the times. Luxury is a continually evolving concept, and you have to be able to continually evolve with it.”

Stribling’s depth of understanding within the changing market comes from her ability to observe herself and interpret each observation as it relates to her work as a luxury real estate professional. “You have to fully understand who you are, and I think that very much involves understanding your weaknesses,” she says.

“You have to look at the world around you and [figure out] what makes you relevant, and what makes you still have a place at the table. But, how do you have a place at that table in five years?”

One way in which Stribling ensures her enduring success is by truly serving the customer. Though the market fluctuates, the conception of luxury Real Estate as a client-centric business remains the same. Stribling’s incomparable dedication to customer service comes directly from her mother. “One of the greatest pieces of advice my mother ever gave me was, when you look at negotiating, you always have to see the other side; if you can’t see the other person’s perspective, you’re going to hit a deadlock.” She maintains the nuance of negotiating comes down to one key component: “I think it’s imperative to listen,” she says. “I listen, and I think it’s really important to listen, and really think about your response. You have to think before you speak, and I think that’s something that just doesn’t happen enough.”

Because her company ideals fuel the way she runs her business, Stribling takes care to select agents and associates who possess the same vital work ethic and integral qualities of honesty and accountability. “A Stribling agent is going to be onboard,” she says.

“The ‘right broker’ is someone who is ethical, who stands up for what’s right. We work very much as a round table here; it’s my mother, myself and seven or eight managers. We really value other people’s opinions. You’re not going to work here by meeting just the head of HR; you’re going to meet with a lot of people. When you walk in the door, you’re getting a card that says my name on it, and you’re going to become a part of that family pretty quickly.”

While company branding is important, in such an evolving industry as luxury real estate, company rebranding is imperative. Though the Stribling name may be known for the ‘trophy apartment’ on Park Avenue, and the elusive 5th Avenue co-op, the brand itself has expanded beyond the Upper Eastside, serving a greater luxury community that reaches into Brooklyn and, more recently, Queens.

Stribling attributes her talent for effective rebranding to her background in marketing, a foundation that includes a strong sense of loyalty, and a desire to meet every customer’s unique needs. Specific price points matter far less than sincere service to the customer as an individual. “I want to learn everything,” she says. “The more I know, the more I can provide.”

Ever the urban entrepreneur, Stribling possesses a steadfast New Yorker approach to problem solving. “I don’t want someone else solving all my problems; I’ve got to solve them myself, with some assistance.” A market as turbulent as luxury real estate demands a special brand of poise and determination, and Stribling continues to rise to each extraordinary occasion.

 

LIT FROM WITHIN

By Bonnie Downing

Inspired by the glittering new Baccarat Hotel & Residences, and a city set aglow by the annual phenomenon of light known as “Manhattanhenge,” we take a look at all that glimmers.  

Baccarat Hotel NYC March 2015 (1)

Fifty stories of prismatic glass now shimmer across the street from MOMA. The facade of the Baccarat Hotel & Residences, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is an instant landmark. Inside, crystal elements and ruby chandeliers glimmer against lavish mica ceilings, pleated silk walls, and silver-leafed wood paneling. Gilles & Boissier of Paris imbued furniture and interiors with an almost otherworldly luxury.

Baccarat Hotel NYC March 2015 (117)Architecture’s essential alchemy of light is presented at exhibits opening both uptown on museum mile and at a downtown gallery. Fashion seems to be savoring these last moments before baring all for the beach. Weighty accessories gleam with extravagant sparkle and an evocative new fragrance, counter-intuitive for this season, lightens up our sense of oud.

Baccarat Hotel NYC March 2015 (55)“Make a painting in which the color comes out only under a certain light at a certain time of day. Make it a very short time,” wrote Yoko Ono in Grapefruit (1959), her recently rereleased art book. As golden hour lengthens, the early-summer sun moves slowly over Manhattan, illuminating bright ideas in art and culture. Capture the light while it lasts.

ITINERARY  

When the sunset aligns with Manhattan’s grid, molten light melts into every cross street. Witness Manhattanhenge Friday May 29 8:12 pm & Saturday May 30, 8:12 pm.

Baccarat Hotel NYC March 2015 (116)Sip signature cocktails served in charmingly mismatched, vintage crystal stemware, on a terrace overlooking the Museum of Modern Art. The La Vie en Rose combines Lillet Rose, Citadelle Gin, fresh grapefruit juice, Campari, Ruinart Rose Champagne. La Boissons at the Baccarat Hotel & Residences, 20 West 53rd Street.

“Build a house with walls that come into existence only with the particular prism effect created by sunset,” Yoko Ono wrote in her book of art experiments, eleven years in the making. Suggestions such as, “Go to the middle of Central Park Pond and drop all your jeweleries,” evoke a life lit by lark and whimsy. Grapefruit (1959), signed limited edition ($750) MOMA Store.

Baccarat Hotel NYC March 2015 (114)Architect and artist Frederick Kiesler (1890-1965) began plans for Endless House in the 1920s. Designed to allow light into every corner as the sun moved through the sky, the dwelling would have been a perfect expression of correalism, his philosophy of the space between artistic creativity, technology, and nature. End-less House occupied Kiesler’s mind for decades but was never built. Sketches, plans and photographs of models—the ephemera of an architectural obsession—go on display in Intersections of Art and Architecture. Opens June 27 at MOMA.

Houses and light also haunt the dreams of Dusseldorf artist Ste-fan Kurten. Large-scale paintings like “Top of the World,” juxtapose lush nature and modern architecture. Running to Stand Still opens May 30 at Alexander and Bonin, 132 Tenth Avenue, New York.

Some dream houses do get built. Visit Philip Johnson’s master work of light and landscape, The Glass House, in New Canaan, CT. Spend a sunny afternoon at a lawn party to benefit preservation of this National Historic Landmark. The Glass House Annual Summer Party at Bedford Post Inn, Saturday June 13th 12 – 4pm

Baccarat Hotel NYC March 2015 (110)Convictions in love and political ideology shift in and out of shadow in David Hare’s TONY winner, Skylight. Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy shine under a desolate lighting design by Nathasha Katz. At the Jonathan Golden Theater.

DESIGN   

Ethereal Cosmo Star Lamp ($4,000), by ABC co-create x Catellani and Smith, projects ethereal rings iridescent, ringed glow. (abchome.com)

A party’s afterglow is made permanent with inlaid-brass rings in walnut plywood pressed concrete. Shard Cocktail Table (price upon request), by Noble Goods, a husband and wife, Brooklyn design team (noblegoods.com).

Want to avoid rings? Handmade resin coasters by Fish Design ($12), at Barneys.

Light-reactive gloss gives glass a shifting, iridescence. Shimmer Table ($2,200), by Patrica Urquiola ($2,200), at the MOMA Store.

ADORNMENTS  

Baccarat Hotel NYC March 2015 (52)Rose-tinged and smoky, the new fragrance created by Alberto Morilles in collaboration with Aedes de Venustas, was inspired by light glowing through polished rosewood. Crystal-clear ambrette and misty cinnamon notes make this a singular oud and a savvy early-summer choice. Palissandre d’Or: ($245), at Aades de Venustas.

Keep the sunset going with gold and ruby-toned shades. Crystalembellished metal mirrored sunglasses ($465), at Fendi.

Oversized statement necklace embodies light with weight. Gold and silver-toned Swarovski crystal necklace by Lanvin ($1785).

An unexpected pearl brings subtle glow to burgundy suede, embellished platform sandals by Nicholas Kirkwood ($795) at Bergdorf Goodman.

An architectural heel and blue-crystal grommets make these sandals stand out. Embellished metallic leather sandals by MiuMiu ($995).

Authenticity Sells

By Emma Collins

with Barbara CorcoranConnecticut is a center of movement that is revitalizing marketing outside of New York City. The woman behind the mantras and marketing efforts, is Realtor® and President of the Higgins Group, (a Christie’s International real estate affiliate), Julie Vanderblue of Fairfield County. “My job is to market Connecticut at the highest level… this comes easy as I authentically believe that Connecticut is one of the best places to live in the world,” states Vanderblue. Her success as both a teacher and team leader untimely hinges on the collaborative efforts that fully integrate client relations into the selling process.

Team building is key: “You must align yourself with partners who bring strength and skill in different areas so the combined effort brings considerably more value to your clients,” Vanderblue says. Persona! and professional shortcomings will always be there, but Vanderblue uses these ostensible deficiencies as an opportunity to build a well-rounded platform of players: an agent may be weak in one area, but will possess expertise in another — the magic is in the alignment of these skill sets within a team.

When training for team building, Vanderblue asks her team the following question: “What do you bring to the table?” Their response dictates not only how they will contribute to the overall success of the company, but how they will organically connect with buyers and sellers. “Each one of us has a geographical expertise. But we also choose other areas that we commit to studying in order to bring more value to both our team and clients. For instance, we have a Waterfront Specialist who truly understands the details needed for buyers interested in coastal lifestyles… [other Realtors®] might say ‘I’m a waterfront expert, but [they can’t answer] when a buyer asks what the draft is for the boat or if a property is FEMA compliant. “The term expert is often thrown around too loosely without credibility, we take it seriously,” Vanderblue says. Each Vanderblue Division head must come with specific experiential knowledge and dedicated research. For instance, Vanderblue’s Urban to Suburban consultants guide buyers moving to Fairfield County from cities throughout the US because they have personally experienced moving from the city themselves. Familiarity brings comfort and confidence; what could have been daunting and stressful becomes enjoyable and exciting.

julie_new_headshot_892x1024 But once a Realtor® has found their niche, or expertise, the gaze then turns to the consumer — “We learn everything we can about the buyer to help find the right home for their family… it’s not about pointing out the obvious in homes (here is the kitchen) but uncovering their needs and wants, cross-marketing homes and even towns, and often looking outside of the norm to find that perfect match.” Creativity is one of Vanderblue’s strengths and one example is found in a successful niche called Exclusive Sneak Preview Division (www.espdivision.com). With the transparency of the market, most buyers are looking for opportunities that are not on multiple listing service while sellers are looking for buyers before they are ready to officially market. This unique matchmaking creates win – win scenarios and it brings significant benefits to buyers, sellers and Realtors®.” Effective sales starts with listening. No one wants to feel sold… but they always want to be heard,” says Vanderblue.

Creating an informed, tangible bridge between a client’s wants and needs is essential, and that’s built on trust. Normally we associate “trust” with those around us we consider friends or even family members. But when it comes to real estate, selecting the right Realtor® for your specific needs is paramount because of the huge financial considerations and risks involved. Many people feel obligated to use a friend or family member but that is often not the best choice. “I highly recommend that buyers take the proper time for due diligence when they choose a Realtor® (whether a friend or not), just as they would when choosing an attorney or a doctor. Trust, when it comes to real estate representation, is built and earned not inherited,” Vanderblue stated.

This consumer-centric business model built on trust modifies the traditional assumptions of salespeople, particularly in the realm of real estate. By listening to the client, rather than forcing the sale of a property, a Realtor® creates a synergistic experience based on mutual need and interdependence “The Real Estate industry is, in my opinion, somewhat broken,” says Vanderblue. “Our goal as a team is to elevate the professionalism offered by Realtors®.”

In an effort to raise the bar of real estate standards, Vanderblue has found that educating the buyer is one of the ultimate goals. By listening and watching body language, Vanderblue agents are able to grasp more deeply what their buyers are looking for in the perfect lifestyle for their family. Sometimes that means introducing clients to other towns that might be a better fit, more affordable or closer for commuting. This means knowing exactly what each location offers and all the nuances that go with it. “We tap into the skill of all of our teammates to broaden the options of buyers and to introduce and educate them to areas of CT they may not have even considered. As a team we work together for the best interest of the client and unlike most agents, we share the financial reward.” This synergistic approach is why Vanderblue’s Team was chosen to exclusively represent www. TownAdvisor.com for all of Fairfield County. Vanderblue’s www.townvideos.com gives people a glimpse of the many choices available within Fairfield County.

When it comes to sales, the collaborative efforts from an expert, coupled with a well-rounded team cannot be underestimated. What one member lacks, another makes up for, but they all should have one thing in common: authenticity and a dedication to excellence. Vanderblue sums her mantra up beautifully: “Authenticity sells… and nothing great comes without passion.”

Vanderblue’s latest venture, the All Inclusive Real Estate (AIRE) network, directly ties into the team’s core values of education and inclusivity. The platform, which seeks to connect buyers to a network of highly reputable attorneys, property inspectors, and contractors, among others, is built entirely on the team’s years of shared research and experience. Additionally, by allowing clients to create and amend content on the site, it will only continue to augment the niche client-driven experience.

One example is the The Vanderblue Design Center, which is soon opening on the water in downtown Rowayton, CT with the help of ourboathouse.com. “It’s a wonderful waterfront community retail shop with office space that will boast a lovely nautical designer showroom and serve as a potential meeting place for architects, homeowners, sellers, investors, agents, designers, and builders.”

Additional content By Julia Pressman

The Evolution of Adaptation: A Conversation with Glenn Asher

 By: Stephanie Jones 

Real estate visionary Glenn Asher may appear to follow a host of career paths, from Executive Vice President of Business Development to Elite Event Planner to Industry Liaison. To Asher, however, he’s merely embodying all facets of a specialized professional in an ever-evolving industry.

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Asher credits his success to a nuanced understanding of adaptability within the market. In 2008, when the banking industry was floundering, he was a leading sales executive for Kensington National Land Services, a national title insurance and settlement firm, when it merged with Vanguard Title Agency to create Kensington Vanguard National Land Services. Together, their natural synergies allowed the combined companies to penetrate all aspects of the title insurance market.

“Each company had what the other was missing,” he says. “Vanguard had been very successfully focused on New York-based commercial and residential purchase work. It was a perfect combination with Kensington’s national presence in both commercial and residential refinance title insurance. It was a great merger in 2008—a case where one plus one equaled three.”

While he can’t predict every twist and drop off, Asher’s willingness to embrace a constantly fluctuating real estate market prepares him for each new conception that leads to a reinvention of his business model. “You can’t just stop growing your business,” he says.

“Learning from mistakes is also an important factor, [as well as] being able to change the way you approach situations based on your failures, and what you didn’t notice before, and [knowing] how to handle a situation. The real key is the interaction—and being able to read people.”

His knack for interpreting client behavior is the core of Asher’s successful business practices. “This is a service-based industry, [and] I’m a student of the game. I’m always learning; I’m always asking questions. Although I’m outspoken, I listen to people.” Nurturing these relationships with customers and colleagues has compelled Asher to develop himself as a uniquely specialized Event Planner. His networking event, ReVamp, allows realtors and real estate professionals face-to-face Interactions in a relaxed, conversation-driven atmosphere. “All of our lives are crazy,” he says.

“We’re running around like chickens without heads, chasing our tails, trying to make ends meet, trying to close the next deal, get the next relationship and we never mix business with pleasure; my events do just that. We’ve created localized platforms, over a four-course dinner at a nice restaurant, with a half hour of networking before [the meal], and then a three-hour segment [that consists of] networking and discussing various topics. Branded exposure for Kensington Vanguard was always a good thing for my client base which is how the events part started.”

Exposure for Kensington Vanguard is but one area of Asher’s Events Planning expertise. The concept for real estate website powerhouse PropertyShark’s Appreciation Event blossomed out of Asher’s wildly successful Million Dollar Mixer, an event that helped facilitate countless introductions between New York and Los Angeles Real Estate professionals from Bravo’s popular reality series, Million Dollar Listing. Asher considers his dedication to details the secret behind each successful industry event. “Everything is a bullet point,” he says.

“The little things are what make a large event successful. If I do an event, and I put my stamp on it, it’s my reputation. So I have complete control of the event, and, at the end of the day, people do business. And I get phone calls the following week [telling me], ‘Glenn, that was awesome.'”

Through considerable and profound changes to the real estate industry, Asher emerges with increased clarity, and wisdom of experience. His creative problem solving allows him to learn from the past and adapt for the future, and his dedication to customer service ensures his place as an enduring figure of success and professionalism.

APPRECIATING YOUR BUSINESS TEAM

By Brandon Steiner

steinerSummertime in my business means MLB’s Mid-Summer Classic: the All-Star Game. Something that has always fascinated me about it is how the players are chosen. There are no minimum statistical requirements a player has to meet. Fans, players and managers vote to determine the same number of All-Stars every season.

Think about that for a second: theoretically, the league could collectively hit .200 and set a record for total errors, strikeouts and any number of other failures, and there would be the same amount of “All-Stars” that year as any other.

That’s because the All-Star game, contrary to the purpose most of us ascribe to it, is less about celebrating the game’s best players and more about celebrating all of the players.

All-Star games are Major League Baseball’s way of taking a moment to acknowledge the human capital that fuels the entire operation, including the fans. To many, MLB mandating that every team have at least one All-Star may seem like a marketing ploy to ensure no media market is left without representation, but to me it’s good business. It’s a way of recognizing that each team is a vital cog in the behemoth that is Major League Baseball.

As business people, we know that recognition is the currency employees most crave outside of compensation. Beyond the sports field, we too should take time in the middle of our year to recognize the people who make our companies what they are and let them soak in some recognition for their hard work and success.

This isn’t happening because most CEOs — and I’m as guilty as the next — look for all the things their teams are coming up short on and magnify them, but the All-Star Game should remind us that it’s just as important to recognize all the things that those people are doing right.

Every business should make celebrating their “teams” a point of emphasis. Let people take a deep breath and feel proud of all they have accomplished. Consider handing out different awards tailored to the specific roles your employees are responsible for.

We already come close to doing this by holding company holiday parties. But that’s a fairly indirect way of saying thanks since it’s virtually mandatory for companies to host these get-togethers.

I’m talking about a celebration that has nothing to do with religion, culture or any other sweeping institution. I’m taking about a celebration that is for your employees and your employees only.

So as you watch any All-Star Game, regardless of sport, take note of how joyful the players look on the field, court or ice. Their expressions aren’t saying, “We’re proud to be the best.” They’re saying: “We’re happy to be a part of this organization.” We should strive to capture that same feeling in our employees.

Brandon Steiner is an author, philanthropist and CEO of the nation’s premiere sports memorabilia company, Steiner Sports. 

 

Living Large with Emily Smith

EMILY SMITH INVITES YOU INSIDE THE WORLD OF NEW MEDIA AND LUXURY LIVING

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CBS news has seen its share of personalities grace the NYC stage with varying degrees of popularity. The need for relatable and consistent personal branding has always been the goal among news professionals. This consistency helps the everyday audience know what to expect in relation to the actual news being delivered — almost like a primer for information.

In the ever-changing landscape of news media, a new breed of media professional has evolved, setting out to change the expectations we have toward our media personalities. In a world where people have access to stories 24/7, a broadcaster’s goal is less about delivering information, but rather guiding the viewers through the experience.

Cue Emily Smith, the fresh young star of CBS News who is Robin Leach and Murphy Brown rolled into a media trailblazer. Like many of today’s new media personalities, the ability to execute her craft on many levels creates a value that resonates with a modern audience.

She explains, “Versatility is the key. [News directors] hire people [who are] one-man bands. People are now taking their own cameras out, iphones out and shooting stories… that was unheard of here. That is considered versatility.”

Like many media industries, there is an increased value placed on alternative skill sets that can bring premium content generation with limited expenditures.  In her words, “If you can [tell] a news director ‘I can work with a cameraman, I can shoot my own stories and I also went to law school… the more hats you can wear, the more someone will want you to work for them.”

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The value to the viewership is the comfort they find when an informed guide ushers them through both hard news and alternative content. Ms. Smith brought viewers into the watery streets during Hurricane Sandy, experienced “Sully” Sullenberger’s dramatic landing on the Hudson River with the viewers, and then held their hand through tours of luxury apartments and homes as host of CBS’ Living Large.

She adds, “On a Monday or a Tuesday I can be doing anything from [covering] a fire, to a homicide, to an airplane landing on the Hudson… and then all the sudden I find myself in an 85 million dollar home on Central Park South on Thursday. So my week varies to the extreme!”

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“On a Monday or a Tues-day I can be doing any-thing from [covering] a fire, to a homicide, to an airplane landing on the Hudson… and then all the sudden I find myself in an 85 million dollar home on Central Park South on Thursday. So my week varies to the extreme!”

In a departure from the prototypical luxury lifestyle fawner, Ms. Smith is the “Deborah Norville next door” and is another example of how media personalities can now avoid being typecast. Both hard news and luxury lifestyle pieces may now flow from the same source. Dual brandings are common; just ask Ryan Serhant, Fredrik Ekland and Luis Ortiz.

In Emily Smith’s case, the fact she offers such a layered experience creates a comfort in the viewer where they feel involved, regardless of the topic. It’s a mix of translucent social media, a hard nose journalistic background and a willingness to talk with the viewer, rather than at them.

Emily explains, “Someone [tweeted me about] a story once and he was a celebrity in my mind because I’d see him every day on Twitter! It’s funny how [social media] has made the world so small that on-camera people can talk about our Twitter followers by first and last name.” She adds that social media “makes people feel included and in-touch. If they have other questions about a story or if there’s more info they need, all they have to do is ask.”

Agents can relate when promoting luxury real estate properties, often they must have the same skill-sets to gain a sellers trust and confidence. They need to be experts in social media and personal branding, have the proper business back-ground and also relate to people of every demographic.

“I want to represent the average person,” Emily says while talking about connecting with multiple audiences, “Obviously [Living Large is] a selling tool for real estate brokers. People with a LOT of money are watching, because brokers get back to me say, ‘I sold my $40 million dollar house because [a buyer] saw it on channel 2!'; So I know it works, but I want to represent the average person, because I am that person.” In reference to the title of her show, she adds, “[I’m] living medium!”

The key is having a compelling narrative for everyone; voyeurism itself is often a compelling element in and of itself. “Being invited into someone’s house with a video camera, going through it, showing how people live, people are fascinated by that. We know that from reality TV. We [also] get a chance to see how people decorate and get ideas for home improvement projects and I think some people like to escape,” she says. She goes on to explain the value the tours have in educating New Yorkers on the intricacies behind the high-end dwellings within their city.

She further explains how Living Large isn’t just a show-and-tell, offering nice houses, but it’s the one-of-a-kind element that brings editorial credibility to the pieces. That uniqueness is how the show defines luxury and exudes from each property they tour. “In NYC it’s being able to say this is the only one in the world, this is best in the world and pretty much meaning it. The only home that has panoramic views showing both sides of water (north and south), having the only staircase that can detract by the push of [a] button and turn into a slide…” It makes for compelling television.

This target marketing approach has offered unique experiences Emily talked about her tour of the apartment where the movie Ghost was filmed, “The broker had the movie on. We were watching clips of Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in that same exact apartment we were in and I wished I could share it with everybody; then I remembered I GET to share it with everybody!”

It’s that “bring the viewer with you into the experience” mentality that breeds success for cutting-edge media personalities like Emily Smith. That sense of community she has is a strong example of what new media is based on and why people like Ms. Smith have become an industry role model.

— By Ian Clintonville

You can reach Emily anytime via Twitter @ESmithTV