There’s No Shortage of Real Estate Agents
In fact, it’s one industry where there’s a surplus of people looking for jobs.
Here are today’s highlights:
The market for luxury watches in Boston was just fine last year.
As omicron spreads in China, another supply-chain crunch looms.
After the death of her husband, a South Jersey barbecue queen carries on.
Where’d all those employees go? They became real estate agents: “From burned-out health care workers to parents looking for flexible careers during remote schooling to laid-off sales executives taking their skills to cash in on a booming market, real estate has drawn an abundance of workers while nearly every other industry has struggled with hiring. In 2021, there were a record number of real estate agents in the United States, according to the National Association of Realtors. More than 156,000 people joined their ranks in 2021 and 2020 combined — nearly 60 percent more than did in the two years prior.”
“‘There’s almost a surplus of people coming to real estate,’ said Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the Realtors’ association. ‘What’s amazing is we keep hitting new high after new high.’”
“According to Google search trends, the top job-related search between January 2021 and January 2022 was, ‘how to become a real estate agent.’”
“Mr. Johnson, who shifted to academia after 12 years as an agent himself, estimates that as few as one in 10 agents survive long enough to make a full-time living selling homes.” READ MORE
Founded by Albert Ganjei, European Watch Company, a Newbury Street retailer in Boston, says its revenue nearly doubled last year to $87 million: “Virtually everything at EWC is pre-owned. During a recent visit, about 140 vintage Rolexes were on hand, as well as dozens of watches from other elite firms, such as Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin. The great majority of sales involve trade-ins. A customer might swap five $10,000 Rolexes plus $50,000 in cash for a single $100,000 Patek Philippe, an even more exalted brand ...”
“Ganjei’s staff of 23 includes three professional photographers whose only job is to take pictures of watches for display on the EWC website and iPhone app.”
“There’s also a crew that painstakingly cleans and refurbishes old watches, including a master watchmaker who dismantles them — some with over 400 tiny parts — for cleaning and repairs.”
“In the past six months, EWC has sold five watches priced at over a million, all of them F.P. Journes or Patek Philippes.” READ MORE
As China places tech hub Shenzhen under lockdown, another supply-chain crunch looms: “All bus and subway systems in the city were shut, and businesses, except those providing essential services, have been closed. Employees were told to work from home if they can. Residents will be barred from leaving the city -- home to the headquarters of tech giants Huawei Technologies and Tencent Holdings, as well as one of China’s busiest ports—except in limited situations. Shenzhen Yantian Port remains operational, though with tighter Covid controls.”
“Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry, known as Foxconn, said it was halting operations at its Shenzhen sites, one of which makes iPhones.”
“The company, which has its China HQ in the city, didn’t specify the length of the shutdown, though said it would reallocate production to other plants in the country.” READ MORE
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL LIFE
Are you sure you’re ready to do what it takes to build a business?
A South Jersey Barbecue Queen carries on the legacy: “Ruthie Henri walked from her kitchen into the smoke-scented dining room of Henri’s Hotts Barbeque and greeted a familiar customer with a gentle smile, a somber shake of her head, and then an embrace. And then she hugged another customer. And another. ‘I’m trying to be out here more because I’m usually in the back,’ said Ruthie, pausing at our table to say hello. ‘A lot of people still don’t know me.’ The introduction may seem unnecessary considering she co-founded this restaurant 14 years ago. But Ruthie has been pushing herself to be a more visible part of the always warm hospitality here since her husband, Doug Henri, the renowned pit master and namesake of this beloved South Jersey roadhouse, died from Covid-19 in December at 66.”
“‘We spent our lives here. We slept here. And Doug and I were such an incredible team. We rarely had arguments. I did the kitchen and the food and sides, and he was outside with the smoker.’”
“‘Keeping the restaurant open has been the best thing for me because I was going nuts. It’s helped me because I’m able to reach out to people. I can help people.’” READ MORE
Will NFTs work as part of a brand loyalty program and as an alternative to Facebook and Instagram? “It would probably be a stretch to say that Ty Haney changed the way we work out. She didn’t start a boutique fitness craze; she’s not Jane Fonda. But Outdoor Voices, the athleisure company she founded in 2014, helped to popularize a fitness paradigm that has more to do with everyday movement than the body-stressing athleticism advertised by brands like Nike. Outdoor Voices built a following with color-blocked compression leggings and all-in-one exercise dresses that could easily transition from gym to brunch.”
“Her latest venture, a platform called Try Your Best, will enable brands to collect input from customers in exchange for rewards such as digital collectibles (NFTs) and brand coins that can be used for bragging rights or toward purchases.”
“These are assets, Ms. Haney said, that could potentially have lasting value, as opposed to the one-time discount codes and fleeting perks most companies offer loyalists.”
“‘One thing with Gen Z is they want to be rewarded for their input and advice,’ Ms. Lewis said. ‘This is not a generation who is willing to do things just for the heck of it.’”
“Ms. Haney said that her start-up is arriving at a time when the traditional direct-to-consumer model — which has built businesses like Warby Parker, Everlane and Glossier — is ‘broken’ after years of over-reliance on social marketing.”
“Try Your Best aims to streamline that process, and to route marketing dollars away from Facebook and Instagram, where Ms. Haney said that soaring costs have made it harder for emerging brands to grow.” READ MORE
Uber is raising rates with a fuel surcharge: “The extra fee goes into effect on March 16. Based on location, the surcharge for an Uber trip is either 45 cents or 55 cents; for an Uber Eats order, it's either 35 cents or 45 cents. The adjustment comes as gas prices have skyrocketed in recent days thanks to oil market disruptions in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. banned imports of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal this week, which could send prices at the pump up even further.”
“According to the company, 100 percent of the surcharge will go directly to workers.”
“The surcharges are expected to last through at least the next 60 days, at which point Uber will reassess whether to keep them in place or not.” READ MORE
THE RUSSIAN INVASION
American consumers are boycotting products they assume are made by Russian businesses: “The problem with that logic is that Americans consume hardly any products that are truly Russian. That goes for vodka — and oil, too. Russian oil makes up 3 percent of what Americans consume on a daily basis. This mistaken impression has led people to punish businesses that are really Russian in name only.”
“The vodka most commonly but incorrectly associated with Russia, Stolichnaya, has again borne the brunt of the online calls for a boycott.”
“It has been produced in Latvia since 2002, and the headquarters of its parent company, the Stoli Group, are in Luxembourg.”
“Last week, the company formally rebranded its signature spirit as just Stoli after bar owners from Vermont to Michigan to Iowa declared they would no longer serve it and shared video of themselves dumping bottles of it down the drain.” READ MORE
Russian journalists are setting up media hubs in exile: “The media clampdown in Russia that followed the invasion of Ukraine has decimated a journalism community already ground to near extinction by years of oppression. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said at least 150 of Russia’s few remaining independent reporters and editors have left since tanks rolled into Ukraine, plunging Russia into what the group called an ‘information dark age.’ Now — in Lithuania, Latvia, Georgia and other former Soviet states where Russian remains a common language — they are scrambling to set up newsrooms in exile, determined to continue the hazardous mission of speaking truth to authoritarianism.”
“‘The logistics are hard,’ Jurkonis said. ‘But they need to go do their work and not lose their audience. That’s what the Kremlin wants, to separate these critical journalists from their audience.’”
“‘I don’t think the journalists should concentrate in any one country,’ Jurkonis said. ‘It will make them easy targets for Russian operatives.’” READ MORE
An excerpt from a new book examines the troubled life of Zappos founder Tony Hsieh: “The publication of Mr. Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, represented a turning point for Mr. Hsieh, who quickly transformed into a workplace-happiness guru. Soon, thousands of business leaders, government officials and Wall Street analysts would flock to Zappos’s downtown Las Vegas headquarters each year to take tours of its fun-filled offices and learn from Mr. Hsieh. But behind his meteoric success, Mr. Hsieh had for years struggled privately. He suffered from severe social anxiety and face blindness, a condition that made it hard for him to recognize even his closest friends, according to people who were close to him and court filings. He told friends he believed himself to be on the autism spectrum. He abused alcohol, they said—first vodka and then the Italian liqueur Fernet Branca.”
“By 2013, Mr. Hsieh had embarked on an ambitious development of downtown Las Vegas, and planned to turn the area—far from the city’s well-known strip of casinos—into a second Silicon Valley.”
“The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 worsened his problems as he was isolated from his many close friends.”
“He had abandoned his longtime home of Las Vegas to move to Park City, Utah, and wanted to attract intellectuals and artists with outsize salaries—double what some made previously—to create a sort of utopia.”
“The singer [Jewel], according to people familiar with the conversation, told the security official: ‘If he kills himself and everyone else in there from a huge fire, you can’t say you weren’t warned.’” READ MORE
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
We Tried That Brand Thing. It Didn't Work: This week, Shawn Busse, Paul Downs, and Jay Goltz talk about the tendency of many businesses to obsess about their logo, their website, and the need to drive more leads. To which Shawn suggests concentrating first on customer experience. And Jay agrees: “It's better business,” he says, “to make your customers happier than to keep trying to find new customers.” But Paul has his doubts: “You can have your internal house in order, as I do,” he says. “And you can have a great website, as I do. But it's not driving new business to us at the moment.”
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If you see a story that business owners should know about, hit reply and send me the link. If you got something out of this email, you can click the heart symbol, you can click the comment icon below, and you can share it with a friend. Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren