The path to becoming Self Employed Estate Agents in West Sussex:

It’s been less than two years since we launched Penfolds. That said, the idea to do so was born a long time ago.

We arrived at the decision to launch our own company at an incredibly exciting time in real estate. The estate agency industry is (quite rightly) facing change and disruption. We knew we could stand out as independent estate agents. In a changing world we recognised the importance of offering a service that was flexible and highly personalised, focussed on the needs of our clients. Our aim was to step away from the limitations and restrictions that traditional office hours imposed and be available at times that suited our clients.

Community Driven:

We knew we could bring the same values that small independent retailers hold dear to the real estate industry. We wanted to be out in our community, giving more time to the people entrusting us with the sale of their homes. It was vital that we listen to their stories and with the benefit of the experience we both have, interpret them to provide the most appropriate advice and guidance, so they could move on to their next chapters.

We knew the service we wanted to be known for. It is based on integral character traits that Helen and I both have. Our service was to be a reflection of the values we hold close, but the rest was more difficult!

The Birth of a Brand:

It all started with conversations around the kitchen table. We soon discovered that we had an unremarkably similar vision of how we wanted our brand to look.

Neither of us had marketing or IT backgrounds, so, we started by writing a list of the words we felt described our vision. These were some we chose; timeless, classic, edgy, feminine but not girly, boutique, lifestyle, luxury, interior design, friendly, approachable and straight-talking.

After a lot of research, we handed our baby over to a design agency to create the Penfolds brand!  Many, many conversations followed in which every area of the business was covered. Looking back, the most challenging part of setting things up were decisions we had to make regarding the IT and digital platforms to support our business. The rest was immense fun. While we waited for our agency to build our brand, we had more time to think about working together, how we would build our business and the unknowns surrounding that.

We’ve always got along well together; and love spending time with one another. We laugh a lot, so we wanted to make sure that our personal relationship was protected.  We needn’t have given this a second thought!  It quickly became evident that our individual skills made it obvious which areas of the business we would take day-to-day responsibility for. Quite early on we were interviewed by a journalist and asked to describe what it was like to work with each other.

Working with each other:

Helen on working with Becky;

“We had talked about working together for such a long time so for that to become a reality is a dream come true. We have been the best of friends forever and I couldn’t have wished to have a more committed and driven business partner who not only puts the clients first every step of the way but makes every working day full of laughter.”  – Helen, Co-Founder

Becky on working with Helen;

“Working with Helen has shown me the extensive knowledge she has of our industry and her strong sense of purpose and determination for our business to succeed. I couldn’t think of a more perfect business partner, but of course, we’ve been partners since the day she was born!” – Becky, Co-founder.

Finally, the call came for us to meet with the design agency. All the hard work involved in the setting up of the practical aspects of running an estate agency faded into the background. ‘We’ literally came alive on the designer’s screen. It was everything we could have hoped for. Colours we had not even thought about, now appeared to be perfect in their representation of us. Penfolds was born!

With an extremely low marketing budget and with our core mission in mind, to begin conversations with people, we joined as many business networking groups as we could. These were invaluable but our immediate, local area where we wanted our business to grow from, had none. So, recognising their value, we started one.  From a small group of four we grew to thirty-five local businesses meeting for breakfast once a fortnight in the local pub to build relationships in order that we felt confident in recommending and referring each other.  We also walked miles delivering leaflets and this resulted in those wished for conversations over garden fences!

Living the Dream:

It hasn’t always been easy. That said, we come from a family where we know that good things are worth waiting for. In the first eighteen months, we’ve faced serious challenges. The uncertainty of Brexit, an election and now the awful COVID-19 pandemic.

But the months have flown by and we are different people for everything we’ve learned. We have shaped our lives (and those of our clients) in so many positive ways. Our only regret is that we didn’t do this years ago!

Our hunger to ensure that Penfolds is successful is tangible. Clients have described this as one of the reasons, they do business with us. We cannot hide behind basic salaries being paid by an employer. From a business perspective, there is no better focus than knowing that you will only be rewarded by your own efforts.

This testimonial, received from our first client, describes the service we set out to provide and our google reviews are now building and continue to reflect all that we wanted to do.

“It was a pleasure and a privilege to be the first house on Penfold’s books. Both Becky and Helen have a wealth of experience in estate agency which shines through in all their dealings.
They are delightful people and highly professional, combining positivity, realism and a sense of humour.
The customer service they provide is excellent – easy to get hold of, prompt and helpful communications and we were particularly impressed with the regular updates we received even if there was no news.
We felt we were in very capable hands and were receiving the best advise on pricing and the state of the market (in difficult times with Brexit uncertainty!) throughout the process.
An example of the service extended we received extended to both Becky and Helen meeting us at the house on completion to facilitate the hand-over.

We remain committed to our families, friends and clients. Our priority at the moment is to keep those around us protected, safe and well. We look forward to, and are planning, for better times before too long.

I recently heard someone on the radio say something that resonated with our story. “Working hard for something you don’t enjoy is stress but working hard for something you love is passion”

Helen and I have found our passion. We hope the path we chose will help you.

You can talk to us anytime.

01403 289414