Forbesby Chelsea Davis
March 7, 2022
What do you get when you bring together two real estate entrepreneurs both with an unparallelled passion for fashion, art, design and lifestyle? A company that is reimagining what buying and selling luxury real estate looks like. Enter FIFTH X BOND, a company whose goal is to disrupt the traditional approach to selling beautifully designed homes with a focus on lifestyle and design.
FIFTH X BOND is Nest Seekers International’s (the world's leading International boutique Real Estate Brokerage), newest luxury real estate group founded by real estate experts, born-and-raised New Yorker Jaime Richchi and London-born Peter Kirwan. Both Richchi and Kirwan both come from high fashion and design backgrounds, having met while working at the global fashion house of HUGO BOSS over six years ago.
This brand celebrates their friendship and is the product of both parties’ desire to build something unique and special within the saturated real estate industry.
“When building this brand we wanted to build something that felt unwaveringly authentic to us – brand, design, fashion and art are at the epicenter of our lives as individuals and we were unwilling to compromise on aesthetic and authenticity,” explains Richchi. “Real estate is about selling a lifestyle and it was important to us that we looked at building a brand from a full 360 customer first approach.”
“FIFTH X BOND is different from other real estate groups not only because of our hyper focus on connecting NYC to London, but also because of Peter and my passion for putting our clients above all else,” she continues. “We are not a team that is here to take on listings for the sake of having a large listing portfolio. Our focus is solely on listing well designed homes. We are in this business because of our love of beautiful homes and our love of helping people achieve their goals.”
As a duo who is hyper connected in the industry, having access to a vast network of private off-market listings, and moreover one that prides itself on being NYC and London's most aspirational real estate agency meets lifestyle brand, making meaningful connections via power lunches is key to a happy clientele, many of which are tastemakers in their own right.
We chatted with Jaime Richichi and Peter Kirwan on their favorite power lunch spots, tips on hosting fruitful meetings over meals and more. Here’s what they had to say!
What was the catalyst in you deciding to launch this company? What are some of your short and long term goals?
Richichi: Having been in this business for some time now and really observing the different ways that other agents sell, I always felt like I was expected to fit a certain mold – like to be sending out shinny mailers or randomly cold calling a potential listing. But that is not me. I have never done well with being put into a box – my personal brand, design, relationships and quality matter to me, but most importantly being authentically myself above all else. And I just could not bring myself to follow that “expected” path.
Coming from my background in global fashion, I felt like there was a missed opportunity to how real estate is sold and an opportunity to merge those worlds together. We are selling a lifestyle and we need to embody that lifestyle – the only way to do that is to be unwaveringly authentic to yourself.
Short term, we are focused on building a strong foundation centered around a beautifully designed brand that is authentic to us. Long term, we aim to be known as innovators in the real estate industry who take great pride in our work and relationships with our clients.
A brand who is unwavering in operating at the highest level of integrity while helping our clients achieve their goals. We aim to be the most trusted and connected group in the industry while working for the greatest boutique global luxury brokerage, Nest Seekers International.
What are your favorite cuisines? What are some of the things you look for in a restaurant before going?
Richichi: This one will feel boring for some of you!…I am a vegetarian but, contrary to popular belief, vegetarians can eat in any restaurant! I love Thai and authentic Italian. I love a good hole in the wall, with a great vibe, high quality authentic food, that the average person does not know about.
Kirwan: I love Japanese Food! Similar to property I look again for the unexpected in a restaurant which often equals “hard to get into”! One of my favorite restaurants is Bohemian. It’s a secret Japanese restaurant located behind a butcher’s shop on Great Jones Street, BUT don’t try and book it. You have to be referred by a previous patron so if you're reading this and we end up working together we can celebrate together! Dinner on us!
What makes a power lunch a power lunch?
Richichi: Walking away having made an impression and a lasting connection. Building and maintaining quality relationships is highly important to me. I am not a transactional person and really look to leave every situation having the other side feel that intent, even if it means that we do not make a deal immediately.
Real Estate, as life, is a long game and I do not believe in being short sided. Patience is my superpower and I will always take a more meaningful approach, even if it means not having the instant win – the bigger win usually takes a bit more time and courage, but is always worth it.
Kirwan: A power lunch is coming away from the lunch confident that you have made all the points that were running through your head on the way to the lunch. Naturally have a bit of small talk at the start of the lunch but get to the point quickly and then spend the rest of the lunch just enjoying the fact that we can have face to face contact again! The key is Don’t leave with any regrets or leave it too late so your trying to get points across whilst waiting for an UBER.
Le Bilboquet interiors
What are your favorite spots in New York City/ London to wine and dine clientele?
Richichi: Uptown I like Avra, Le Bilboquet, and Polo Bar. Avra has a killer lunch menu, although you will walk away so full you need a nap! And Downtown I like Soho House, Nobu, and Sant Ambroeus.
Kirwan: The Bowery Meat Company. The mood and atmosphere is incredible. Bohemian on Great Jones Street! Amazing Location/ Hard to get a reservation and was home to Andy Warhol! The Wagyu Maki Rolls are sensational. My final choice is Dishoom in Shoreditch, London! It’s a hot neighborhood but I am slightly biased as I invested personally into Shoreditch before Gucci and Soho House found out about it. The House Black Daal is an absolute Must!
The Bowery Meat Company
THE BOWERY MEAT COMPANY
How important is the power lunch to making deals and what are your top 3 tips on making a successful one?
The power lunch is beneficial in certain circumstances – it depends on your audience.
- Get to know your client, especially if you are just meeting them - be sure you walk away knowing who they are and what is important to them – not only as for their property needs but also as a person. Never underestimate the power of taking a human connection approach.
- Book a restaurant that you have been to before, where you are confident in the atmosphere and quality of service.
- Be respectful and authentic, even if you do not get the result that you want. No one wants to deal with assholes these days!
Fresh sushi with white wine at business lunch.
- Think about the client and the purpose of the meeting. If you are meeting a client to focus on a Property listing or meeting with a developer to focus on a particular development, pick a restaurant that demonstrates that you understand the client's taste and vibe and that’s why they should work with you. Be the expert in that neighborhood.
- If you are the one arranging the lunch make sure it’s not your first time at the restaurant. Think about the best table that will offer you privacy or maybe not depending on the client. The last thing you want is a table squeezed in between two other tables.
- Lastly, have knowledge of the hot restaurants all over the City so you can show how connected you are with different neighborhoods. When you're listing a property you’re not just listing the apartment you are showing clients how their lives will translate in that neighborhood. This is super important to me and a big focus of FIFTH X BOND.
How do you think NYC has been managing during the pandemic? How are restaurants becoming a vital space for you guys to conduct leisurely business in?
Richichi: As an innovator and entrepreneur, I have to say I have loved watching how restaurants and small businesses have found creative ways to maintain their business. In the early days of the pandemic watching restaurants turn their spaces into to-go shops and converting to groceries and essentials I found to be so inspiring.
In most cities, these places would have just closed down and settled for losing, but in NY we never stay down and it is the grittiness and resilience of this city that inspires me every day. Having restaurants open again has been such a blessing not only to these businesses but for us to be able to connect with our clients on a more personal level. It has also been wonderful to be able to host our International clients so they can really feel the heartbeat of NYC.
Street in Chelsea district
Kirwan: I actually think the pandemic has forced NYC to reimagine itself and how the city uses space. Al Fresco dining is a major part of European life and it’s been great to see the city adapting to a new way of living. Neighborhoods like Greenwich and Chelsea look more like a scene from a major European City than the NYC I moved to 6 years ago.
My personal hope is that the city can keep moving forward. We are seeing a major rebound in domestic clients returning back to the City and my hope is that when my international friends and family start returning they will see a totally different NYC. My in-laws are in town in three weeks’ time and can’t wait to sit outside and show them the “New” New York.