Having recently celebrated four years of being in business together, we thought you might like to know a bit more about us, and what we think makes NVP unique, as told to a colleague…
You’ve worked together for fifteen years, at first in a corporate environment and next in an entrepreneurial capacity. How has your relationship evolved in that time?
Patrick: Well, first of all I think we are great mates and that’s why this has worked. It means we support each other and allow the other to be fully themselves. I’ve enjoyed seeing Nic evolve into who he is today, he’s changed a huge amount in fifteen years and it’s fun to support people through growth and change.
Nic: It’s always worked because, although we are similar in many ways, our working styles are very different, and we play to each other’s strengths. Patrick is very outwardly focused, he has market information on-tap, endless anecdotes, and some of the best intel in the industry. Whereas I know what’s going on in the business and focus more on our own structures and partnerships. That polarity works well.
Patrick: That’s right. For me it’s been a free flowing experience, very day to day, whereas Nic is more strategic, he thinks long-term and plans for the future.
Nic: Yes, that feels accurate to me, I hold the vision for the company and ensure that the commercial infrastructure is robust enough to cope with that vision. Another way of saying I’m more structured and controlling! It’s been an adventure for both of us – a constantly evolving, learning journey.
How was it making the move out of a larger business and setting up on your own?
Nic: We spoke about it for a long time when we worked at Douglas & Gordon, then one day I met an investor and, shortly after the conversation, we got serious. As soon as we realized we could do this where we wanted to, on our home turf in Knightsbridge, we didn’t bat an eyelid. A year later we opened our first premises on Montpelier St.
Patrick: We were top performers at our former employers and we always knew that we could sell houses, and lots of them, near the top of the market. I let Nic lay the foundations and he still does the same. I’m either on the phone or doing viewings, it’s all about deals for me. Nic is the business builder.
You speak five languages between you, how does this support the business?
Patrick: I’m Spanish and Nic is Italian/Austrian and that means we have good southern European banter, not just with the European crowd but also with the Middle East and South America. I also grew up in Knightsbridge which is a very cosmopolitan area containing a huge diversity of cultures. It gives me a root connection to long-term home owners and investors in this area. Knightsbridge is home to many great business people and, like us, they focus on quality relationships rather than clicks and websites. This means we riff with the local community on a daily basis, in nearby places like Abd El Wahab, Maroush and also Carpo for coffee, and that supports our sales funnel as much as anything else!
Nic: Agreed, maybe it supports us somewhat less than it did before Brexit, when more Europeans were buying in London, but I think that will come back. More broadly though, as Patrick says, I think our Mediterranean roots give us a great sense of elasticity in terms of relating to our customer base. I grew up in South America and Italy, and now London is my home, so it’s all the same to me.
What are the core strengths of the business?
Nic: We are specialists in this areas and our local knowledge is second to none. People all over the neighborhood refer to us for advice whether or not they are buying or selling and that gives us a certain position in the market that is human, visible and real. People appreciate that these days, when so much happens online. The preservation of traditional values is important to us.
Patrick: I agree, and I would add that we really love what we do – which is maybe because of what Nic said. We have so much human and social contact, and relationships are important to us. Because of that we don’t feel like we are coming to work, we laugh a lot and we gel as a team. I think, too, that the recent investments we have made in buying another business and moving to our new premises, have upgraded the NVP brand further towards the top of the market.
What does the future hold for you?
Nic: First of all, along with everyone else, we need to wait and see what happens in the geo-political situation. We’ve grown a lot in five years, throughout some very uncertain times, and we are now in a strong position having strategically laid the foundations through our merger. We may continue to make similar moves, and perhaps acquire other rental books as the opportunity arises, as we have the infrastructure to accommodate this. We will also diversify by increasing our depth of knowledge and reach in and around the Knightsbridge area and the rest of the Royal Borough.
Patrick: We’ve established the vessel we wanted and I can see us continuing in this vein for twenty years, if not more, and bringing in the next generation of people who will run the business when we eventually step back. It’s exciting being in a business with no glass ceiling, and trading in a neighborhood that supports the realization of that potential. I know I speak for both us in saying there’s nowhere else we’d rather be.