I come from a family of high achievers. From scholars to musical prodigies and Olympic athletes, my environment confirmed my belief that anything is possible as long as you were willing to educate yourself ,work for it and remain in a spirit of gratitude. I was groomed from a young age to have a career in medicine, but much to my parent’s surprise, I headed straight towards the world of fashion and New York City.
I was schooled at NYU and Parsons School of Design. By the age of 21, (while still attending University) I was offered a position as an assistant to a former Vice President of Cushman and Wakefield, Inc. (a leading Commercial firm) who brokered such landmark buildings such as Rockefeller Center, etc. The seeds of real estate had been sown, but would take some time to germinate.
By 22, I was swept up to apprentice and worked under the tutelage of the designer/retailer; Eileen Fisher. I was immersed head long into all aspects of marketing, design, public relations, clothing design, in store design, and management. It was an amazing time in my life but by 26 I felt a need to get out of the hustle and bustle of New York and so settled on a little Island called Sanibel/Captiva. Not wanting to lose my ties to New York, I kept an apartment in the city and opened the first out of town Eileen Fisher Inc. store on Sanibel Island. My little island store became a central place on the Island: a gathering point for locals and visitors alike. Of course, unable to slow down, it seemed a natural step for me to open a 3.5-4 star gourmet restaurant right next door to the store. This was the perfect marriage, running a restaurant of high caliber alongside my high end designer retail boutique.
Eileen Fisher Inc. became a huge success, in fact when I started with her, we were grossing just about one million per annum. When I left in 2000, annual sales exceeded 750 million dollars. The hands on experiences of starting with such a young company helped to mold me into the business minded woman I am today and the experiences were invaluable.
Life has a way of changing course, with my third child on the way, I wanted a more day to day life with my children. Thus, I found my way to Honolulu followed by Mauiwhere I gave birth to my youngest and fourth child. In addition to raising children, my work ethic and self motivations run very deep and thus I started to work from home. I started an interior design/upholstery company and worked for Hotels (Four Seasons and The Westin to name a few) and private clientele. In the meantime I invested in real estate (my family had invested heavily in the Asian real estate market) and when I could not get the kind of service I was looking for, I got my real estate license and sold our commercial building and other properties we owned.
Real estate takes an ever evolving understanding of economics, law, taxes, marketing, psychology, negotiating skills, design, internet technology, and great customer service! I felt this was a field I could integrate all my interests. I have not looked back ever since.
My first years in real estate were to work under a Top Realtor on Maui. I felt like I wanted to “apprentice” under a top agent and thus get the best training available. Under my Brokers guidance I quickly became the Maui representative for Christie’s Great Estates. They are part of the Christie’s Auction house in New York Cityand represent the finest properties in the world! WOW! This was invaluable experience working directly under their team.
Through Christie’s Great Estates and working directly under their vice president I got an incredible opportunity to understand how the most luxurious properties in the world got marketed. This was invaluable insight and knowledge!
I have put together a guide called Maui Real Estate~A Reference Guide. This is a great tool for buyers. It is free for my clients.
I have been honored by being voted onto the Board of Directors of Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation. With this position I will be doing my best to support the only MAJOR Hospital on Maui. My efforts along with the board will help ensure Maui Memorial Medical Center to realize it’s mission to become a Top NotchInnovative Hospital and to attract the world’s leading doctors to our Island of Maui. May I say the hospital is well on its way! Along with the impeccable efforts in health care, energy sustainability, agriculture, higher education, industry, tourism, and cultural preservation-Maui will continue to thrive!
I am dedicated to consistently being a part of ensuring and improving our quality of life here on Maui. This in return will inherently support your property values. Please know that I am working not only very hard as your Realtor but putting my best efforts to preserve the reasons why you and or another buyer may chose to be a part of the Maui community!
With much aloha,
Jeannie Kong, Realtor (S)