Behind The Scenes: Capturing the lifestyle of the prospective buyer

We catch up with Gabriele back at the Compass office. Gabriele walks in and heads over to the front desk to get an update. While she catches up who should walk in but founder and CEO of Compass, Robert Reffkin. The community at Compass is close-knit; everyone knows everyone’s name, even the CEO. Robert and Gabriele talk for a while about topics ranging from her current projects to how her kids are doing. With the pleasantries aside, Gabriele and Robert part ways. She needs to focus on the deadline for the next project — a Compass advertisement in Edible Brooklyn.


Let us rewind a bit back to when Gabriele was picking out flowers and accessories for the penthouse at the farmer’s market. In addition to these purchases, she was also shopping for the upcoming Compass ad in Edible Brooklyn. In Gabriele’s business, she always needs to think ten steps down the road. The emphasis of this next project is to create a more personal advertisement. Her goal is to portray the lifestyle of the perspective buyer. Thus, Gabriele is on the hunt for items to make the apartment look more like a home than a stock photo. A fresh loaf of homemade bread, a couple of wedges of artisanal cheese, and a few jars of jam later Gabriele has the beginning of a lovely, summer afternoon snack. Toss in a few bright yellow sunflowers for the table (and a nice potted orchid for her desk at the office), and her arrangement is complete.


Gabriele arrives at the apartment a couple days later ready to shoot the room for the ad. To her surprise the room she is using, the dining room and connecting kitchen are in disarray. The current owners are still in the process of relocating so their belongings spread all over. Artwork that used to hang on the walls now lay-up below the windows on the far side of the room, construction materials clutter in the corner for the workers to fix up the space before the sale, and forgotten Christmas lights sway lonesome from the window trim — this place is in serious need of some reorganizing. Cue Gabriele. Once again, she gets straight to work with her staging magic. Before you know it, the room is spotless and ready for its close-up.


Satisfied with the overall look of the room, Gabriele turns her attention to setting the scene. “My idea is to turn this dining room and kitchen into how I picture a perfect late evening of hors d’œurves with a significant other.” So Gabriele pops open the homemade jam, unwraps some brie cheese, and slices up the fresh bread from the market she picked up days before. She dips a spoon into the jam and has a little taste, “Umm, this is so good. I wish I was sitting at this table enjoying this meal”. After decanting a glass of wine and spreading around a few walnuts, the table is set. Gabriele stands back and admires the look of the room. The doorbell rings, “Perfect, everyone’s here”.


The photographer, the assistants, and the models walk in and the subtle beauty of the room washes over them. The gear is unpacked and set up while the models comfortably position themselves at the table — as if they were sitting down to enjoy the nice spread laid out in front of them. Gabriele sneaks a peek at the shot on a tablet. At this point Gabriele has a moment to relax as everything she has worked for comes together. The photographer instructs the models on how to pose. The assistants use diffusers and reflectors to perfect the lighting.


As the shots start clicking away, Gabriele is nearby to give her approval. She is involved in as much of the process as she can possibly be. After changing poses and the arrangement a couple of times, everyone is happy with the outcome and they stop for the day, but not before consuming the wonderful display of fruit, bread, and cheese.


Flashback to the day at the office. Gabriele talks with one of the graphic designers and the one working with her on the Edible Brooklyn ad. She discusses with him how the advertisement spread is coming along. The graphic designer suggests she come look at it at his desk. As the conversation moves to his desk, you start to realize why Compass has developed into a big player in the real estate market. Everyone here focuses on bringing a more personal experience to the client, and that begins with the office community. From all the way at the top with Robert Reffkin, to people like Andrew behind every graphic headed out to the public, down to the core of the business with brokers such as Gabriele Compass is more than a real estate company, it is a family. Moreover, when you work with them you become an extension of that family.

At Andrew’s desk, he and Gabriele decide on the final look. Gabriele smiles and lets Andrew continue his work. Gabriele, already thinking ahead, heads to her desk to prepare materials for a big broker showing at a new building in Park Slope at the end of the month.



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