We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney Poulos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started ACME Real Estate in 2011 to allow myself and a select group of innovative agents to challenge the conventional real estate brokerage model – I created a company that was able to truly put clients first. Most brokerages train their agents to be dependent, as if they cannot exist without the marketing and branding prescribed by the brokerage firm. In our model, I liberated myself and our ACME agents to think outside the box, to put their branded renovation artists’ logos on the yard signs, to create a wholistic and lifestyle approach to the homeownership process which appeals to buyers with a higher design aesthetic. We coach our sellers on how to create exactly the type of home that buyers WANT – no more crappy flips! We intentionally elevated the presentation, and we have spent a decade curating our marketing both online and traditional to hit the exact buying demographic for the types of homes our sellers are selling. What we created has met and exceeded my initial expectations. Since we are boutique and independent, we can adjust nimbly to changing market conditions and the demands of our clients. We are a stealthy bunch, and I’m the rebel at the front of our pack.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
ACME Real Estate is a boutique brokerage for the design-savvy buyer or seller. We offer a customized approach, free from the burdens of big corporate oversight, nimble representation that allows us to think outside the box with creative and inventive marketing, bright, brilliant and modern imagery and graphics, strategic SEO and social media promotion, and most of all, an old school approach to long-term customer relationships which are based on integrity and ethics. We approach real estate as a lifestyle, integrating street wear, home fragrance, ACME water, and recently have partnered with the notable brand Heretic to create a Heretic x ACME candle. It’s a vibe! This year, we opened our second office in West Adams, headed up by two powerhouse broker associates, Dominique Madden and Silke Fernald. When we talk about breaking glass ceilings, it’s a definite priority for ACME to represent! We have a strong, diverse team and we are proud to grow with a focus and commitment to inclusivity both in leadership and team growth. On a personal note, in 2018 I released my first book, “Break Up! With Your Rental: The Professional Woman’s Guide to Building Wealth Through Real Estate” to break down myths about home ownership and investment, and encourage women to change the way they think about real estate as a wealth building mechanism. I love to engage women in the conversation of financial independence early on in their careers, whether they want to invest, buy to inhabit, or flip. It’s a truly effective way of building confidence and freedom, especially for professional women living in big cities who have student loan debt to pay off right out of college and feel like home ownership is out of reach. There is a path forward! I’ve learned so many lessons along the way – one is that the most critical part of our business is service, and for me professionally, that means contributing to the growth of ACME agents through intensive training, and for my clients, it means going the extra mile to make their sale successful, talking them out of self-sabotaging habits, alleviating fears, and meeting and exceeding expectations. I’m known for being a straight-shooter, and I can say this, the agents that have really absorbed and adopted the coaching have truly succeeded, and I’m very proud of the contributions I have made to their success. I’m proud of our team and who we are. I’m also truly honored to serve the agents that have made the choice to stay and grow with us.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was visiting, let’s assume there is no COVID? I would start with dinner at Laurel Canyon’s favorite Italian restaurant Pace, intimately tucked below the Laurel Canyon Country Store, a quirky little market hangout that embraces a rock’n’roll history and community vibration a la the 60’s and 70’s. From there, we have to head to a rooftop bar, perhaps the 1 Hotel in West Hollywood? Or enjoy the sexy bartenders who mix fancy drinks at the Sunset Tower restaurant in West Hollywood. For sure we have to take a little road trip down Sunset the following day to the beaches of Malibu, breakfast at the Malibu pier is a must. Take in some sun, visit the Malibu Country Mart for some delicious ice cream and boutique shopping, and head back through Topanga Canyon for a dinner at the Inn of the Seventh Ray. The Inn of the Seventh Ray is a twinkle-lit restaurant which organizes its food by vibe, and offers a unique ambiance (it’s built into the side of a hill). Heading back to Hollywood, would my friend want to see the Hollywood sign? I suppose it’s a must! But the real fun is to catch a show at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Franklin Village. Perhaps a trip to the Griffith Park Observatory is in order? We would be so close by. The next day we would have to do the hike up Runyon Canyon and bring the dogs. You can tell my sensibilities are classic – I’ve been in LA for 21 years and I definitely love to hit the places that offer a repeatably good experience.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Yes! I would like to give a shout out to the fierce lionesses of the WomanUp! community. Sara Sutachan and Debra Trappen, co-founders of the WomanUp! Initiative identified that in the state of California, women account for over 60% of real estate licensees, but are outnumbered in leadership and executive positions in our industry. A few years ago, they created WomanUp! with the ambition of bringing powerful, innovative and intelligent women in real estate together to identify, develop and connect. WomanUp! has been a critical network for me – not only have I met lifetime friends, thinkers, and powerhouses, but I leave every single yearly event with a desire to play on a bigger stage, to make more changes, to empower more women, and to narrow the leadership gap. Thank you, Sara and Debra and the WomanUp! tribe!
Photos by Sam Wadieh @shotbywadz Real estate shots by @neuefocus