Many readers may not realise it but Purplebricks’ big push to recruit the management team and local experts for its US business across seven states was spearheaded by an estate agent from the North West of England.
Stephanie Walker recently returned from the US following the demise of Purplebricks over the pond, and has set up a recruitment agency, Grace & Candour, based in Liverpool.
She says the business is unique because it offers a traditional candidate search service for agents but also a free careers advice consultancy to candidates. Walker was based in California for two years with Purplebricks but before that was boss of its UK customer support operation and, prior to that, launched its first territory in Liverpool.
The 31-year-old says she worked closely with the Bruce brothers during the initial years and misses the excitement of the early start-up period.
“I remember Kenny Bruce telling me that Purplebricks was going to become the largest estate agent in the UK, and it’s made massive strides towards that,” she says.
Between 2003 and 2015, the year she joined Purplebricks, Walker worked for several estate agents in Liverpool including a three-year spell as a branch manager for Countrywide, and also as an area manager for another firm.
“Back in the early 2010s I was wondering what to do next and it was a chance encounter on LinkedIn that led to my change of direction career-wise into Purplebricks”, she says.
“It’s like that for agents out there now, many of whom are probably wondering what the future holds, and so my idea behind Grace & Candour is that I can be that go between talking to agents – whether they are high street or hybrid – and give them advice on where their next step might be wherever they are in their career, rather than waiting for that chance message to come through.”
Walker believes the UK industry is changing fast and that the days of agents sitting behind their desks waiting for business to come their way are disappearing fast – and that it could increasingly become like the US where it’s much more about the agent and their local knowledge.