Because Bon Jour needed to have office space in the middle of the financial district, buying office space was not an option. The couple had always dabbled in real estate investments—her brother-in-law is a developer—and when she was at the end of her tether with the fashion industry in 2000, it was Eli who suggested she go into real estate.
“He’s the one who inspired me and thought I’d be good,” she recalled. “I thought, ‘I don’t know, I’ve never sold anything.’”
She joined Winoker in 2001, a week before 9/11 (she witnessed the events unfold while attending a broker’s breakfast at 1450 Broadway).
Working as a “lowly sales associate” was a tough adjustment for Ms. Dayan. But she appreciated the entrepreneurial nature of being a broker, she said.
“I think it’s a plus,” she said about acting essentially as an independent contractor. “I think brokerage is a very self-disciplined business.”
Then, her husband suggested that Ms. Dayan find a niche in real estate.
“He said to me, ‘You really can’t be running and competing with all these 25-year-olds to try and lease space. You’re going to have to find some kind of caveat,’” she said.
It was in 2005 that she launched the commercial condominium division, where she worked with fashion firms like Felina Lingerie to find new office space—they eventually purchased space at 12 West 32nd Street—that was conveniently located in the fashion district.
“Fashion tenants have been buying because, unlike the 1980s, properties are on the market now that are within the location where fashion tenants need to be,” said Ms. Dayan.
She brought on Adam in 2007 after he spent seven years at Met Life. Working with other brokers had proven difficult because they would often leave for greener pastures soon after being trained and receiving part of her commission.
As of 2010, the trio has represented sellers and buyers in approximately $58 million in transactions, with more than 40,000 square feet of office condo space included in the mix of deals.
With Adam and Jonathan, who joined Winoker in 2009, Ms. Dayan has team and family sharing a tight bond and a love for their new business.