Stars come in all shapes and sizes, from Hollywood to London, and from all cultures and backgrounds. Kim White is our own very special ‘star’ discovery, as a female entrepreneur from Hove in Brighton, who followed her dream as an inspirational woman in business.
Kim was brought up in a world of celebrity and show business, with her father David Courtney managing and writing hit songs for some of the top music icons in the country and launching careers in the 70s and 80s such as Leo Sayer and working with the late great Adam Faith.
But Kim wanted to follow her own path, and one that was as challenging as the music industry, in that she was a divorcee with three children and a woman in a predominantly male dominated environment.
After a difficult marriage and an even more painful divorce in 2014, Kim felt it was time to branch out on her own, using her previous 20 years’ experience in real estate, and with a strong vision for holiday lets. But she knew it would be hard as she was female, and had 3 children Callum 11, Alfie 6 and Jesse who was just 3 years old who were mainly in her care.
So, Kim approached her dad and asked his advice, who responded immediately, and encouraged her to get started on limited resources, whilst guiding Kim in the right direction. They created a logo as they both felt it was necessary to get the image of the Company right from the outset. They came up with the idea of a pink palm tree which was perfect for the beach location. Kim had fallen in love with the image as soon as she saw it, as it was Miami retro style which is like Brighton and also had a holiday feel to it which was appropriate for the vision of her Company.
‘We knew of this office that was right on Hove seafront and was perfect location for Holiday Lets.
I wanted my Company to be different and stand out as the city of Brighton has fierce competition with letting properties.
So, I went with my gut and knew that being in Hove it would not compete with the Stag and Hen parties, but set out to attract families and couples, people in-between homes and those on business trips.
Hove has a vibrant community and gorgeous wide spaces, with Hove Lawns and an array of stunning properties, some of which are listed buildings.
It was not all plain sailing initially, but I finally got my own office in 2015 which was just a shell. I came up against numerous obstacles, including being let down by builders and a leaky roof, but I ploughed my heart and soul into it, not to mention all available cash, and finally opened the doors in June 2016.
When I saw the sign erected outside the building with Westbeach Properties, it suddenly hit me that I had finally succeeded in getting my business up and running.’
But Kim was still not entirely ‘out of the woods:
‘I had started the business with maybe just 2 properties, so it was very daunting especially when you are sitting in the office on your own and the telephone does not ring.
There were many times I thought – what have I done, no income, money going out and a single mum of three on my own, but I told myself, ‘if you build it people will come’. Having said that I was determined to be there every day and stick with it.
I felt that regardless of the outcome, there is nothing worse than having a dream and not seeing it through. But the dedication paid off and after a lot of hard work and perseverance, I began to attract more clients.
My office is not a prime walkthrough area, but it is on the main Hove seafront that goes in and out of Brighton and people soon started talking about my neon Pink Palm Tree promptly placed on the rear wall in my office.
I now hear people tell me that they don’t always remember Westbeach Properties, but tap into the image of the Pink Palm Tree, which leads them to the Holiday Lets or Agent, and then my name pops up, which is great.
I now have a small team and the majority of my clients come to us through word of mouth. My motto is ’Treat people how you want to be treated’, and this is so true. I do feel we do go the extra mile with everyone and this is recognised now by so many of our clients. Trust is also very important and I feel we are a friendly team that work well and hope to expand to take others on in the future.
I feel blessed and grateful each day that we work in a lovely office just yards from the beach and I get to bring in my small dog Teddy into work with me too.
I also love helping people and offer a bespoke service, tailoring our clients to what they need, and holding their hands throughout the process to alleviate the pressure.
It has been a really exciting experience for me, and a worthwhile one, and I also have a new partner, Gary who I have been with for several years, as well as a thriving business. I am told I am living proof that dreams really can come true, and I believe they can if you really work hard and see them through to the end.’
So, if you have an idea and you want to follow your own passion, remember it is possible, even against the odds, and as in the case of Kim, she is living proof and a real inspiration.