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 In Lifestyle

Agents & Their Spaces –
Barb Gregory and Dot Murchie

When we meet with Barb Gregory, Dot Murchie and Emily Makiv the bond between the three of them is immediately apparent. Their laughter fills the room and they are at ease in each other’s company.

When we meet with Barb Gregory, Dot Murchie and Emily Makiv the bond between the three of them is immediately apparent. Their laughter fills the room and they are at ease in each other’s company.

Barb is the founding director of the Marshall White Bayside office and a little under 12 months ago her youngest daughter, Dot, joined the team as a sales executive. Barb’s elder daughter, Emily, who is the CEO of the Jackalope Group, offered up her stunning home in Brighton for our shoot.

The three of them are incredibly successful businesswomen and Barb beams with pride as she watches her daughters, who both have two young children of their own now, chatting and giggling together. ‘It’s the people in it who make a house a home,’ says Barb.

Emily’s single storey period home has recently undergone a dramatic transformation overseen by Merrylees Architecture and is now a light filled contemporary haven. Emily explains that for her, home is somewhere for the family to feel safe, comfortable and be together.

With Christmas approaching, the home is filled with festive decorations. It is tradition for them all to be together over the holidays and this year, Emily will host the extended family on Christmas Eve.

‘We’re really independent people, we have our careers, our hopes and dreams, but we do love that family connection. Family time is very precious to us,’ says Barb.

Over the holiday period, they will all be travelling to Noosa, including Barb’s son, Xavier and his fiancé Leila, who live in France. They look forward to their annual trips away as it’s a chance for them to relax and spend quality time together, away from their busy everyday lives.

‘Noosa is a special place for us. Mum and Dad bought a house there a couple of years ago,’ says Dot.

Having grown up in Brighton, Barb was eager to raise her children in the area she has such a strong connection to and she wanted to stay close to the water.

‘We’ve got really happy memories down there. As a teenager that’s where I grew up and spent my days. When our kids were little, we owned one of the beach boxes so they used to have birthday parties at the beach. Every Friday night we would have fish and chips with a big group of friends and their kids. Now we take our grandchildren down there too,’ says Barb.

Barb has been in real estate for 26 years and opened the Marshall White Bayside office eight and a half years ago, but it wasn’t her first profession or something she always pictured herself doing.

‘I actually stumbled across real estate. I am a teacher by trade and had given that a rest after the children were born,’ says Barb.

Along with her husband, Paul, who is the general manager of the Marshall White Bayside and Port Phillip offices, Barb owned a number of businesses, including a catering company and a children’s fairy shop on Bay Street where they hosted birthday parties.

After selling the business, Barb had a gap in her life and by chance met someone who had a young family and had just started out in real estate.

‘I thought, “I’ll just do the course”. I didn’t set out to be a real estate agent, I set out to explore what that might look like. I was given an opportunity and took it. At the time I was also given the chance to go back and teach at Haileybury, but I chose to do the real estate thing because it was different and it was a challenge. When I started out there were very few women in real estate. There was a poor perception of the industry and I wanted to be a part of changing that,’ says Barb.

Emily, who was 14 when Barb was studying to get her real estate license, remembers those days very clearly.

‘She’d be gone at night, taking classes and then once she began working as a real estate agent, she would be ducking out at night to quickly finish a deal or put up a sold sticker,’ says Emily.

The three of them are incredibly successful businesswomen and Barb beams with pride as she watches her daughters, who both have two young children of their own now, chatting and giggling together. ‘It’s the people in it who make a house a home,’ says Barb.

Earlier this year, Dot joined Barb’s team as a sales executive, after a decade working for a homeware’s wholesaler. It was the client facing aspect that Dot enjoyed most and she thrived in front of the customers at the trade fairs. Her passion for face to face interaction with clients eventually drew her to the family business.

‘Real estate has been a part of our world forever, but timing for me wasn’t right. I had just gotten married and I was about to have children. Both motherhood and real estate are full time jobs, so I just needed to wait,’ says Dot.

The skills Dot learned while working in her previous role have equipped her with the tools to succeed in real estate, just like her mum.

‘Real estate is a lot like event management. You’ve got to have really good time management skills and then you can actually make it quite flexible. That’s what I had to do when the kids were little, I managed to juggle. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. Dot has very good time management skills,’ says Barb.

Since joining forces this year, Barb and Dot have had to navigate a new path as a mother and daughter team. Initially, Barb wasn’t keen on making a big deal about the family dynamic, preferring to keep it professional.

‘I just wanted Dot to become her own person quickly, so we veered away from that a little bit. Almost by accident, vendors and purchasers worked out that we were connected and the response to that has actually been really positive,’ says Barb.

Dot struggles to not call her ‘Mum’ in the office and in front of clients, but the tight knit Bayside team have supported them on their new journey.

‘We worry about it because we’re trying to portray things correctly, but I watch the team in our office, they love the fact we are a family. The culture of the office is amazing. They embrace it and we have fun with it. They like to stir us,’ laughs Barb.

Excited to be passing the reins of the business she created down to her youngest daughter, Barb acts as a mentor to Dot.

‘To have Dot in the business now and knowing she will be continuing the legacy, that makes me feel very proud. It will keep me connected too,’ says Barb.

After nearly three decades working in real estate, Barb has seen a lot change, especially over the past decade. She explains the changes are due to a combination of the expanding digital services being utilised by the industry and the increased competition amongst agents.

‘I think social media has sped the process up. The first 10 to 15 years I was in the industry were steady, we’d make small leaps. Now we are at the stage where there are quantum leaps with technology, it’s completely changed the game. There’s also a lot more players at the table now, says Barb.

Barb reflects on her impressive career with gratitude but says it doesn’t define who she is. She encourages everyone to embrace new opportunities as they come up, to help find your passion, be the best version of yourself and find fulfilment in life.

‘Real estate is just a part of my life. I’ve done lots of things. If I stumbled across something tomorrow that really took my fancy and there was an opportunity, I’d take it. Life’s an adventure. I just want to do everything. We’ve only got one chance at it, if there’s something there, give it a go.’

Discover more about Barb Gregory and Dot Murchie below

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