SISTERS Kerri-Ann Hooper and Natalie Doolan like to sail their own ship.
Raised by hard-working parents who ran real estate agencies, the two lived and breathed property from a young age until forging their own careers.
Kerri-Ann specialised in property management and sales, while Natalie worked in marketing and hospitality, but it was only a matter of time before they created their own boutique property investment company in late 2011.
‘‘We wanted to determine our own hours and [do] something that we had a wealth of experience in that we could also work around our family lives,’’ says Kerri-Ann.
Newcastle-based Carnelian Projects aims to take the hassle out of building a home or investment property.
The sisters work closely with clients who are building a new home or investment property, providing support from start to finish.
Initially, they help clients find a suitable block of land – and not just on a housing estate, says Kerri-Ann, who travels far and wide to source empty blocks around the Hunter that are not marketed by agents.
The company then chooses the right builder for the site – some shy away from sloping blocks, for example, others not so – and offers other services including sourcing the house design, liaising with the builder on the client’s behalf and assisting with interior design.
Carnelian Projects gives a fixed price to clients – the bulk of them first-home buyers spending up to $450,000 and many building in the Cameron Park area, Gillieston Heights, Buttaba and the Lower Hunter – so they can be confident there are no hidden costs.
Recently entering their third year in business, the company is presently managing more than $5 million worth of residential developments.
Among only a handful of women working in residential construction in the Hunter, the sisters say their sales have more than doubled in the past 12 months.
‘‘We offer a really personalised service and we are always available – we have clients call at 9pm to discuss issues,’’ says sales director Kerri-Ann.
Natalie, who looks after marketing, financials and property management, says the business is pushing hard to grow but won’t forgo the personal touch that has won clients. Passion for their business is evident.
‘‘I love interacting with people,’’ says Kerri-Ann. ‘‘There’s one street in Cameron Park where I have sold four properties and I’ve already told them I’m coming to their street Christmas party.’’
The sisters chose the mineral carnelian for their business brand because, they say, it can symbolise empowerment, family harmony and potential wealth.
PLACES STILL AVAILABLE AT FORUM
HUNTERNET’S defence forum will be held tomorrow, with keynote speakers including Manufacturship chief executive Jason Furness.
It’s not too late to attend the 9.30am-11am event at the Trade and Investment Centre at 251 Wharf Road, Newcastle. For more information contact HunterNet on 49087380.
HUNTER VALLEY COMES TO TOWN
RIPSNORTING festive fun is promised by organisers of the Property Council of Australia Hunter chapter’s annual Christmas luncheon this Friday
The Hunter Valley will come to the CBD – or South Newcastle Rugby League Club, in Merewether – with ‘‘larrikin’’ Marsh Estate winemaker Andrew Marsh and Hope Estate’s owner and head tractor driver Michael Hope possibly donning Santa hats before talking about life in the vineyards.
A few tickets are left to the ‘‘cracker’’ event, for more information email email@example.com.
RAIN FAILS TO DAMPEN GOOD NEWS
INCESSANT November rain has delayed the opening of the $1.7 billion Hunter Expressway until next year but brighter news has arrived with Stage Two of the project nominated as one of six finalists in the Australian Construction Achievement Award.
Delivered by the Hunter Expressway Alliance, including Thiess and Parsons Brinckerhoff, the four-lane expressway will run from north-west Lake Macquarie to Branxton.
The ACAA awards night is next May, and the expressway will compete with projects including Gold Coast University Hospital and 700 Burke Street, the latest addition to the Melbourne Docklands.
AWARD RECOGNISES SERVICE
HUNTERLINK Recovery Services has cemented its position as a leading employee assistance provider after winning the Seafarers Welfare Award at the Lloyd’s List Australian Shipping and Maritime Industry Awards.
A joint initiative of the MUA and the CFMEU Mining and Energy Division, the award recognises the support the organisation provides to maritime industry employees.
HRS supports local residents to transition from intensive substance abuse rehabilitation back to the workplace and community life.
ONLINE LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
LEADERSHIP Bootcamp is the first online leadership program from business industry veteran Greg Mowbray’s Hunter-based business Licence to Lead.
Scheduled to rollout nationally early in 2014, Mr Mowbray said the online program – comprising seven short video modules and a downloadable workbook – is being launched in response to the need for a proven approach to leadership development that is accessible online 24/7. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.