An interview with Antoine Garcin, Director of Emile Garcin
by Kay Hare
I met Antoine Garcin, Director of Emile Garcin, in the classic French port town of Antibes. For afternoon tea at the beachfront Hotel, Belle Rives. The family is from Provence Antoine, his brother, and his sister look after the family business that his father set up in 1963 from scratch.
Although the interview was about Antoine, he managed to turn it around and ask me many questions first. Garcin has an approachable manner, and most of all, he listens. Antoine is tuned in to people, and my guess is the business is thriving most of all because of the family ethos they maintain, nurturing their staff, having the time to ask the right questions, building relationships with their clients, then finding the solutions.
Emile Garcin already has just about everything they need, with many boutique offices, a team of international agents, a super sleek magazine packed with articles from their staff, tips, and advice for moving and of course, beautiful properties with lifestyle articles and interviews. Probably the world’s most delightful, grandest, and homely residences are, or have, at some point, moved through Emile Garcin.
Emile Garcin is a family business, was it your Father who set it up? How did this happen? Was he always interested in property, or was it more a way of making money?
Yes, it all started by my Father in 1963, he sat at a corner of his kitchen table in an apartment with a telephone, motivation, and an entrepreneurial vision. My Father loved people. He was interested in helping them, working with them, and driven to succeed because he had a family to feed.
Why do you think your Father never gave up and ‘got a job’ there must have been difficult days?
An interesting question I think his curious nature ensured he kept aiming to do more and the clients kept him moving forward, seeking better or different properties. Remaining loyal to clients was essential to my farther, and once the momentum of the business started, it was too exciting to give up or to start again. He also had a quiet vision for the company that went beyond his lifetime, and this spirit remains at the heart of Emile Garcin.
How have you maintained the business and not been bought out or lost interest?
We excel in service, in human contact, which is one of the essential skills my Father instilled in the company. He never studied real estate; he was family orientated and was always striving to do better. Our values keep our business growing. We could not maintain personal relationships in a franchise structure. We also learn from our clients, they push us forward, and each day as a supportive team, we are expanding and improving; there is no desire or need to change.
What did your father teach you about business, and how does it relate today?
My Father, as I mentioned before, was always interested in making the next day better and learning from the day before, looking back, but only to move forward more effectively, not just for a quick sale but to build and grow from the relationship. Seeing one successful sale as a step to building trust for everyone involved. Also, being realistic was an aspect to growth, getting out there and getting on with it, being prepared to make mistakes. It is not always roses; nothing is handed on a plate, somedays we have to roll our sleeves up, start again, and work.
What is the crucial aspect of your business?
The business has a myriad of essential aspects. I am seeing everyone as a branch from the tree, supporting and always available to give advice when things don’t go as planned.
Do you think your business will continue to the next generation?
Any business that is based on family values, customer service, and has an excellent ethical product is bound to leave a legacy. People want supportive careers where the boss works with them, not against them. When this is demonstrated in any business, it will thrive.
We are part of a professional industry that has regulations, ethical standards, and laws that we abide and adjust to as well as now with the banking system that ensures international compliance.
If you had to advise a young person starting with Emile Garcin today what advice would you give them
We are always listening to questions from curious and motivated people. They have to grasp the team spirit that we endorse. The key is creating a team with positive energy, encouraging them to push beyond their limitations, inspiring them to step out of the box, and to experience reaching new goals. This attitude inspires the whole company, the people we work with, and builds sustainable relationships with our clients. We have a team of 130 people who have been with us for years because we don’t stand still, and we keep growing.
Finally, what is the favorite aspect of the business?
It is meeting and working with new people, finding unique hidden properties, and of course, developing and being in human relationships.
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Inspiring international lifestyles based on the French Riviera