Jeremy Norman, 30, is a successful associate broker with Keller Williams and has worked in real estate for 8 1/2 years. Having previously worked at Macy’s in menswear and ladies’ shoes and with a crisp sense of the sartorial, he has some definite opinions on style. He studied Finance at Jacksonville State University and is the father of Jordan, age 6.
People would be surprised to know: [Laughs] I’m very adventurous. I’m going skydiving next month. I love outdoor activities. I was in Boy Scouts. I can do a lot because of Boy Scout training; I was in it all the way up until 9th grade.
Why he got into real estate: Wow! Good question. When I was in college, I took [a real estate class] as an elective. I gained a passion for it because my cousin’s husband owned a real estate company (Johnson Realty Company) in Birmingham. He was a big part of the community and I learned from his example. When I took the class at Jacksonville it hit me that this was a career I could love and be successful in.
On dressing for success and taking risks with style: I think a lot of people are scared to take risks with color. I don’t mind wearing pink or baby blue. I’m into colors. A lot of people wear dark colors to be safe, but I like to take risks. I really love a suit, with some nicely shined shoes. Shoes are very important in business. A person can look at your shoes and tell what level you’re on, business-wise. Suits say I’m professional and bring a sense of confidence and power. [They let a client] know you will represent them well. Macy’s has a brand called Tasso Elba that I like. I feel comfortable [in a suit, tie and nice shoes], like I can take on the world.
His grooming essentials: I go to the barbershop once a week. That’s my thing. I go to Capelli; Spencer Chestnut is my barber. I think being in the arena I’m in, always networking, I have to have a nicely groomed haircut. Your appearance says a lot when you’re in sales. Clients feel like if you’re taking care of yourself, you’ll take care of them too.
Fashion trends he wishes would die? For men – Cardigans. There was a huge push at Macy’s and Belk and that’s all you saw. I think we’re coming to a point where another style will come in, like v-necks with a shirt and tie underneath. For women – Those blue jean leggings! They’re really tights. I really wish tights would shift on out the door. People are overdoing them. They’re okay around the house. But if we’re going out on a date, put some real jeans on!
Would you be caught wearing jeggings, a la Lil Wayne? Lil Wayne [is] in the rock and roll arena. It wouldn’t look right for me to have some skinny jeans on. No big dude should have skinny jeans on. I don’t like anything fitted to me that tight. I don’t like the trend, but I’m not going to knock the next person who does. That’s just not my personal style.
Wish list item? A custom, made-to-measure Armani suit.
What he’s teaching his son about fashion: We just had a conversation this morning about this. I’m teaching him that you always want to look presentable. You never know when you will run into an opportunity. My mother taught me to always make sure my clothes were ironed and that I looked presentable when I left the house. So I am teaching him to make sure his clothes are ironed and his shirt is tucked in, to always be prepared when he leaves the house in case his teacher pulls him on the stage or up for a presentation. If you asked him he’d say “Daddy says ‘Always be prepared.’ ”
What he learned while moonlighting at Macy’s: I worked in Macy’s women’s shoe department up until my real estate took off, nights and part-time. I was selling houses during the day time and selling shoes at night. Women are very particular about their shoes. Sometimes women would buy the shoes first, then buy the outfit and match them up. That’s the number one thing I learned, that if it was a BAD shoe…women would find something to put together with it.
Parting thoughts? Always dress to succeed. But don’t let the clothes make you. A lot of people get caught up in name brands, “I have Gucci, or I have Donna Karan, ” and so on. When I worked in men’s suits at Macy’s, I saw a lot of high quality suits, but I learned an Alfani suit could be dressed up to run neck and neck with Calvin Klein. Confidence makes the clothes; it’s the person in them [that matters]. If you have your confidence level up, no one can tell you you don’t look good. The suit could be from K&G or Saks. That suit from K&G could [outshine] the one from Saks because of the confidence of the person wearing it.
Images courtesy of Jeremy Norman