Knowing what’s essential is Lara Ertwine’s secret to balancing life as a successful realtor and loving single mom--and getting through current tough times.
As we continue our “Meet the Real Women of REALM” series this month at REALM Fine + Fashion Jewelry we find ourselves in unprecedented times. We were all in a very different place when the original version of this interview was completed weeks ago. Yet, the very reasons that prompted us to invite Lara Ertwine to be the “cover woman” of our campaign focusing on Empress Essentials – both the core pieces of our brand and how we, as Empresses, define what matters most in our lives—turn out to be more relevant than ever.
Real Woman of REALM (RWR) Lara Ertwine with REALM Founder + Designer Ann King Lagos at our spring campaign photoshoot.
As a successful realtor and loving single mom to nine-year-old Skyler, Lara walks that tricky tightrope of balancing work and family – and she has actually figured out how to do it without falling! I think that’s because Lara has a very clear view of what’s important to her and lives her life with intent to follow through on that meaning. She’s true to herself, a loving role model to her daughter and genuinely caring with her clients. She knows what is essential.
We interviewed Lara again a few days ago to find out how she and Skyler are coping and ask whether the current pandemic crisis had changed – or bolstered—her own core essentials. I hope you’ll be as inspired by her strength, spirit and resilience as I am.
What are three ESSENTIAL things we should know about you?
I’m a single mom to a wonderful and caring daughter, Skyler, whom I enjoy spending all my free time with, we are really very close. … I have been a vegetarian since I was very young and so has Skyler … I graduated from Art School with the intention of illustrating children’s books. I worked in the art field for a few years before finding my true calling with real estate.
Lara Ertwine and her daughter, Skyler.
Tell us about being a mom.
Being a mother has been the greatest gift. I want Skyler to grow up knowing how much she can do if she puts her mind to it, that she can create whatever her heart desires. I often talk to her about finding her confidence and encourage her to try things and not fear failure, to learn from mistakes.
She watches me work hard -- sometimes by necessity as I’ve had to bring her to showings. She has learned a lot about the business and tells me how proud she is of me. That just melts my heart. My hope for her journey is that she can find her own happiness and purpose.
Tell us about your work.
I am a Realtor; I have been working in real estate for 12 years and love helping people sell and buy homes. It is so rewarding helping a first-time buyer achieve their goals of home ownership. My favorite part is when a client then sells their home and fully realizes the equity they have earned on the appreciation. I have built a small team of agents at Keller Williams and my goals are to continue to grow and deliver exceptional service to our clients. Of course, given the current pandemic work has changed dramatically for all of us.
The pandemic has certainly changed our lives. How have you adapted the way you work?
I have focused on my clients and making sure they are doing well and staying healthy, calling everyone and checking in with them and offering any help that I can. Since Realtors are not considered essential in the state of Pennsylvania, I have been offering video meetings with buyers and Zoom conferences with my team, and I’m increasing virtual and video marketing for all my listings. Most of what I do already is done online including signing documents etc. but there will always be a need to meet people in person so I’m hoping to get back to the office soon.
Lara Ertwine wearing REALM Fine + Fashion Jewelry in a Philadelphia Style Magazine feature on Philly's top realtors.
In light of the pandemic, has your definition of "Essential" changed -- or been reaffirmed? How have you and your daughter been coping?
Skyler and I have had productive days of organizing and home school, and other days where we don't do anything except watch movies. It’s interesting to me that I’ve never felt so isolated, yet so globally connected at the same time. We have also been trying to focus on something positive every day. It is all about your mindset.
I have always felt that family is first, however it has made me appreciate even more the precious time I have spent with Skyler during the quarantine. I have missed being with extended family during holidays and birthdays and can’t wait to see them in person.
Our theme for April is "Strength & Resilience are the New Essentials." What do being Strong and being Resilient mean to you?
I feel that I have witnessed a lot of strength in essential workers, health care professionals, and small business owners who are struggling right now to adapt to a changing market. I have seen so much good in people, donations pouring in to help those in need, neighbors helping other neighbors, it is really amazing to me how we can all come together during a time like this. We are all resilient, this is only temporary. Everyone is adapting and we will get through.
Why do you love REALM?
I love REALM because the symbolism resonates with me, and the jewelry makes a statement. The designs are modern and young, but also sophisticated, and they are so versatile. I can wear them every day with jeans and a tee shirt as well as to a black-tie event. I love to mix and match the colors and styles.
What’s your current fave REALM piece?
I love the stackable Sceptre Python Rings, I am always getting compliments from people about them.
Next REALM piece you’d like to add to your jewelry box?
It is so hard to pick just one, because I would like to add all of them! However, I think the Domain Luxe Portrait Hoop Earrings, the Insignia Empress Luxe Ring and the Everyday Empress Chain Necklace.
An inspiration of Stregnth + Resilience: the star of our April "New Essentials" Campaign RWR Lara Ertwine.
What makes you an Empress?
I feel very accomplished to have grown my business and brand to be one of the top realtors in the city. I’ve done so without compromising who I am--I’ve remained true and dedicated with my main goal of helping others. Being a single mother and working hard to balance everything is challenging, but I hope to inspire other women to show them that it is possible to be your own boss and love what you do.