By Jess Goulart
Photo courtesy of Rapid Realty on Facebook.
“Sometimes it’s all about capturing the moment when you’re feeling the best about something, so you can remind yourself later why you did it in the first place.”
That’s what Anthony Lolli, the founder and CEO of a Brooklyn-based company called Rapid Realty, tells BTR.
The first of its kind, Rapid Realty is a “franchise-able” real estate company that prides themselves in serving the 99 percent of us who aren’t buying Manhattan penthouses. Typical agents focus on the high-end sales that come with the biggest payoff, but these realtors aim for apartment and commercial rentals that the average New Yorker can afford. Their motto is “rentals for the rest of us.”
It’s a unique angle, but that’s not why Rapid Realty is making headlines.
In 2011, Lolli received a phone call from one of his top agents. He was at a tattoo parlor the company recently rented out and wanted Lolli to come see something. When he arrived, the agent explained the owner of the parlor was so thankful for the space he’d offered a free tattoo. Low and behold, a Rapid Realty logo was inscribed right on the agent’s body.
“When I saw it the first thing I said was, ‘Why?’” recalls Lolli. “He told me, ‘This company changed my life. You’ve given me an opportunity to make a living, I’ve met so many new people, and I love what I do. This career is a permanent part of my life, and I wanted to show it off.’”
Rapid Realty runs on a commission basis, with four different status levels: green, gold, silver, and platinum. Green is the lowest figure and platinum the highest. There are various other ways to increase status apart from sales, including acts of “brand ambassadorship.” Associated deeds could entail volunteering at a charity, mentoring new employees, or working with a green team to help the environment. After Lolli saw that first tattoo, he added getting inked to the status list, and offered the willing agents the honors of platinum for life.
Once word got out agents jumped on the idea. As of now, Lolli says that 77 people got the Rapid Realty tattoo, many of whom already had platinum status. Two tattooed individuals aren’t even with the company.
Though the craze received ample press, not all reports spin the idea positively. Business Insider remarked that “at least the logo isn’t all that awful,” and Huffington Post harped on the pitfalls of exchanging ad placement on your body for money. They pointed out that Eric Hartsburg had a logo for Mitt Romney tattooed on his forehead for $5,000, only to shortly afterwards have it removed.
But talking with Lolli, it’s clear he is proud.
“Before each tattoo I speak privately with the agent,” he explains. “They all say the same thing. That this is a huge part of their life. That they’re tired of hopping from job to job, and they want a reminder they will stick it out.”
The tattoo seems to represent the company’s success and expansion throughout its network of over 60 locations. ABC reported last year that Rapid Realty spans from New Jersey to Boston, and staffs 1,100 employees.
On the consumer end, it’s no wonder clients respond well to agents with the tattooed logo.
“The client sees that tattoo and knows that they’re dealing with somebody they can also deal with next year. New Yorkers are very transient; they can live in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan all in the span of three years. They want an agent who will stick with them,” Lolli reasons.
Marketing ploy or genuine gesture, the inked legacy of Rapid Realty continues to grow.