Today we’d like to introduce you to Victoria Hawes.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Victoria. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Having grown up in the home building industry (my father was president of Partners in Building for 18 years), I have been around home building my entire life. I grew up in Spring and graduated early from Klein High School at age 16 and started college at the University of Texas at Austin. After changing majors twice in two years, I put the pause button on my education and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. After a year highlighted by serving as Britney Spears’s body-double in two music videos, I decided to come back to the greatest state and started working full-time at Partners.
Eventually I went back to school at the University of Houston studying corporate communications, and one professor (Dr. Marth Haun) inspired me to want to become a professor. I ended up graduating from UH as valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA. Two years of graduate school at Purdue University was enough to alter my career path as the politics of Academia were more than I could bear. After graduating with my Master’s, I moved to San Francisco where I worked for a Chinese rechargeable battery company as their investor relations director. Unfortunately, my passion for this job was also short-lived, and I resigned after eight months; which brings us to the present.
In March of 2012, I started as a construction superintendent at Jamestown Estate Homes, a company founded by my father in 2010 with the goal of achieving his dream of having a company with his daughters. After trying just about every other career path I could try, I had finally found my passion, and I’ve never looked back. In my second year on the job, I was named Best Custom Construction Superintendent by the Greater Houston Builders association, followed by being honored by being named Project Manager of the Year in 2014 by the Texas Association of Builders.
After two years learning the construction side of the business, a skiing accident where I broke my leg brought me into the office where I now work in sales and marketing. I have never considered myself to be much of a sales person, but I have always loved working with our customers. I also do the interior design work for any speculative homes that we may do. While our clients are welcome to hire the interior designer of their choice, I work with many our customers on their selections for fixtures and finishes. By getting to know their style prior to the sale, I work with our controller (my sister Katy) to ensure that our budgets will allow our clients to achieve their goals.
I would not say that my job is always champagne and roses, but I look forward to each new day. Whether it’s designing a new style of home or finding a creative way to get a dream within budget, I find joy and excitement every day. There’s truly nothing like watching a hand-drawn sketch evolve into a beautiful completed home for our clients to enjoy with their families for years to come.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Through the years I’ve faced a number of challenges. Getting started as a superintendent, I was frequently faced with contractors who didn’t take me seriously because I’m female and young. I’ll never forget while I was finishing a $4-million-dollar home in Piney Point Village how many contractors asked me if I was the homeowner. For some reason, they found it easier to believe that a 28-year-old blonde girl could afford such a home than it was for them to believe that I could build it.
I will admit that 2016 was a hard year for us as a company. We had one beautiful multi-million-dollar home in Bunker Hill Village that we completed in June, and I was working open houses every weekend looking for a buyer. Everyone who came through the home told me how much they loved the floor plan and finishes, but with oil prices and the election looming, no one was ready to purchase. I put my heart into every home, and it was especially difficult for me because I took personal responsibility for the success or failure of the property because I had done all of the selections. In early January of this year, something clicked, and one week I ended up receiving four offers on that property. Business has been booming for us ever since. Although the experience was unpleasant, I am thankful to have had that time to meet so many potential buyers and hear their feedback. I learned more about building in the Villages in those six months than I had learned in the previous four years with homes that sold “easily” at least by comparison.
Today, as our business continues to grow and flourish, I am dealing with the struggles of that success. While it is the best problem I’ve ever faced, I am being forced to do the scariest thing in the world for this type-A girl: delegate. I know that I have to rely on the other (extremely talented and qualified) members of our team, but it is a daily battle for me to give up control over all the tasks that I had the time to do when business was slow. You’ll have to check back with me in few months to see how I’m doing with this one, but I believe I’m making progress.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Jamestown Estate Homes – what should we know?
Founded by Greg Hawes and his daughters Katy and Victoria in 2010, Jamestown Estate Homes builds homes that improve the lives of our homeowners by giving them positive energy every day. Our goal is to build elegant, yet comfortable, homes that delight and inspire our homeowners.
Though we now have seven employees, we are a family business. Every member of the team is passionate about building custom homes, and we have a lot of fun making dream homes come true. In the process of working with our clients, I feel like they become part of the family too, and I like to believe that the process is fun for them too.
We respect and work within our clients’ budgets and fight to get them great pricing throughout the process. Unlike some other builders, we have a production mind-set, and we expect for work to occur on every project every day (although weather, materials, etc. can sometimes cause delays).
We specialize in the Memorial Villages and Oak Forest, and we are looking to expand into other communities like Tanglewood, Meylerland, and the Heights. We are on track to build twenty custom homes a year, and about half of our business is building for clients who already own their lot. We like to maintain an inventory of lots and completed homes so that we can show clients our work and build for clients who are unable to get choice land on their own.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My dad, Greg Hawes, is clearly the person most responsible for our success. His vision, experience, and wisdom has helped us through every struggle we’ve encountered. Having the opportunity to work with him for the past five years has taught me more than I could have ever learned in school or in twenty years working on my own.
My sister Katy Hawes handles the very important aspects of the business that aren’t as glamorous. She is our controller, and the budgets that she creates are incredibly accurate; which allows us to give more informed pricing to our buyers. We’re never in a position where we have to make blind guesses or take unnecessary risks because she’s passionate about the numbers. Thank goodness someone is! She is responsible for making sure that everyone gets paid, and that’s pretty important too.
Our construction manager- Mike Prejeant is the best person to work with that I’ve ever met. I don’t know if he has ever had a bad day in his life because he’s such a joyful person. Educated as a civil engineer, he’s the most knowledgeable person on the topic of construction that I’ve ever met. Beyond those wonderful things, he’s also an artist! His hand drawn home-elevations and even cabinet sketches are frame-worthy in my opinion, and he has a gift for trim details, and all of those talents sell houses.
- Address: 2313 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. N.
- Website: www.jamestownestatehomes.com
- Phone: 8322961663
- Email: email@example.com
Connie Anderson Photograph