Rising to the Occasion: Baking Challah Bread with Marcy Braun

Douglas Elliman agents continue to get creative during this unprecedented time. Elliman Insider sat down with Marcy Braun to find out how she is rising to the occasion by making challah bread and leaving out necessary ingredients for her Instagram followers so that they might join her in baking. While times may be forcing Marcy to adjust to a new work from home routine, she is continuing to take on new challenges with a fresh perspective.

EllIMAN INSIDER: What are some personal challenges this pandemic has presented to you that you have been able to overcome?

MARCY BRAUN: Working from home has never been an option for me. My office surroundings have always been a necessary stabilizer, which allow me to focus more intently. Early exercise classes and dressing well for my day have been my recipe for success. Since that routine is currently no longer an option, my first challenge was to create a space within my home where I can find my usual focus and stay organized.

EI: How do you think overcoming these challenges will affect the way you do business?

MB: Having become more comfortable with my home as my new office setting, I may work more form home in the future. This will be the biggest change and effect going forward. Showings of course remain a challenge, as well as open houses— regardless of videos or virtual displays, these showings will need to be addressed differently and within certain guidelines. I have always afforded my customers the convenience of video and FaceTime showings to narrow different possibilities before this pandemic. Those methods will continue when it becomes possible to go into homes again.

EI: How are you getting creative when it comes to promoting your business during this time?

MB: I have always provided a freshly baked challah bread to my customers when they move in and sometimes a jar of my homemade strawberry jam, which I make in June when strawberries are in season. In an effort to make myself useful to my customers and engage future customers, I did an Instagram Challah Bake. I supplied my recipes and an ingredient list through an email chain that just became larger and larger.
All of a sudden, yeast was unavailable and bread flour was nowhere to be found; I would never have imagined that those ingredients would disappear along with toilet paper! For those who were following and had homes in the Hamptons, I supplied a basket of pre- measured yeast outside my door and for some I was able to supply 6 cups of bread flour. Cars would pass by my door to pick up their goods and drive away as everyone prepared for the live Challah Bake. I received emails saying how thankful they were to have this to look forward to knowing that it wouldn’t be cancelled as so many other events have been!
Possibly 60+ followed on the day of the live Challah Bake and I was able to address questions as we all prepared together. The questions were fabulous, and afterwards I was getting texts with photographs of progress which I was able to comment on, and share posts. This was a rewarding way for me to connect and reconnect with customers as well as people form other states who joined in.

EI: What are some new business strategy changes you plan to implement once we get back to normal?

MB: I’ve been asked to do another bake, which I might schedule for the end of April and I will definitely continue to connect with the public in this way. It shows another side of who I am. At last, my @challahbackgirl instagram name makes sense to my customers and those that don’t quite know me yet.

EI: Sometimes we develop a new appreciation for the little—or big— things during major life changes. What are some things that you’ve been most grateful for during this time?

MB: Since I was used to waking up, leaving my home and working every single day for years, I am grateful to find joy in the safety of my home. I have always been on the run so this is a big change for me. Ive used this time to clean out all my closets and organize my home life, an unimaginable task given my hectic work schedule. I would hate to have things subside and find that I didn’t take advantage of this time to do what I avoid doing during real life; it feels really rewarding.
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ELLIMAN INSIDER is published by Douglas Elliman Real Estate
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