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New markets require new approaches and tactics. Experts and industry leaders take the stage at Inman Connect New York in January to help navigate the market shift — and prepare for the next one. Meet the moment and join us. Register here.

Six years ago, Compass agent Phillip Salem — lovingly known as Agent P — was closing the door to a dream 17 years in the making.

The Ohio native moved to New York City in 2006 to pursue a degree in fashion merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology and shortly before graduation opened their first designer boutique, OWEN. As one of the only family-owned stores in the city’s famous Meatpacking District, OWEN gained recognition in Refinery 29, Elle Magazine, The New York Times and WWD. 

However, Salem’s fashion career was cut short after their landlord got permission to tear the building down and rebuild a new commercial space. Not one to be discouraged for long, Salem took their husband’s advice and turned their entrepreneurial energy to real estate — finishing their licensure in four weeks and gaining their footing at Triplemint before moving to Compass in 2020.

“I say the rest is history, but the rest is a ton of hard work, a ton of dedication, a ton of marketing and a ton of putting myself out there for clients,” they said of their transition from fashion to real estate.

Ahead of their first-ever Inman Connect New York appearance, Salem shared the connection between fashion and real estate, the power of authenticity as a nonbinary person and how they’re helping buyers and sellers navigate one of the zaniest market shifts in recent history.

Before our chat today, I read your biography on our ICNY homepage, and you took an unconventional route from fashion to real estate. Tell me more about what led you to leave the fashion world and start selling homes.

Salem: Right after I graduated college, I opened up a multi-brand boutique in [New York City’s] Meatpacking District. I’ve always had…




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