SPOTLIGHT ON: Robin Ham
Mary Prenon | July 17, 2023
A Woman with Many Hats
Robin Ham, Broker/Owner of RGH Realty #1, Inc. in New City, has worn lots of hats throughout her career. In fact, she’s the author of the book, “The Hats We Wear,” depicting the history and traditions of headdresses from various cultures and understanding the cultural differences of the people who wear them.
In addition to owning her own real estate firm since 2000, Ham lists her other “hats” as the owner of RLH Design Consultants, Inc., a trustee of the HG Realtor Foundation, an HGAR Global Business Council member, and will be graduating NYSAR’s Leadership Academy in September of this year. She also holds several real estate designations.
It was Ham’s love of and natural talent for design that led her to a previous career as a technical designer for fashion icons like Halston, Liz Claiborne and Eileen Fisher. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, as well as the Paris Fashion Institute in France, Ham dove head-first into Manhattan’s fashion industry. “I did just about everything—working with merchandising, sales, designers, pattern makers, and quality control,” she recalled. “I had to make sure everything would fit before it was delivered to the stores.”
She was involved mainly in women’s sportswear, and also ran a clothing factory in Long Island City. Ham admits it was actually a layoff at Halston that first opened her eyes to the possibility of a real estate career. She continued to work freelance design jobs and in 1998, earned her real estate license.
Ham also relied on her own house-hunting experience to reinforce her desire to make a career in real estate. “When we first went looking for a house, I felt like some agents were blocking us into a category,” she explained. “I decided that because I love working with people, I could definitely do this job and since then I’ve been on a mission to help everyone I can who wants to own a home.”
During the first two years in real estate, she worked with local firms, but quickly decided to branch out on her own. “I like the freedom aspect of it, and I’m a free-spirited person,” she shared. Along the way, she also got involved briefly with mortgage lending—another “hat” of knowledge she can offer to clients.
Because of her “people-friendly” background, Ham found the transition to real estate a fairly easy one. “I never really advertised,” she said. “I got a lot of client referrals, and my motto has always been to treat people the way I’d want to be treated.” The secret, she revealed, is to show prospective buyers everything in their price range in various areas. “I’m not going to take them to just one neighborhood—we’re going to go all over to search for the best place they can afford.”
Self-described as a boutique real estate firm, RGH Realty #1 Inc. serves the entire Hudson Valley area. Ham is also licensed in Massachusetts, with a concentration on the island of Martha’s Vineyard off Cape Cod.
Just this year, Ham became a member of the HG Realtor Foundation Board of Trustees. “I’ve always liked helping non-profits, and I’m sorry I didn’t do this earlier,” she said. “I’m very excited about being part of the foundation.” An animal lover, Ham participates in animal rescue projects, and is looking forward to volunteering with the SPCA of Westchester, through the HG Realtor Foundation Project Committee.
For the past four years, Ham has also been involved with HGAR’s Global Business Council. “It’s been such a great experience,” she noted.
In her spare time, she likes to play golf or do “something creative.” She still runs her own design firm, offering everything from home staging, to redesign, de-cluttering, project management and creative consulting. She and her husband Joseph live in Rockland County, NY and just celebrated their 30-year anniversary. “We also like to travel, so I think we’re planning to start traveling more now,” she added.
Her book, “The Hats We Wear,” continues to sell and will always be part of her life. “I don’t understand how some people don’t want to meet people from diverse cultures,” she said. “I just love meeting different people.”