We had the good fortune of connecting with Anj Kohli Catalano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anj, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I’m from London, and my parents are immigrants originally from India. My grandparents moved to London in the 1960’s as did many Indians. They were University professors who spoke 7 languages but could only get jobs in the post office when they got to the UK. They worked there for many years till they retired and built much of their community of friends there with other Indians, who were amongst the first ethnic minorities in the UK, after the British rule in India.
My dad as such did not grow up with much, he left school at 15 and began working in a denim factory as a floor sweeper, he was fiercely ambitious and slowly worked his way up to owning a factory.
When I was 6, and he was 31, he was given an opportunity to go overseas to a small island in the Indian ocean but part of the African sub-continent. Mauritius is a small tropical island close to the Maldives. The government there were looking for entrepreneurs to help develop industry and create jobs. My dad was able to grow from his small Jean factory to a very big and successful one, now employing over 5000 people. From the success of his fashion business, he was able to diversify and to also venture into Real Estate around the time I was 14 years old.
As my dad was able to build so much from nothing and with no formal education, I grew up being told I could do anything I wanted and be anything I wanted, if I put my mind to it. I studied law but after getting my masters and buying my first home, I decided that I loved Real Estate. It was something that I could move into quite easily with my legal background and I have been able to be involved in many facets from managing investments for corporations to flipping, over the last 13 years.
Being the child of immigrants who didn’t have much, but were slowly able to build a good life, has really impacted who I am. My parents, gave us the best that they could afford, even when that was nothing. They also did and still do a lot for others as Indians believe that everything in life has a Karmic reaction – basically if our actions are kind, and loving the karmic reaction will cause such energy to come back to us. So, whether it was helping a friend with a task or doing things for charity, my parents have always modelled extreme generosity and not gotten hung up on money, believing abundance will therefore flow to them, and us.
Over the years, I have flipped numerous properties. Some have been great, and some have not, but something I have grown up with is, the belief that it is better to try and fail, than never to try. My dad has always said he wasn’t successful with his first idea, he was successful because even when things didn’t go to plan he carried on and kept trying different things.
I think coming to a place like LA where there is extreme wealth, it’s very easy to compare and want more more more. I am grateful for having had very humble parents, as that has kept me grounded.
Whilst financial success is great, for me true life success is being able to make your own choices, to travel, and take time off, and exploring your passions as well as just having nice things! I am also very aware that I might not have the luxury of that perspective if I grew up in a different house.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am a realtor now, and got my license 4 years ago after a few experiences on buying and selling flips, where I didn’t feel understood by my realtors. I wanted to feel that they prioritised my needs as a flipper and were not just driven by their commissions.
This is something that really underpins how I approach things. If I look after my clients, then even if I need to make recommendations to protect my client that could derail a deal, I think karma will take care of me, and hopefully that will lead to me building a good reputation. I think it’s so important not to be short sighted over a commission check and really invest in the relationship with your clients.
I am lucky to work with an independent brokerage who share my values.
As an individual I have had to start sharing what I am doing a little more on social media. Being British we don’t really like to talk about our accomplishments, as a country we are quite self-deprecating. I would rather just show my life, and share things that I find fun or interesting, as I want people to choose to work with me if they connect with that. I find it so boring just reading about how much business someone has done so I would rather inject a bit of humor or share design that I like because I find that much more interesting myself.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The main things I like to do with visitors are things that make LA unique like the gorgeous, views and hiking trails, the shopping! I love a lazy Sunday get brunch and checking out the hand made jewellery at the Fairfax flea market.
We would most likely also squeeze in a sound bath or something mindful because these things are so much more commonplace here than in London.
In terms of dining, I love that you can sit al fresco and eat here as in London you can only do that for a few months of the year! So a rooftop will always be on the menu. I love to try new places as they open and if possible, with a view of the city.
Even though I have been to both 100 times, Cecconi’s, and Catch are still my easy go to for food and ambience, and of course Shake Shack for burgers because it’s my 3 year old’s favorite!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Craft and Bauer Real Estate – Max And Dominic my brokers for really being such authentic and good people and making the environment a really pleasant and wholesome one.
Real Estate can be so cut throat but it is nice working with good people who really care about others above all and are not just about the pressure and numbers!