Katya Crema is the Associate Director of Sales & Marketing for Crema Group. Her contribution to this family-owned property and construction business includes development research, strategic planning & site acquisition, creative agency briefing, project marketing management, internal sales management, social media direction, website management and purchaser communication.
Q. What sparked your interest in property development?
I studied Architecture at the University of Melbourne whilst training and competing internationally on the Australian Ski Team. I was lucky enough to travel for my sport from an early age, competing on the World Cup circuit, so I was exposed to a broad range of architecture in some of the world’s most beautiful cities and alpine regions. I have always been passionate about good design and functional buildings. It was a fantastic to have the theoretical background from Uni, and then the opportunity to contextualise this learning whilst traveling. Experiencing how different people live across a range of cities became a source of curiosity and inspiration.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I went on to study a Master’s degree in Property. The thing I enjoy most about property development is being immersed in a project from the beginning right through to the end, and seeing how a development can create a community.
Q. What drives you – has there been someone or something that has inspired your career?
Pursuing an Olympic sporting career has taught me many things, the biggest being the value of perseverance, dedication and time management. Delivering quality projects, drawing on creativity and inviting purchasers into the process is what drives me. Working directly on the Heidi sales campaign in 2014 gave me hands on experience with engaging directly with our purchasers. We are now 6 months away from project completion, and it’s amazing to see the building come to fruition. Similarly, spending time with our purchasers at Derby Place is increasingly giving me an understanding of what our buyers are looking for in apartment living. I really enjoy the purchaser interaction aspect of a project.
I guess you could say my dad, Luch Crema, has been a source of inspiration for my career. He also began his career by studying Architecture at Melbourne Uni in the 1970s. When my grandfather, Nonno Beppi, had a major health scare in the early 80s, my father and his two brothers were forced to take over the family construction business at a young age. Dad has taught me some really important lessons in life and business. Surround yourself with good people, seize opportunities and when you have to make a difficult decision, don’t be afraid of making a mistake. Back yourself.
My partner Liam Wallis, founder of HIP V. HYPE, is also a constant source of inspiration, encouragement and constructive criticism. The very house we live in was designed and built by Liam. Working in different areas in the property development industry is a great source of balance and allows us to constantly bounce ideas and challenge assumptions.
Q. Can you describe your approach to property development?
Every day is different, and presents new challenges and learning opportunities. As Sales and Marketing manager, I enjoy working with a team dedicated to delivering a high quality projects as promised to our purchasers. At Derby Place Kew, we are selling the project internally, which means we are able to have a direct relationship with each of our buyers. I enjoy gaining a strong understanding of what our purchasers are looking for in apartment living, what their priorities are, and the type of apartment will suit their lifestyle. We are able to offer our purchasers a strong line of communication, from sales, right through construction and into project completion.
Q. What current project are you working on for Crema Group?
Currently we are selling 78 high-end luxury residences in Derby Place, Kew. This project is of great significance to the Crema family as it was my grandfather who purchased and developed the site in the 1980s. He built the existing office building and retained the site. Now given how rapidly Melbourne is growing and developing, we are excited to re-imagine the site’s incredible potential. Located immediately next door to the Kew Recreation Centre, and less than a 5 minutes’ walk to the Kew Junction, Derby Place is perfectly placed for highly-connected apartment living without any compromise on size or quality.
We sold 65% of the apartments within 10 weeks of launching, almost exclusively to local Kew residents looking for a high quality home close to existing community and social networks. Two years away from project completion, we are already seeing a wonderful community start to form within the building. The feedback we are constantly receiving from our purchasers is they have finally found a project in Kew they are willing to sell the family home for.
Working closely with my brother, Nick Crema, who is the Development Manager, and my father Luch Crema, the Managing Director, we have a unique family working environment. Each of us are quite different, which forces us to question each others’ thinking, which I think ultimately leads to a better outcome. Our construction team, Crema Constructions, is also uniquely positioned to get involved in a Crema Group project right from the beginning, which has its benefits.
Q. How does Crema Group set itself apart from other developers?
Crema Group is a family business with a proud and rich history. Nonno Beppi started the company 65 years ago focusing on concrete formwork and terrazzo. We now have 8 Crema’s across two generations, continuing to drive growth and retain pride in the family name. The vertical integration of each of our companies, from development and sales, to construction, concrete, precast and structure, enables us to have a hands-on approach across the entire project, from beginning to end. I think our biggest strengths are our strong family values, our reliability, our commitment to quality, and our ability to build enduring relationships with our clients. The company has built a reputation on delivering quality projects over the past 65 years, and we will continue to contribute to our grandfather’s legacy into the future.
Q. How has being part of a family run business influenced the service you provide?
The Crema team take a very hands-on approach to business. We believe in providing our purchasers with genuine interactions with the family business. This means when you purchase into a Crema Group project, you get the true hands-on Italian family experience. Even Nonno Beppi’s wife Ada, affectionately known to all as Nonna, who is now 92 years old, still comes to our important company functions – including the launch of Derby Place this year. Our strength lies in our dedication to delivering quality projects we are proud of. This shows when purchasers repeatedly buy into our projects, including our employees. You could say this is quite unique in the property development industry in Melbourne.
Q. What interests do you have outside of property?
Since retiring from professional ski racing, I have been able to spend more time developing my passion for cycling, including road, mountain biking & cyclocross. Becoming an ambassador for Rapha and Giant has allowed me to actively encourage more women to get out and give cycling a go. Cycling is a great way to get outdoors, keep fit, spend time socially with friends, and a surprisingly useful way of keeping an eye on the ever changing Melbourne city form.
I still love spending time in the mountains. Ski touring and exploring the backcountry up at Mount Hotham most weekends during the winter months keeps the adrenaline pumping. My role as a contributing senior editor to Chillfactor Magazine and Hotham Magazine is also a great way to stay in touch with friends who are still competing, and keep in tune with the industry in general.