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Real Women, Real Money Talk: Q&A with Kerry Wellington

By Maridel Reyes

  • PUBLISHED December 28
  • |
  • 3 MINUTE READ

Working in advertising and marketing in New York City, Kerry Wellington had a lot of hotel clients—and fell in love with hospitality. 

Her first foray into real estate was purchasing a building in midtown Manhattan with a hotel developer. “It was a big process,” she recalls. “By the end of the day, the sellers knew more about me than I did.”

After that deal was sealed and the hotel became popular, she was hooked. But prices in Manhattan were soaring, so Wellington looked elsewhere. She found a property in Nyack, NY, a town less than 30 miles away from New York City. There were no boutique hotels in the area, and the price was right. Two years ago, The Time Nyack opened, along with the casual steakhouse BV’s Grill inside. “I love design, and I love creating a space that people want to return to,” she says. 
Here’s what she’s learned about money through the years:

 

What do you spend too much money on?
“I love shoes, and I love good food. That’s my problem. I have too many shoes—especially heels and really good tennis shoes. I also love going out to restaurants and ordering more ‘difficult’ foods like sushi and raw foods—really fresh stuff. And champagne.”
 
What do you spend too little on?
“Vacation. Meditation. There’s too many things I love to do, like gyrotonics, a type of workout based in principles of yoga, dance, tai chi and swimming. But I find myself working all the time. It’s hard to get away. It’s even tough for me to get a manicure because I’m on my phone all the time—everyone’s calling me. So I’ve learned to do my own nails. I’m trying to make self-care a focus, because it’s helpful to recharge.”
 
What’s your biggest money regret?
“When I bought my first building in New York, I wish I had a better, more established business partner. But hindsight is 20/20 and you move on. For the hotel in Nyack, I was overleveraged. I put all my eggs in one basket, and I don’t think anyone should do that. You should have your eyes and finances open for other interests to come along. You always have to have a nest egg. You need to be liquid. In business, there are always ups and downs. But the downsides always make you stronger. I’ve learned so much more when things don’t work out than when they work out completely as I imagined. Setbacks make you smart with your decisions and wise with your money.”
 
What money moves do you feel most proud of?
“To purchase a building in Manhattan—I was a minnow going into a pool of sharks. When you’re dealing with that much money, it’s a scary situation. It was so stressful, like a puzzle I needed to figure out. But I believed in it, and I knew I could make it work. When the deal finally went through, I was ecstatic.”

 

Maridel Reyes is a journalist based in New York. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, the New York Post, USA Today and the Boston Globe.

Photograph by Ubab Mamina.

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