Tiffany Harris, left, and Brandi Hawkins launched Harris Hawkins & Co., a Black woman owned boutique brokerage in Baltimore City, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photos by George Tarrant)

By Michelle Richardson
Special to the AFRO

Owning a home is a part of the American dream, but the founders of Harris-Hawkins & Co. set out to own the home buying process. Founded in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, owners Tiffany Harris and Brandi Hawkins created Harris-Hawkins & Co. (HH&Co.), a Black and woman owned boutique brokerage in Baltimore City. 

With the principle of “collaboration over competition” as their guiding light, Harris and Hawkins aim for diversity and inclusion. “The goal is to create a space for agents that we can develop. We want a brand to be inclusive in that we can all work together while finding success individually,” Harris explained to the AFRO. “Our goal is to service the public in a way that we are offering a level of customer service that is out of this world, no matter if you’re purchasing an investment property that is $90,000 or $500,000. You receive a red carpet experience from the beginning to the end and even after your transaction,” she added.  

With a combined 18 years of experience in the industry, Harris and Hawkins had the idea of starting their own real estate team. 

“About three or four years ago, both Brandi and I were at a brokerage and we discussed franchising with them. Long story short, we were told that we couldn’t do it and that we weren’t ready to do it. The last thing you want to tell either Brandi or I is that we can’t do something.”

HH&Co. may seem like an overnight success to those on the outside looking in, but there were challenges for the Baltimore natives, especially because of COVID-19. 

“It was interesting opening in the middle of a pandemic, we weren’t deemed essential employees, at first, but people in our industry advocated and that changed. Brandi and I are very spiritual and we felt like God was telling us this is your time to move, despite everything that’s going on so we remained consistent, made adjustments and utilized that time to focus on what it was going to look like for us,” Harris said.

Aside from the challenges of navigating through the global pandemic, both Harris and Hawkins also faced discrimination as Black women business owners. 

“It’s very hard for people to accept. We’re questioned a lot about our capabilities, and I think it all comes down to the fact that we’re Black and we’re women. We’ve been on listing appointments and people will meet with us and question ‘You own the company?’” Harris admitted. 

Keeping the community at the forefront of their decision-making, Harris and Hawkins launched initiatives like HH&Co. University, exclusive to HH&Co. agents, which provides them with resources and other opportunities for self development. HH&Co. also formed a partnership with local high schools to get the youth involved in real estate conversations early. 

“We wanted to let teens know that you can purchase real estate. You and your friends can get together and purchase a multi-unit. The pandemic kind of slowed it down, but we really hope to get back to that whether it’s virtual or in-person.” 

HH&Co. is just getting started, and they’ve already secured a second location. Both Harris and Hawkins demonstrate what it means to passionately pursue your purpose and to truly prioritize collaboration over competition.

To learn more about Harris Hawkins & Co., check them out on Instagram @harrishawkinsandco, or visit their website at