Brittany Zachos started designing interiors in school, at age 13 or 14.
That’s when her parents gave her free reign on their investment properties. It was her first real taste of design.
At age 18, she started studying interior design at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota. She had her first clients at 19. “The real world experience is how you really see what a budget is like,” she says. “You see business side of it, which is a big part of it.”
Zachos later moved to New York, started an interior design practice and for several years worked on a variety of residential and commercial projects.
Now Zachos has come home to Sarasota to open a second leg of her practice, teaming up with her family to start Zachos Realty and Design Group. Her father and brother, David and Ryan Zachos, will provide real estate services while Brittany Zachos brings the design credentials. The combo interior design and real estate business aims to be a one-stop shop for clients. The effort is also an everyday entrepreneurial lesson in something any executive could use: good time-management skills.
Her resume, for example, includes designing for episodes of the TV show “Property Brothers” on HGTV. Zachos says “Property Brothers” was a fun, high-energy experience. It also meant working on a tight schedule — six to seven weeks, start to finish. “They hire you, and they trust you to bring your aesthetic to the show,” she says. “There’s a lot of creative freedom.”
Time management will be even more pressing, now that she's running two offices more than 1,200 miles apart. It will require organization, focus and support from family members, she says.
“We use each others skill sets when needed,” Brittany Zachos says. “I think we have a similar process. We’re very client based. We want to make sure we’re taking care of them.”
Zachos worked with her father and brother before on a fashion line in New York, so she’s no stranger to family business dynamics. What’s key, she says, is taking the time to hear everyone’s vision and ideas.
“I don’t want to overextend myself. I’d rather take things that are special to me and that I can really focus on.” — Brittany Zachos, Zachos Realty and Design Group
While she helps run the Sarasota business, she’ll also continue working with clients in the New York area because there, she says, work is seasonal, with the busy time in the summer. In Sarasota, other times of the year are busier.
To get it all done, Zachos has tricks for structuring her weeks. She tries to answer emails in a block of time in the morning and uses other office time to do online research and order and review material samples. She designates Tuesdays and Thursdays for out-of-the-office work, like meeting clients and visiting job sites. “You have to tailor your day to execute everything you need to do," she says.
In Sarasota, she wants to work with clients on renovation projects, new construction and commercial jobs, including offices, multifamily buildings, restaurants and hotels.
“I don’t want to overextend myself,” Zachos says. “I’d rather take things that are special to me and that I can really focus on. I’m also being selective on projects that really work with our aesthetic.”
In New York, she honed her sense of design, mixing classic and modern elements, and got experience working on older buildings. “I think you really have to pay attention to what the building is,” she says. “Sometimes people erase the time period. That needs to be embraced.”
She says she’s looking forward to working with the wide range of design styles popular in Sarasota, from tropical to Mediterranean to modern. Zachos says, “We’re really excited to be back in Sarasota and work here in our hometown.”