There is something so special about Anthony Dargenzio’s work. First of all, it’s beautiful and there’s no arguing with that. It’s new world meets old, it’s traditional, yet exciting. If you don’t already know, it’s our absolute pleasure to introduce you to the founder and creative genius behind Zio and Sons and This Old Hudson.
We’ve been following Anthony’s work for years, and we’ve loved every single thing he has touched. This week, we got to know Anthony even better by chatting with him about his journey in founding and growing Zio and Sons — and we are impressed, to the say the least. Anthony took a major leap of faith and left a stable career in New York City and pursued a creative path, leading him to exactly where he is now: founder of a creative agency that touches all facets of design, photography, content creation to real estate consulting. Anthony does it all, and does it all well.
His work ethic is one to admire — always searching for the next thing and building upon a business — which is exactly what he just did. He recently launched the Zio and Sons + Clé collection, which is what zellige dreams are made of and we wouldn’t mind if our entire homes were filled with it. We have all the gorgeous photos of the new tile used in photos below, so be sure to keep on scrollin’.
We love an entrepreneur who is always pushing the boundaries and is driven by doing better and better with every project, task, ask — and that’s Anthony. Take a seat and dive into our chat as we talk though the challenges of being an entrepreneur and talk pretty incredible advice that we’re considering tattooing on our forearms. Yes, it’s that good.
Tell us about the Zio and Sons journey. Start from the very beginning.
I have always loved design, photography and old things. Zio and Sons started as a passion project of sorts. In my spare time, after work and on the weekends, I restored antique furniture and collected vintage, home decor. Shopping flea markets or scooping up left art and furniture on the street, I worked in my studio, which was the basement of a women’s boutique in the Bowery.
The restoration aspect came easy to me since I have always loved working with my hands. I actually come from a linage of cabinet makers. My grandfather was a cabinet maker who had four sons and taught them the same.
I enjoyed restoring and selling, but it was very labor intensive and time consuming. I started to notice that people were becoming more drawn to the staging and vignettes I was creating. That lead to the next phase of Zio and Sons, which was Prop Styling. Styling lead to staging, creative direction, photography, and interiors. Social Media played a big role in my ability to showcase my work and growth.
Zio and Sons is so many things. It is now a full service creative agency from design to visual content development to real estate consulting. Did the company start this way or did it evolve over time?
I think that all people continually grow and change, learn from their mistakes and move on. I’ve been able to learn what works for my brand relatively quickly because I’ve remained open-minded to opportunities that have thankfully come my way. My creative path was carved out by listening to myself when it came to what I enjoyed and didn’t. I am always up for new challenges and taking risks as long as I can stay true to my passions. Of course, I’m always asking myself “What’s next?”
What were some of the biggest roadblocks you came across when you were first getting started?
There were so many roadblocks. Gaining the confidence to move on after each was a struggle in the beginning. Like many people starting their own unique business, financial backing was a big one. I realized that I needed to start small and that growing would have to take time. This is also how I learned to do so much on my own, I simply couldn’t hire a team. Looking back, I’m glad I now know how to successfully complete every step of my company’s processes.
Your company is continually evolving and you’re dabbling into so many exciting ventures, like Zio Zellige, your new tile collection with Clé Tiles. Tell us about this collaboration!
This is a really exciting time for my brand and myself, as a designer. This month, we launched the tile collection with Cle and it has been such a hit. I designed this product because I truly thought it was missing in the market. Of course, I wanted something that felt unique and highly custom. The collection allows for a one-of-a-kind, mosaic look, right out of the box. It saves time and money on installation since you don’t need to do all the cutting. The timeless color palette and classic pattern is full of unique texture and Old World charm. The Zellige Terracotta tiles are handcrafted in Morocco and work beautifully within varying home design styles.
It all began when I chose to work with Cle Tile on our kitchen and bath at This Old Hudson. This was early on for Zellige in the market, and I believe it really put that product on the map. Since designing my own tiles with them, I’ve been thrilled with the response and praise on social media and beyond.
How did you come about creating This Old Hudson? Was hospitality always part of the plan?
As an old home lover with a passion for design, launching This Old Hudson was a natural fit. I wanted to create an environment that our audience could experience and our clients could use as a backdrop. The interiors allowed me to showcase my vision on my terms, rather than producing for one of my clients. Since launching the original space (two weekend rental units), we have also completed our neighboring, sister property, This Old Hudson Residences. Now we can offer designer housing for long term living as well.
How would you describe your overall design philosophy?
Design is about aesthetic problem solving and no project is ever the same. A few guidelines that I tend to follow: 1. Stay true to the environment and surroundings. 2. Less is more. 3. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. 4. Add an inviting, warm element to the space when making your materials selections 5. Make it unique, which could be as simple as introducing an antique or vintage item to the room or going all out with a custom creation.
Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.
What advice would you give to an aspiring creative just starting out and looking to build a company and meaningful brand?
Growth takes time, patience, and a lot of work, don’t expect instant success. I have always loved this quote by Warren Buffet, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
What’s next for Zio and Sons?
We have some exciting brand expansions in the pipeline, which I can’t expand on right now. At the end of the summer, I’ll be taking a moment to pause and enjoy life and my family as my wife and I are expecting our first child in August. Although the new addition might mean changing my business name to Zio and Daughter.. ;)