Brittany Zachos, 26

Owner/Principal Designer, Zachos Design Group and Five Gentlemen

At The Tender Age of 19, Brittany Zachos was given $180,000 to completely furnish a 3,000-square-foot home in Sarasota, Florida, where she was attending the Ringling College of Art and Design. “I met a couple through a local builder I was working with who were moving from Norway to Florida and wanted their new house to be move-in ready,” Zachos explains, “so I handled everything for them: furniture, accessories, painting.”

Today, at 26, she’s managing corporate and residential design projects ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 square feet, with budgets as high as $1 million. In the past four years alone, her business has tripled, growing from 10 projects a year to 30. She offers services ranging from full working construction drawings to preliminary floor and furniture plans, as well as selection of materials and finishes.

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Her Zachos Design Group specializes in corporate interiors, and Five Gentlemen, another business she launched last year, caters to a male clientele. “Traditional interior design businesses target women rather than men,” Zachos explains. “After taking on a few male clients, I saw that these men needed to feel confident that someone understood masculine design and could incorporate the home technology they wanted into that design. I want to offer turnkey design fused with smart home technology, a market estimated to become a $50 billion industry by 2020.”

What’s in the future for Zachos? “I’m definitely looking to expand,” she says. “I’m interested in starting my own furniture and textile line. But I don’t want to be too busy. I still want to have my hand in every project.”