When it comes to the housewives, I feel that the OG’s are always the best. During the first season of RHONJ we met the Manzo family who quickly went on to become Bravo royalty. The tight knit Jersey clan went on to star in their own spin off show titled, Manzo’d With Children which chronicled their daily life, including Chris and Albie’s business ventures. When we heard that Albie was getting involved with a new business, AllAboutTRH had to reach out to get the exclusive scoop and, of course, we managed to squeeze in some gossip as well.
Thanks for catching up with us! It’s been awhile since you’ve been in the spotlight – How have you been?
It’s been great to be honest with you. After the show ended, I really wanted to take a break and just be private, but I’ve actually been the busiest I’ve ever been. I really love all the different projects I’ve got going on right now, so it’s been fun.
We saw that you recently made an announcement about your newest business – can you tell us about that?
I operate as a business development agency/consulting firm. I’m really proud to say that every client and partner I’ve had has reached out to me, I never had to reach out to them and I take pride in that. You guys saw some of the projects that we worked with on ‘Manzo’d,’ but it’s been fun to see some of the things that have come my way and see which ones I want to get involved with. I always say I have to really love the idea and the people I work with because problems are guaranteed. You are definitely going to run into challenges so you really have to pick each other up, be there on a consistent basis and have faith that together you guys will figure it out.
So what stood out to you about ‘bloom & birch’ that made you want to get involved?
Bloom and Birch was founded by my friend who contacted me about a year ago regarding the business. She was telling me about her son getting sick and was sent flowers. The flowers were a symbol of encouragement and strength and she wished that she could keep them forever. She ended up creating this brand, under a different name at the time, that preserved flowers that can last for over a year. There’s no water or sunlight needed. They go through a preservation process so that lush, fresh look maintains. I loved the product, I thought it was gorgeous and really wanted to get involved.
The pictures look beautiful – other than the preservation, what makes them so special?
To me, when you’re giving the gift of flowers it’s for some bigger moment. Having something that stays in your life for more than a few weeks was a great concept. From a relationship aspect of things, these are the type of flowers you give to someone you love. This isn’t an “in like” flower:
So how involved are you with the company?
This is not an endorsement deal. I was involved with everything down to the name. I actually came up with the name ‘bloom & birch.‘ I am working on this every single day and am involved intimately with the operations.
From a business standpoint, do you feel that being involved with a reality show has helped or harmed you with your projects?
I decided, for me, that I wanted to live life not based on other peoples’ opinions. I’m also not the type of person to constantly be like ‘look how hard I’m working’ – you just do the work. For the last decade I’ve had so many people chiming in on all aspects of my life, so when it came to this I just wanted to do it for me and the people I care about. My philosophy has always been to keep your head down, go to work and don’t play into the noise.
As a businessman, is there any Bravo housewife that you appreciate for their ‘hustle’ or their entrepreneurial spirit?
I don’t pay as much attention to the Bravo stuff since we left so I really couldn’t say. When I look at housewives, I will say that I have a lot of love and a lot of respect for the Wakiles. I really admire people that come from a good place, put their heart and soul into things and work hard to make things happen. I have an appreciation for authenticity and that’s what they are.
I guess you answered my next question! I was going to ask you if you still watch RHONJ and what you think of this season:
(Laughs) No, no I haven’t. Is that weird?
Well, you may not be their ideal demographic so not exactly weird. Looking back, would you say the show was it a positive experience for you and your family?
When I look back on it as an experience I can genuinely say that there are no regrets. I think we came out as good as anyone could come out. I think it says a lot about my mom, the type of person she is and how proud we are of her. We’ve always been ourselves and that’s been good and bad. We didn’t buy into the BS but at the same time, if you want to be on that show for a long time you kind of have to. It’s a different environment and decision for each person but I’m happy where life is, and as an experience, we did have a lot of fun.
Is there anything you miss about being in front of the cameras?
The podcast, ‘Dear Albie’ kinda scratched that itch. The thing I missed most about being on TV was that personal connection to the audience. When we launched (the podcast) I was terrified. I felt like we were just going to get ripped apart, but the reaction ended up being amazing. It was so wild because it’s been a complete reverse. The last ten years people were looking into our lives and telling us what they think and now we are looking into their lives. It’s a complete role reversal and has been amazing.
Would you ever return to reality TV? It not on Bravo, perhaps a ‘Shark Tank’ type of show?
If something came up that made sense, yes. I’ll say that you may hear something soon. I really don’t like saying that, it’s such a stupid thing to say, but let’s just say that something is happening. You’ll know in the next couple of months.
Well we will keep an eye out for it! Since we are being nosy, I have to ask. Are you dating anyone at the moment?
(Laughs) I had ten years of you guys knowing every little thing and I got to be honest, I kinda like the privacy that has come into my life. I’ll just say that I’m very, very happy at the moment.
Fair enough. So how is your family doing with the arrival of your niece Markie?
Everyone’s been doing great, Markie has just been the greatest addition. I thought we were a tight family before, then that kid showed up and we’ve gotten even closer. It’s wild to see her grow and it’s changed the dynamic as me and my sister are now the closest that we’ve ever been.
It’s fun to see my parents as grandparents. It’s crazy how your brain changes, just seeing them in that role and how great they are. Any little boy wants to be like his dad and when I look at everything my dad built, at the end of the day what he was best at was being a dad. It’s been my personal ambition to do that as well but I also have the patience and respect to do it right. Seeing how great my parents are (with Markie) makes me want to go in that direction someday.
Special thanks to Albie Manzo for taking the time to speak with us here at AllAboutTRH. You can check out ‘bloom & birch’ by clicking here. You know we will be following and reporting on that secret project Albie has coming up so stay tuned 😉