01 You seem to be a man of many talents. Can you tell us a little more about your background and a brief history of how you first began crafting the beautiful knives that have become a signature part of your collection?
I originally went to school for advertising, but as a creative in the industry I was never satisfied. I felt like I was a small cog in a big machine, so I got out. When I moved from Milan to NY I started working with talented local chefs, helping them create the visual identities for restaurants such as Buvette, an acclaimed restaurant with locations in New York and Paris, and the Bedford Post Inn. At that time, I started making handmade leather bags for myself and friends. I was still learning and knocking on doors, seeking advice about the craft and process. Only after that did I start making my first knives, which, partnered with the bags, acted as a sort of picnic-themed traveler's pack that I easily incorporated in my NYC lifestyle. In 2013, I introduced a small collection exclusively for Bedford Post, a charming inn with two restaurants owned by Richard Gere, and soon after I developed a whole line.
02 You also make bags and blankets as part of a travel or picnic story - what other products would you like to see fill out the collection?
I'd like to keep it very sharp and simple, but I think old-school corkscrews with the similar handles as the knives will be next.
03 How have your Brazilian and Italian roots shaped your sense of style and has living in NY (Brooklyn) influenced your approach to design at all?
After some time living in NY I started looking back at the simple things, the inspiration, that I once had in my life in Brazil. The simplicity and rusticity of Southern Brazil's raw elements inspired me, (the leather, horn and bone, for example). From Italy, it was the quality of products that served as an inspiration. New York helped me polish the roughness of my products and refine them. I think the New York Times said it best, I think of Poglia as "a throwback to simpler days for the modern man."
04 What are some of your favorite local places to eat/shop/drink in New York?
Via Carota for an authentic Italian meal.
Buvette for breakfast.
Hotel Delmano for drinks.
Montana's Trail House for a brunch in my hood.
Modern Anthology's neighbor, Front General Store, to shop for vintage clothes, one of my passions.
05 We have to ask about your Instagram, as every image is extraordinarily 'drool worthy'. What elements are most important to you when deciding what to shoot and share with social media? Any tips?
For me the key is consistency. My Instagram is a reflection of my daily life with a hint of product and storytelling. It's where I am and what I'm doing, but a try to keep the same aesthetic in mind.
06 We understand that the knives are made from old agricultural disk plows. What else can you tell us about the material and process that goes into fabricating each piece?
The idea behind Poglia is to preserve the natural imperfections and enhance each piece's character and individuality. Having said that, no two Poglia knives are the same. Each blade is hand-drawn and forged from repurposed steel, cut mostly from reclaimed disk plows. It's the same for bags, no two are the same. They're made of one piece of vegetable tanned leather, nearly one half of a skin. That means less seams and improved overall durability. Each bag retains markings from the original skin. Every scratch or abrasion is a memory that enriches the product and gives it a distinct, timeless edge. This adds beauty and style to the quality of the Poglia products. A family business in my hometown contributes Poglia's loom-woven blankets, while a trio of craftsmen makes the knives in my workshop in the South of Brazil.
07 Do you cook or have a favorite food to accompany your knife collection? Do you want to share a recipe with us?
I love to grill so a little outdoor space in NY was always a must. Even when cooking I like to keep it simple, almost everything will taste good on the grill with a splash of olive oil and a bit of sea salt. For summer nights my favorite is to make a whole branzino (seabass) filled with lemon or fresh herbs, or whatever I have on my balcony in the moment.
08 Traveling as frequently as you do, what defines 'home' for you?
Home is where my mind is at the moment. Most of the time it's New York where I lay my hat.
09What have been some of the more rewarding as well as challenging aspects of transforming Poglia & Co from a passion project into a business for you?
The most rewarding thing was that I didn't have a real plan for Poglia, and yet everything happened organically. The biggest challenge has always been the same: to grow with strong roots and raise a brand that will last. I don't want to be a trend, but a timeless classic.
10 What's on the horizon (professionally or personally) that you're most excited about in the months ahead?
Professionally, I'm excited to launch Poglia in Japan (I'm about to release a collection for Old Joe Japan) and to work in different coutrnies and cultures while maintaining the same lifestyle that Poglia is about. On the personal side, I'd like to keep exploring my new life in Brooklyn and continue making new friends along the way.
11 Max's tips to care for Poglia & Co knives:
Never expose your Poglia knife to extreme changes in weather. All materials are natural and will react in different ways.
Hand wash only. Dry well and if needed, lubricate with mineral oil.
To keep your knife sharp in NY, I recommend Westpfal Henry & Company at 115 W 25th Street.