Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Montreal fashion boutique owner Joey Tozzi, who we caught up with to find out what inspired his business, where he loves to wine and dine in the city, and what advice he would share with other young professionals…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I’m the owner of a high-end retail store on Crescent named Tozzi, which caters to men and women looking for a one-stop shop to build the perfect wardrobe.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
After working in the industry for over 10 years I felt it was the next logical step. I had worked at all levels of the clothing industry and starting this company seemed to be a natural progression.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I feel very privileged to be surrounded by such great people, and working with them is the best thing that I do on a day-to-day basis. I really get a kick out of dealing with all of our suppliers, clients and coworkers. Even though my name’s on the door, it’s the combined effort of all these people that make us so successful.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
As a young entrepreneur it’s almost impossible to have a healthy work/life balance. I would say that a good indicator that this balance is off would be that I haven’t stepped foot in a gym in five years!
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
It’s hard to say where we’ll be in five years but as long as my team and myself continue to work hard, there’s no limit to how much we can grow this company. It’s important to me that we do it organically and that we always maintain an extremely high level of customer service.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
I would say the hardest thing was six years ago when I was trying to get a loan to start the business. Even after working for many years and having a healthy amount saved, it was extremely difficult to have a bank invest in a retail operation. Luckily I discovered a program for entrepreneurs under 30 called YES. They were able to help facilitate the process of getting a loan and offered great business advice.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
I think it’s simple; success is when you find something that you are really passionate about and you get to do it every day. Money definitely does not bring happiness. You could have all the money in the world but if you don’t have your health and a good support network with good friends and family, you’ll be very unhappy.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I would say that opening our women’s boutique last month, next door to our existing two men’s shops, was my most memorable milestone. I’m really proud that all the hard work and dedication has brought the company to where it is today.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
I would tell young professionals to not underestimate the importance of hard work. It’s important that you wake up very early every day, dedicate yourself, and give 100% to whatever you do in your life.
Where is your favorite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I think we’re very spoiled in Montreal. We have an endless list of great restaurants in the city. I love Central on Sherbrooke Street in Westmount, MBRG on Drummond downtown, or Bottega in Little Italy.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
There really is very little “me” time, but whatever free time I have away from the store I like spending time with my wife and family.
Where is your favorite place to travel? Why?
I haven’t travelled very much in my life, but one of the best trips I’ve ever been on was with my in-laws in Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s an amazing city with a great balance of outdoor activity, restaurants and shopping.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Michael Jackson’s “You Want to Be Starting Something.”
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I always had an interest in psychology; perhaps that could have been an interesting career path.
What to you is notable?
Someone who achieves their goals through a combination of hard work and a bit of luck.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
At the end of every season I give my entire wardrobe to the Salvation Army.
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