07 Jun Feature: Joey Tozzi, Founder of Boutique Tozzi
Reading time: 4 minutes
Fashion lover and expert clothing curator, Joey Tozzi is the founder of Boutique Tozzi. Located on Crescent street, this clothing store offers a contemporary style for modern professionals.
Keep reading to find out how Joey Tozzi runs his luxury boutique and what it took to start a clothing business in Montreal.
AZ: What inspired you to open a fashion boutique in Montreal?
JT: I’ve pretty much been in fashion my whole life. I started working in clothing when I was 16 in the warehouses on Chabanel. In my late teens I worked in boutiques including Dex and Benetton for a couple of years each.
My most relevant experience is from when I managed a store for 9 years called Duo. It’s a high end multi-brand store. After that I had enough experience to do my own thing.
I was 29 when I opened Boutique Tozzi and we started with casual menswear. A couple years later we branched out and did a formal menswear boutique downstairs. Then, three years ago we opened the ladies department. Now we have the three connecting boutiques.
AZ: What do you look for when choosing items to sell at Tozzi? How do you know they will sell?
JT: It’s a trial and error process. We get a solicitation everyday by people who come in to show us different lines. For us, we look for a complete package before we take on a brand. We have to see if the brand has the right image in terms of their social media, their online store and the products they’re selling.
It has to fit within our company and we have to be able to see our customers wearing the pieces from that brand. If it passes that test and if we’re passionate about the line then we bring it on.
A couple times a year we also travel to the big cities in the U.S. like LA, New York and Miami where we go to different department stores. Sometimes we get inspiration to bring on a line we saw in one of theses stores.
AZ: What is it about the fashion industry that attracted you the most at the start of your career?
JT: It’s just something that I’ve always done. I think it’s important to be well put-together. You obviously can’t base your opinion of someone only from what they wear but I do believe it plays a role in your first impression. I have an interest in clothing and was attracted to the industry from a young age.
AZ: What is your take on fashion trends versus contemporary style?
JT: I would say it’s 80/20 for us at Tozzi. We really focus on contemporary pieces and things that don’t go out of style. We want to make sure that people are buying quality goods that are well priced and that they can wear for multiple seasons. We don’t want people feeling they’re fashion victims when they come and shop with us.
However, we are still a fashion boutique. We want people to be aware of the trends, so we add a few trendy pieces to our collections. We’re very honest with our customers and we let them know if they’re trying on a seasonal piece or something more trendy.
AZ: Who inspires your taste in clothing?
JT: We get inspiration from the industry and seeing many different things. We’re always looking at the emails that come in from different brands who want to work with us and we’re constantly seeing look books.
We work 6 months ahead of time, so we always buy for the next season. That shapes the way we dress at the store, as we really absorb everything we’re seeing.
AZ: What fashion advice would you give to a young professional that’s never worn a suit before?
JT: Keep it simple. Stay away from black. A lot of people want a black suit because they think it’s basic. Black suits are very appropriate for weddings or funerals.
However, when you start your collection, you need a good navy suit or grey suit. If you’ve never worn a suit, build your basics and get yourself a nice blue shirt and white shirt, as well as a few good ties.
AZ: What fashion news websites or social media accounts do you enjoy following?
JT: From the business side of the company, I look at Retail Insider a lot to see what opens up in Montreal and what goes on in the fashion industry.
On social media, we follow brands like Vince and Rag & Bone to see what they’re doing. This helps us shape our own social media accounts. We also collaborate with influencers who have nice accounts like Kim Bruneau.
AZ: What can we expect from Tozzi in the following months?
JT: We work hard to bring nice brands for our three boutiques. We’re also in expansion, so we have a lot of ideas for our next project. We’re working on a flagship store or another ladies store but you’ll have stay tuned and see!