This is the latest entry in a series called Who Owns That. We've asked readers on our LinkedIn group to identify their favourite small businesses from across Canada, and we track down the owners so they can tell us their stories. Their answers are edited.
Introducing Matt Masciangelo, CEO and lead designer of Masciangelo Design Inc., based in Toronto.
Q: Let's start with the basics. Can you briefly describe your business, including when it was founded, what it does, and where you operate?
A: Founded in Oct. 2010, Masciangelo Design is a cutting-edge clothier that designs exclusive seasonal collections as well as complete custom bespoke wardrobes or single pieces for the titans of all industries.
The collection comprises suits, sport jackets, trousers, shirts, overcoats, tuxedos, vests, and accessories – all one of a kind. In the tradition of bespoke tailoring, our company's vision is to provide flawless fitting garments, proudly handmade and tailored in Toronto, with the finest attention to detail, from an exclusive collection of limited-edition fabrics from the world's most luxurious mills.
We currently operate primarily in Toronto, but are extending our services due to the demand in Calgary, Vancouver, and New York in the second half of the year.
Q: What inspired you to be an entrepreneur and to branch out on your own with this idea?
A: I have always been an entrepreneur as a kid and it is in my blood. I learned the trade under the rigorous tutelage of my uncle, Lou Myles, a world-renowned master tailor credited with bringing the drape to North America, who made suits for Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, to name a few of many. I also learned from another master tailor named Franco Guccione who has been a tailor from age 10 in Italy (he is now 77) and Manuel Martinez a famous tailor in Baton Rouge, U.S.
After I finished my studies at the University of Guelph-Humber, my uncle was at my grandma's where I was living at the time, and said he was looking for someone to help him. I went to his store in Vaughan and saw the beautiful suits and fell in love with them. I began my career as an apprentice diligently acquiring the skills and knowledge in the sartorial art of custom tailoring. He taught me how to measure, design, and to perfect the technique of exquisite fittings through specific individualized measurements, as well as the right type of fabric and style to recommend for a given client based on their specific situation (profession, body type, image etc).
Q: Who are your typical customers, and how do they find you?
A: We target professionals at the top of their field, people who wear suits on a daily basis, often lawyers, bankers, and sports and entertainment titans. We are personal tailors, designers, andconsultants for our clients who include many of Canada's top CEOs, executives, professionals, and highly regarded individuals, giving expert advice based upon how to dress based on their body-type, profession, lifestyle, and most importantly, the image they wish to project to the world.
Most of our business is generated by word-of-mouth and referrals. When people see a well-dressed man or woman people see this and ask, where do you get your clothes? I have received many calls from people meeting our clients in elevators giving complements and our clients feel good about this.
Our studio showroom is located in the heart of Yorkville, by-appointment only. We have gone to our clients houses sometimes at midnight to honour a deadline – we will do what it takes to make the suits perfect and deliver them on time. Our clients are busy, successful people, and that often have meetings or events to attend so we can't be late and always make it priority to make deadlines.
Q: What are the roles of you and your co-founder in the business? Do you have any employees?
A: I lead the management and operations of the company and established its vision. I have the design expertise necessary to resolve the unique challenges of virtually any body type, and deliver my service at the highest professional level.
My partner Ameer Ali is the executive vice-president and senior design consultant and handles the company's marketing, business development and recruiting. He took his love of fine clothing and business acumen to create the expansion of the Masciangelo brand globally.
The company currently employs 15 people including design consultants, tailors, administration, executive assistants, marketing, and operational managers.
Q: You've been identified by one of our readers as a standout business. What do you consider the key element of your success?
A: We believe that if we go the extra mile for clients; consistently exceed their expectations, and offer unmatched customer service, the company's success will continue to follow.
In addition to the convenience of purchasing your clothes from the comfort of your own office or home, our clothes are handmade in Toronto, and are built to last a long time. A suit should be noticed by the silhouette and fit – this is our prime focus. A client of mine the other day said he was walking into a board meeting and everyone commented on how good he looked and thought he was now working out, he mentioned that it is a new suit and the cut makes him appear as if he has a perfect figure. This is what makes us stand out and differentiates us from other tailors. Our goal is to make an individual appear as if they have a perfect figure and we do this by using a series of special measuring techniques and tools.