Joseph Genuardi, owner of Genuardi Master Tailor, a hand-tailored custom clothing shop in Hoboken, took first place in the recent Quick Pitch Business Competition, sponsored by UCEDC, a statewide nonprofit economic development corporation and Capital One Bank.
The Quick Pitch Competition is designed to give fledgling entrepreneurs a chance to hone their business ideas with the help of experts from the Bank. The competition is open to anyone who has graduated from UCEDC’s “Entrepreneurship 101” training program. Four finalists were eligible to win cash prizes from Capital One.
After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, Genuardi spent a five-year apprenticeship learning classical hand-tailoring skills from an internationally renowned master tailor. In 2011 he joined one of the largest and most esteemed made-to-measure clothing makers in the world, where he was tailor to famous actors, sports stars and both President Obama and now President-Elect Trump.
By the summer of 2016, Genuardi was ready to open his own bespoke men’s clothing shop on Observer Highway in Hoboken where he could maintain his meticulously high standards of hand-production. While confident in his tailoring skills, he knew his start-up would be a challenge.
“I became a master tailor by training with the best and I knew I had to do the same when it came to running a business,” says Genuardi. “UCEDC’s Entrepreneurship 101 workshop was like a 6-week apprenticeship in business finance and operations and every session was an eye-opener”.
As a finalist in the Quick Pitch Business Competition, Genuardi was paired with a mentor from Capital One – Susan Castano, Market Sales Executive – who helped him prepare his five-minute pitch for the final competition. “Working with Joseph was an absolute delight. His passion and his knowledge about his business made my part very simple. It was obvious to me that he had a very strong chance to win.” said Castano.
Genuardi’s hard work and mentor’s support paid off: he was named the top winner by an independent judging panel. One reviewer observed: “This is a great business. Your skills and strategy are exemplary.” Another appreciated Genuardi’s understanding of his market. “You clearly identified what makes your business unique.”
“Small business is the backbone of our local economy – when small businesses do well, jobs are created and communities are strengthened,” said Chris Economides, Senior Vice President Business Banking at Capital One Bank. “At Capital One, we’re committed to helping small businesses of every size grow and thrive – whether it’s directly through our products and services, or through innovative programs and partners like UCEDC.”
Genuardi was awarded $2,000 by Capital One, which he’s reinvested into his venture. But the real prize is what he got out of the experience, he says. “The process of building my presentation and then editing and refining it was challenging but ultimately very rewarding. Thanks to UCEDC and Capital One, I have a much better understanding of what it takes to run a sustainable small business .”
Learn more about Genuardi Master Tailor.