Heavy interviewed CEO and founder Joe Chay. Here’s what he told us about his clothing company that creates suits, shirts, jackets, trousers, tuxedos, casual button ups and ties for clients.
1. Joe Started at Astor & Black & Bought Them Out of Bankruptcy
Chay started in the custom clothing business at Astor & Black as a salesman and went on to become one of their top salesman company wide.
He broke away from Astor & Black after a private-equity takeover and, using the connections he made there, started Bello Verde in October of 2012. However, after his former company declared bankruptcy in August of 2013, he took a financial risk and bought it, because he wanted to restore the highly regarded brand.
2. They Come to You
Since their clients are “movers and shakers” Bello Verde will travel to their home or office. “It’s a perk for our clients…They don’t always have the time to break free from the office for a few hours to shop,” Chay said.
Their tailors, who they refer to as “professional clothiers,” don’t necessarily make the clothes themselves, but consult with clients about their wardrobe needs. The clothiers are armed with sales, clothing and styling knowledge.
In order to provide the best customer service possible, the company also offers accessories. “Any accessory you can think of to complete a wardrobe, we carry it. We don’t want them to get a great suit and then have to worry about shopping for shoes to match. We do it all,” he explained.
3. Experience Sets Them Apart
In his opinion, what makes the company stand out from their competitors is the fact that they’ve been in the business for so long. “When I started in this business almost 10 years ago, you didn’t have all the one-off custom guys that you see today,” Chay said. “The market has been saturated with everyone thinking they can make it sustainable and scalable, but we actually did it long before.”
Their suits fit diverse budgets, ranging in cost from $700 to $15,000, depending on the fabric. “We’ve made long-standing connections with our manufacturers and vendors which allows us to bring a luxury product to our consumers at a very reasonable price,” Chay said.
4. Dean & Uriah Are Brand Ambassadors
Dean Cain, best known for playing Superman on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and UFC fighter Urijah Faber entered the Tank with Chay.
When asked how the partnership came about, Chay explained that they are both his longtime clients. “Dean and Urijah are both good friends and clients of mine. They have been wearing the product for years. I think of them as brand ambassadors, really,” he said.
As for having them come along for the reality show, he said, “I asked them to help pitch with me because it further confirms our credibility.”
5. His Younger Brother Gave Him the Idea to Go on ‘Shark Tank’
As for how his appearance on the reality show came about, Chay gives his sibling the credit, saying:
My little brother actually gave me the idea. He’s a big fan of the show heard they were holding auditions in Columbus. I was hesitant at first and didn’t want to spend an entire day standing in line, but when we arrived, there was no line so I thought “Eh, why not?”. I made my pitch and apparently they not only liked the business, but my personality and energy as well. I guess I have a reality entertainment-like quality.