After being let go as executive chairman of Men’s Warehouse, the company he founded, in 2013, George Zimmer founded Generation Tux a year later. Generation Tux offers convenient and low-stress suit rental services exclusively online.
“In lieu of going [to the] store, there are many advantages through Generation Tux, particularly for the bride who has so much going on around her wedding. Gen Tux is a load off her mind,” said Zimmer on the latest episode of the Glossy Podcast.
With 50 years of experience in the suit industry, Zimmer understands the desire to order your own wedding tuxedo from the comfort of your living room. Generation Tux’s concise shipping timeline — it delivers customers’ suits three weeks before an event — is also advantageous since it allows for last-minute changes.
But even with the online spending spree of the pandemic, the company has faced challenges. When the pandemic first hit, Generation Tux received government aid and managed to stay afloat. Two years later, it is reaping the benefits of the pandemic’s demand for accessible online fashion, with yearly revenue of $5 million.
Below are additional highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
The benefit of experience
“The big difference between now and [my time at Men’s Warehouse] is that I have made a lot of money already in my life. I’m not as driven by money as I was 50 years ago. That makes Generation Tux more enjoyable and relaxing, and less stressful. When I was fired at Men’s Wearhouse, I didn’t just ride off into the sunset, because I knew that if I could develop something, as I have, my maturity and wisdom would enable me to be more mellow as I went through [starting a business] the second time.”
Adapting with Covid-19
“[The pandemic] was really a once-in-a-lifetime event. I’ve been in business for 50 years, and I’ve never seen anything like the pandemic. Generation Tux was able to get government assistance. When it was darkest at Generation Tux was when our business had to be [temporarily] shut down. We were challenged to find opportunities for all of our employees or just continue to pay them, which is what we did. Fortunately, [the effect of the pandemic] seems to have changed after two years.”
Seeing a business idea through
“When you start a business, regardless of how good an idea you think you have, it’s going to take a few years to either become profitable or break even. You have to be able to stick with it for at least five years. In my experience, it was more than five years, both for Men’s Warehouse and Gen Tux. If I could go back and change anything, I probably would continue to have paid myself so I wouldn’t have had to reduce my ownership. [Then], when the board decided to get rid of me, I would have had the ability to resist.”