Whether you are traveling to New York City to see local sights or want to become a tour guide yourself, we know a guy. Meet Dom Gervasi, owner and event organizer of Made in Brooklyn Tours. After being laid off, he transformed his career into tour guide and found joy and community in the midst. He sets up walking tours as events to sell more tickets and boost his revenue.
Brooklyn is packed with tons of local makers and Gervasi reveals that borough’s crafts, foods and goods. His walking tours focus on the history and current movement of manufacturing around Brooklyn.
Gervasi: Like many, I got laid off. I was in high tech for many years doing sales and business development. At the start of my career I worked for manufacturers—an “outside salesman” visiting mostly financial institutions throughout the New York metro region. By the end of my career, I was inside mostly and my company was going bankrupt. After losing my job, I took time off and explored Brooklyn with fresh eyes. I wondered why manufacturing left and then discovered Brooklyn’s dynamic maker movement. How cool would it be to apply my business development experience with local makers—especially small businesses and start-ups? That’s how I got the idea about doing tours where the stars of the show are makers.
Brown Paper Tickets: What is it about Brooklyn that fascinates you?
Gervasi: I’m fascinated with all aspects of Brooklyn’s maker movement. It has many layers. For example, there are the “old school” and “new school.” The “old school” is typically a family business that began decades ago primarily serving an ethnic community. They’ve been at it for generations and are very good at what they do. The “new school” is composed of individuals and start-ups that have a unique approach. What they may lack in experience, they make up for with their creativity.