A small teddy bear might seem like an unlikely hero – but the emblem has now become synonymous with Catalan family business Tous, helping it transform from a small business to international jewellery and accessory brand favoured by the stars
Barcelona family business Tous started as a small watch repair shop, opened by husband and wife team Salvador Tous Blavi and Teresa Ponsa Mas. Little by little, the small business, based in the industrial district of Manresa, ventured into jewellery. In 1965, the founders' recently married son, Salvador Tous, and his wife, Rosa Oriol (pictured), took over the family business. The couple's four daughters – Rosa, Alba, Laura and Marta – joined the jewellery and accessories company between 1987 and 1992. Marc Bernadich, entrepreneurship and family business professor at Central University of Catalonia, Manresa, says Tous and Oriol are involved in day-to-day operations and also oversee the company's strategic direction. The couple regularly represents the company internationally.
The Tous brand is synonymous with the stylised bear created by Oriol in 1985. Oriol says she was inspired by a teddy bear in a shop window that caught her attention one day and bought back memories of her childhood. “Even though we are continuously creating new collections, the teddy bear is always present in different shapes and forms,” Oriol explains on the company website. Tous has a high degree of vertical integration and takes pride in sourcing raw materials from ethical sources. Eighty per cent of products on offer are crafted in Tous's own workshops. In terms of the creative process the company is involved in research and development, design, manufacturing, distribution and sales.
Tous opened its first international store in 1996, and Bernadich explains that, while Spain is still a very important market for the company, it has weathered the country's economic woes because of its strong international presence. Bernadich says the brand is able to set itself apart in several ways: a unique design that consumers associate with the brand; accessible pricing that represents good value for customers; and careful attention to the brand's message and image. International celebrities Kylie Minogue and Jennifer Lopez have acted as Tous ambassadors. Third-gen Rosa is corporate vice-president, an active brand ambassador on social media and a strong contender to succeed her parents at the company's helm.