Spanish jewelry company Tous, based in Barcelona, was founded in 1920 by husband and wife team Salvador Tous Blavi and Teresa Ponsa Mas. What started as a small watchmaker business eventually became a jewelry company. In 1961, their son, Salvador Tous married Rosa Oriol, and they both became part of the family business, which they later inherited (in 1965).
In 1990, they opened their first Barcelona store, and it was a hit from the start. In the mid-90s, they decided it was time to expand the business outside of Spain, and started with Japan and Germany. It turned out to be a good decision – they were very successful in both places – and the company kept expanding. Today, Salvador and Rosa still run the company, together with their four daughters. They employ around 1850 people, and have close to 400 stores in 42 countries.
Tous is famous for its teddy bear jewelry; it has almost become the company’s unofficial logo. The idea to use the teddy bear image in jewelry was born in 1965 when Rosa was inspired by a collection of teddy bears in a shop window she happened to walk by. The first one was made from gold, and today, the Tous bear pieces and images can be found in almost all their collections: as charms, on rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings, on watches, bags, sunglasses, even imprinted in some of their cosmetics.
Apart from the teddy bears, the jewelry consists of several different collections and many styles in a variety of materials: Earrings, rings, bracelets, necklaces, cuff links, charms, pendants, and chokers in sterling silver, gold, stainless steel, Murano glass, enamel, leather, diamonds, semi-precious stones, and pearls. They release between 5 and 8 new collections every year, and have also added a myriad of other products to their jewelry lines: handbags, perfume, watches, baby clothes, cosmetics, etc.
What About Charms?
In addition to their many different pre-made charm bracelets (and a few charm rings), they have a collection of charms with a whole new attachment method they call “toric joint”. The charm bracelet (and rings and earrings) come with a number of “fasteners” already attached (they look like little bells almost), and the charms have a ball-like extension up top, and you just snap the ball into the fastener. And when you want to switch charms, you just remove it.
Tous selects different celebrities to be the “image” of the brand – previously it was Kylie Minogue, and this spring (2011), it is Jennifer Lopez.
Their recent work with Manolo Blahnik is a celebrity collaboration of a different kind (and one that I love). Together, they have created pendants in the image of Blahnik’s famous 1994 Campari shoes (one of the styles Carrie Bradshaw wore in Sex and the City), complete with the MB label on the insole! The pendants are totally adorable and come in sterling silver, 18k gold (with a diamond button) and vermeil. There are also a miniature pair in sterling silver. Prices range from $155 to $1,499.
What does the future hold for the company? Further expansion, both when it comes to locations, jewelry and other product lines. The new spring/summer 2011 jewelry editions include the gorgeous Protégeme collection designed by Eugenia Martinez de Irujo (a.k.a. the Duchess of Montoro) which has a wonderful earthy, unpolished zen look (she is currently working on the Fall/Winter 2011 collection, can’t wait to see it!), the adorable and practical DAI collection, which consists of mirrored pieces with a Japanese flower design, and the colorful sterling silver and enamel Ganesh collection.
All photos: Tous