Growing While “Bearing” Their Family Traditions
“Chic” and “adorable” are not often used to describe the same thing. But they’re just the terms for TOUS, the iconic jewelry company whose chic lines of lifestyle accessories and adorable icon, the TOUS bear, have made them one of the world’s most successful jewelers. The Spanish company boasts an impressive footprint here in New York, with shops in Rockefeller Center, on Broadway in SoHo, and in the new World Trade Center, it’s impossible to venture out in any of the top shopping neighborhoods in the city without being tempted by their artful accessories and instantly recognizable bear.
Shopping for Mother’s Day? The tender TOUS bear is available in a dizzying assortment of baubles and bangles. As co-owner Rosa Tous explains, “I saw a teddy bear in a shop window, and I thought that it would be beautiful to transform it into a jewel. It brings pleasant memories…and our mission is to link those memories with the pleasure of giving.” First introduced in 1985, the TOUS bear quickly became an internationally recognized emblem, embodying a youthful awe and breathing freshness and whimsy into the luxury brand. The best recognized is the “Bubble” bear, introduced in 2009; it marked the symbol’s biggest creative development ever and proudly represents TOUS today in more than 45 countries.
But the TOUS brand is far more seasoned than its relatively new ursine ambassador: it was founded in 1920 as a humble family watch shop in Manresa, Spain, but found its stride under the guidance of co- owners Rosa Oriol and Salvador Tous in the 1960s. They married in 1965, inheriting the family business, and quickly took steps to differentiate the brand from other luxury jewelry lines. By 1970, Rosa was custom-crafting jewelry for their customers; since then, the affordable-luxury brand has added handbags, perfumes, watches, glasses, and other accessories. Thanks to their pioneering efforts, TOUS catapulted from a cult- classic Spanish line into international stardom. Today, Gwyneth Paltrow is a proud spokesmodel for TOUS, which is carried on five continents and in more than 500 stores.
Now under the leadership of chairwoman Alba Tous, the daughter of Rosa and Salvador, the brand continues to grow – and to win new fans. Their playful Friends & Fans Days, held in June, offer discounts on the brand’s many lines, as well as free gifts with purchases and playful raffles. As Alba Tous says, “our mission is to keep delighting our customers with creativity, design, and innovation, yet without losing our essence and values.”
Those values are immediately evident in the quality of craftsmanship of each TOUS piece. The Spring/Summer 2017 collection includes colorful gems in the shape of the signature TOUS bear, encircled by a silhouette-hugging frame and enclosed within a hoop of pink vermeil silver. Strung from a chain of beads to match the gemstone bear, such as amazonite or rhodonite, it’s a colorful medallion that is at once recognizable and nicely unique, available in a rainbow of on- trend colors. As with the custom pieces that Rosa crafted decades ago, each TOUS piece can be personalized by pairing a medallion with a chain or integrating unexpected textures, such as leather or titanium.
Looking beyond their jewelry lines, TOUS prides themselves on practical-yet-elegant watches, many adorned with their subtle bear symbol, as well as a thoughtful collection of handbags in premium leather and other materials. They also offer colorful umbrellas, premium mosaic pens, and fun key rings – in their bear shape, of course, but also colorful leather crabs and butter ies, among many other animal designs.
Like the products themselves, the act of shopping for a TOUS gift (even for yourself!) is distinctive and luxe. Attentive associates are carefully trained to speak knowledgeably about the brand’s many offerings, and their innovative “after sales” team provides support and even outreach long after a purchase is completed to ensure your continuing satisfaction and delight. It is in keeping with the company’s family-driven ethos to extend the utmost care to shoppers, including workshop service to repair and adjust pieces, cleaning, maintenance, and of course, the custom orders that were the building blocks of the brand’s contemporary success. Their recognizable oval boxes, available in a small rainbow of pastels, make delightful gifts, and their brand reaches from adult women all the way down to an exclusive baby line that, of course, prominently features the TOUS bear.
Chic and adorable, indeed.