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Women Leadership Forum with Rosa Oriol, Co-founder and Creative Director of Tous

14/11/2013 (dd/mm/yyyy) | Barcelona

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"Companies are often the fruit of a dream or passion. Entrepreneurs must follow their dream and never stop following it". These are the words of Rosa Tous, founding partner and creative manager of Tous, during the latest in the "Women and Leadership" series of conferences organised by Banco Sabadell and ESADE Alumni.

This businesswoman, who founded the well-known jewellery and fashion accessories company Tous in conjunction with her husband  Salvador Tous, explained the early days and growth of the company. Other speakers at this event were Xavier Sanchez (Lic&MBA 97 / AMP 08), Director of ESADE Alumni, and Banco Sabadell chairman, Josep Oliu, who spoke about Oriol’s career as a businesswoman. In Oliu’s opinion, "the experience of Rosa and her husband, who managed to convert the shop in Manresa where they started out into an extremely well-known international company, is a case study that should be analysed by the world’s most outstanding business schools". 

Tous was created in 1920 and is now a multinational company with more than 400 shops around the globe. According to Oriol, this spectacular growth was possible, amongst other things, thanks to the founders’ great excitement about this project and their willingness to work all day (and many nights) for the company. 

Transferring company management to younger generations 

One of the questions Oriol focussed on was how to know when a family firm must cease to be run by a founder family member and start being run by a professional. "We took a long time to take this step but finally it was unavoidable. When a company grows a lot, you have to accept that it has to be run by professionals".

She also mentioned how important it is for company founders to know when decision taking must be transferred to the next generation. "This is another process that can become conflictive if it’s not handled well. Fortunately, I think we’re handling it really well in Tous".

Creative madness 

Finally she mentioned the good measure of "creative madness" that every entrepreneur needs. "Organisation, planning and orderliness are obviously necessary but life is not just mathematical. Companies are often the fruit of a dream or passion. Entrepreneurs must be able to follow their dream and never stop following it, even if people tell them it’s a utopia".


During this session, Rosa Oriol, Co-founder and Creative Director of Tous, will describe to us how she has experienced the company's evolution: as a woman, as a mother, as a businesswoman and as a visionary. In a warm, friendly manner, very much in line with the company's family values, she will explain the key stages and decisions in the brand’s expansion, allowing the audience to gain a real insight into the world of TOUS. A story of success, vision and hard work, not to mention a large dose of passion, which is now reflected in the company’s 400 shops spread around the globe. 

In 1965, after marrying Salvador TOUS, Rosa Oriol began a joint business project in the jeweller’s shop founded by Salvador’s parents in 1920. Immersed in her family life, Rosa started to design jewellery for her customers. The success of these first designs encouraged her to set up her own jewellery workshop. In 1985, during one of her trips, Rosa saw a teddy bear in a shop window and thought: "Why don’t I turn that into a piece of jewellery?" The TOUS bear has now become the brand's symbol. Since then, Rosa has created around 30 collections for the firm each year: a mixture of everyday jewellery, fashion jewellery and unique pieces. The family’s courageous, persevering approach has remained intact over the years. 

Since 1920, TOUS has created a style of jewellery that is unique in the world, based on the gem-fashion concept with an eye-catching, fresh style.   In addition to jewellery, the company’s core business, TOUS also produces a wide range of accessories: handbags, watches, perfumes, sunglasses, textiles and leather goods. 

Family run, this international company has a presence in 42 countries with over 350 stores, and owes its success both to the novel design of its creations and the innovative style of the firm's 30 annual collections, which are crafted using different metals and precious stones and designed to suit every occasion.  The company’s unique management model, based on flexibility and quality, together with their way of understanding trends – design and style – has allowed them to achieve rapid international expansion and ensured the huge popularity of their various product lines. 

Josep Oliu, Chairman of Banc Sabadell

Presentation of the speaker and chairing of the discussion:
Xavier Sanchez (Lic&MBA 97 / AMP 08), Director of ESADE Alumni

Rosa Oriol, Co-founder and Creative Director of TOUS

Closing speech:
Josep Oliu, Chairman of Banc Sabadell

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