Juan Terrer, founder and CEO of Tom Black
It is 16:00 and Juan Terrer warmly welcomes us at Tom Black’s headquarters, located on C/Segre surrounded by Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. It caught our attention that your back office team is able to work without making hardly any noise, giving us the first impression that they are meticulous workers. Juan took us to one of the rooms where they make their clients feel special – the place where they offer personalized attention to whomever visits the store. Whenever we enter this room, we immediately can feel the detail-oriented atmosphere.
We like to start our interviews by always asking the same question… Do you drink coffee?
JT.- Yes, I love it. I take it warm with milk; I’m not a person until I have my morning coffee. In the office, each team member has his or her own personalized mug – mine is big and red.
How did Tom Black originate?
JT.- Since I was young, I’ve been a very ambitious person. Before starting Tom Black, I had already started another company that had nothing to do with retail Tom Black came about when I was finishing my career when, for no reason at all, I was inspired by the idea of creating a company that sold men’s suits online. I have always been very keen of marketing. They say that when you are in the process of creating a new project, you are in the phase of falling in love, just as it sounds… (laughs). That is exactly what happened to me, I took a leap of faith and asked for a 40,000€ loan from ENISA. With the money, I began searching for fabrics and suppliers. I had no knowledge of fabrics or clothing – I had never made a suit in my life. I didn’t know how to differentiate between cashmere and polyester.
What do you like the most about Café Leather Supply and why?
The quality of the products seems impressive. The skin and the details of the workmanship are especially good, but perhaps what it came down to was the brand image. I think you take great care of your image. You have a very clear idea and personality that is not typical in a brand so young. I really enjoyed that characteristic of your brand, and it’s the reason why Tom Black carries Café.
How were your first steps in starting Tom Black?
JT.- To my return, we put everything on the market and began to sell. We had many problems at first because the quality of our products was very bad. In the first eight months, of the initial 40,000€ I was left with 7,500€… at that moment a new partner joined me who contributed capital, and we moved to a new location. From there, we made a powerful commercial action and began to sell. That was the moment that I realized the most important thing for any business is to sell. It’s impossible to know if you have a good product if you can’t sell. Once we started to sell, we found a few faults in some of our clothing. When we began to sell, we realized we didn’t have a good plan of economic viability. If you don’t sell, you don’t only lose money, but more importantly you lose time.
From that moment on, we applied a good mythology and focused on customer service. We realized that knowing our target audience was fundamental, be focused on a gentleman; we saw that there was a niche in the market in regards to customer service and to address it could be very fruitful and important – to convey that we use our own branded content. Differentiating us from other brands or other tailors, we noticed that each client had their own style, and we didn’t want to be the ones to persuade a client to any style in particular. We would be by your side to advise you according to your taste, but it would always be the client that chooses which direction to follow. From that moment, Tom Black began to change. We started to generate our own content that lined us to interesting people. We opened a store in Seville, and we were forced to change locations in Madrid as our company continued to grow.
What dish have you eaten recently that you can remember fondly?
JT.- A duck magnet that I ate in the Valley of Arán, in Casa Turnay. Last week I had to go back and get it again because it drove me crazy.
Do you cook?
JT.- Yes, I really like cooking. I don’t like making anything complicated, but I care a lot about quality. Tuna with a bit of soybeans works very well together.
What is a Tomblackstyler?
JT.- A person with his own style.
Why would a Tomblackstyler use Café Leather Supply products? Which products would they use?
JT.- Because they are products of very high quality that are very personal. They are products that say a lot about you. Just as my bike represents my style, my wallet also represents my style. I don’t just carry any product, I carry special products. Everyone has his or her own style, I would carry the Colombia Portfolio Roasted.
What do you value in life?
JT.- My family and friends, I am very fond of my friends. I consider myself to have fairly public relationships, but when I feel most comfortable is when I’m with my family and friends.
What are the keys to Tom Black?
JT.- For me the key is the people behind it. The team has everything, we are a rock and this is only achieved by giving confidence and responsibility to employees. The team is everything in a company. I can let my suppliers down, and any other piece needed to compose our puzzle. Nevertheless, I am sure that as many things fail, I have a team that holds this company together, and that reassures me.
What are your hobbies?
JT.- I like a lot of things, but I am passionate about skiing. This year I have not stopped traveling and I will continue to do so until there is no more snow.