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Tommy Bahama

Long Live the Island Life

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For over 30 years the Tommy Bahama brand has communicated its message of relaxation and the luxury of leisure time through a distinctive retail and restaurant experience. Here, we catch up with company CEO Doug Wood to talk about their latest concept launch and how they are continuing to innovate across their retail and restaurant portfolio.

Beginning life as a men’s wholesaler, the Tommy Bahama business has come a long way and today is a full lifestyle brand, developing menswear and womenswear and operating over 160 of its own retail stores, 24 of which feature a Tommy Bahama Restaurant, Bar & Store or a Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar. The company also recently opened their first-ever resort and spa.

Located in Indian Wells in the Greater Palm Springs area, the Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort & Spa launched on 1 November last year, following an extensive $20M renovation and redesign that pair’s island living with desert luxury.

Situated against the Santa Rosa Mountains, the transformed resort boasts 215 guestrooms and reimagined villa suites infused with a custom tropical design aesthetic woven into 11 acres of olive trees, fragrant citrus groves and flower gardens. With 35,000sq ft of flexible meeting and event space and a 12,000sq ft Spa Rosa, Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort & Spa serves as a chic desert escape for travellers looking to soak up life’s simple pleasures and celebrate their most significant moments.

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“At Tommy Bahama, we have always believed in the art of living well and embracing the island lifestyle,” said Doug Wood, CEO of Tommy Bahama. “With this resort, we have crafted an entirely new concept of leisure, fusing our brand’s essence with the unparalleled beauty of this desert oasis and creating a destination where every moment feels like a timeless escape.”

Discussing the company’s retail and restaurant portfolio, Wood explains that they have opened a new Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar at the revitalized Winter Park Village in Winter Park, Florida. Launched on 31 January, the restaurant and retail location embraces the brand’s easy, relaxed spirit with a casual new concept where guests can eat, drink and shop. The Winter Park location has become the sixth Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar in Florida, with other locations including Coconut Point, Jacksonville, Palm Beach Gardens, Dania Pointe and Ft. Lauderdale’s Las Olas.

The Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar is a natural evolution for the brand’s combined shopping and dining experience. The 8,100sq ft open floor plan features a retail store alongside the restaurant, bar and outdoor patio. The retail store displays an impressive assortment of Tommy Bahama men’s and women’s sportswear, swimwear, accessories and home décor items. The restaurant and bar offer indoor and outdoor dining options from the Marlin Bar’s menu of fresh shareable food and signature cocktails.

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“We have more of these Marlin Bar’s opening this year, one more in Florida, one in Charlotte, North Carolina, one in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and one in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We are taking new sites into non-resort cities as this combined offering of retail and restaurant & bar is taking us into new and exciting locations and I envisage us opening for to five of these sites for the next several years,” highlights Wood.

Outside of the US and their stores, wholesale and e-commerce business in Canada, they have launched recently their 20th store in Australia, they have a team in New Zealand and there are plans to venture into the UK. Commenting on this growth outside of their home market, the CEO explains that while he always has his ears and eyes open, additional expansion outside of the US will be done methodically and not too quickly so that it can be done correctly in a way that is right for the business.

Embracing the importance of social media, the company is present across the platforms of Facebook, Instagram and TikTok and they understand how the evolution of social media allows them to drive their brand forward, but always being careful that the people they partner with or highlight share the same company values.

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A major talking point for Doug was the topic of sustainability, as when he came in as CEO nearly a decade ago and has been with the company for 23 years, he quickly noticed the business was behind the curve in this respect

“I began a company-wide sustainability effort around seven years ago and challenged my design and sourcing teams to bring sustainable fabrics and fibres into our products with the idea of the company becoming 100 per cent sustainable. We are currently at 70 per sustainable fabrics and fibres, so while I am proud of the progress we have made, there is still more work to do.”

As an island-inspired brand, the ongoing challenge for Doug and the business is to implement a little bit of sand in everything they deliver while at the same time continuing to innovate and evolve their product lines, which he feels will keep customers loyal to the brand.

“As we look to the future we want to continue to expand our physical footprint and grow our womenswear line, these are two of the major factors that keep me energised as I look forward to what we are going to do and want to achieve in the next 10 to 15 years.”

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