Tom James Company

www.tomjames.com
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Tom James Company Reviews

Updated February 10, 2015
Updated February 10, 2015
83 Reviews
3.6
83 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Sergio Casalena
65 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Get to work with successful people and build great connections (in 7 reviews)

  • Sales techniques learned in a direct sales organization (in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • A lot of the hard work you'll be doing your first 3 years in the business will be (in 7 reviews)

  • Know that you can start off strong BUT you will be working long hours with little time for vacation (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    In 1995 I came to Tom James to buy a suit. I bought a great suit and got a 20 year career!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Leader
    Current Employee - Sales Leader

    I have been working at Tom James Company full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    I love working at Tom James! I have been blessed beyond what I would have ever imagined when I started. I came to Tom James in in 1995 at the age of 23, I was mentored by some of the wisest men I have ever met. I had the opportunity to meet with our division leader, president and CEO as much as I needed to. These leaders helps me uncover my goals both personally and professionally.

    I bought in early to the opportunity. When I had been at Tom James for 18 months I was allowed to open my own store. For 18 years I have hired and trained other sales professionals. Because of their success in selling I have made over 1 million dollars in leadership pay alone. My cumulative earnings have now surpassed 2.5 million dollars over 20 years. Having met many business owners over the years I have met very few people who could earn what I have earned and made no capital investment in their business. My investment was in time and energy alone.

    I also subscribed to the stock. It has been an amazing investment. Having contributed to 401k and other outside investments over the last 20 years it has far surpassed anything else I have participated in. My stock is currently worth over 1 million dollars also. Last year my dividend was 15,000 dollars.

    While the compensation has been extraordinary, it's not even the biggest benefit. I was raised by a single mom in very poor economic circumstances. Having worked alongside the principled leaders in our company I have been mentored on how to be a better business person, husband and father. Without the mentors that I had at Tom James I am scared to think where my life would be today.

    Forbes magazine published an article in the December 1997 issue about our founder Mr. Spencer Hays. That month Forbes profiled companies with a share the wealth philosophy. Tom James was one of the featured companies profiled by Forbes because of the generosity of Mr. Hays. The unlimited opportunity, the ability to earn stock, the chance to be promoted based on merit alone, profit sharing, etc... Have all been true In my tenure. As I have seen my college friends and contemporaries move from job to job I have stayed where I was planted. And I have been richly rewarded for it.

    Cons

    It's disheartening to read about some people's experiences with Tom James. My experience was so much different that what has been described by a few people who left. I take the responsibility of helping people that are hired by Tom James to achieve success quickly. And to some degree the reviews of people who didn't achieve success at Tom James is a charge on me and all leaders in Tom James. I would love it if no one ever left. I would love it if everyone archived their personal and professional goals while they are here. I am thankful for forums like this as it will ultimately help us become a better company.

     It hasn't always been easy. And yes at times I have considered leaving Tom James. Over the years we have experienced some growing pains. We have tried many different approaches to hiring and training. Some of them got great results and some didn't. Some people were hired and were not given the best circumstances. While others had leaders that didn't pour into them what my leaders poured into me. For new partners to achieve success their must be 100 percent accountability by both leaders and salespeople.

    Currently the training program is as good as we have ever had. And we are greeting better results with our new partners now that when I as new.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I would love to see us have more input from sales people on product decisions. A committee of salespeople who had input on product selection would be helpful.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Great opportunity, poor local leadership

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Professional Clothier in Kansas City, MO
    Former Employee - Professional Clothier in Kansas City, MO

    I worked at Tom James Company

    Pros

    Make your own schedule, working with C-level executives, great perks for hitting goals

    Cons

    Poor management of local office

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Whoa

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Professional Clothier in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Professional Clothier in Atlanta, GA

    I have been working at Tom James Company full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Team members want you to succeed. Sr leaders are top notch people.

    Cons

    Very weird approach to cold calling ~ if you don't like cold calling move along. You WILL NOT make much money your 1st year. You WILL COLD CALL everyday and see busy successful people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be honest when hiring ~ leaders mislead to on bard..

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Unless you like being someone's ticket to building there business once you quit, I would choose a different company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Representative
    Former Employee - Sales Representative

    I worked at Tom James Company full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    The clientele. You get to work with some of the TOP people in your city that you most likely would have never worked with.
    The meetings twice a year are always in cool locations.

    Cons

    It is a common response when asked how to build your business for a LEADER to say, just hire a bunch of people and wait for them to quit. You can just take their clients after that.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make it more difficult for people to get into leadership. Hitting numbers does not make you a good leader.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Don't believe the "running your own business" within the business hype.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Leader, President's Cabinet
    Former Employee - Sales Leader, President's Cabinet

    I worked at Tom James Company full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The pros are that when you are successful, people in the company will constantly tell you how great you are (That can be infectious because who doesn't like to hear what a winner he is?), and that a successful salesperson can earn in excess of $100,000.

    Conceptually the business model is terrific.

    Cons

    I've heard the culture of Tom James Company described in terms of a cult-like environment, or drinking the Kool-Aid, and I absolutely agree. I was a salesperson and sales manager there for more than 12 years, and I received numerous sales and leadership awards (President's Club, President's Cabinet, Team Leadership Award, and many others). I did earn more than $100,000/year for about 10 years, and while I was still there, I didn't object very much to the brainwashing. In fact, as a team/organizational leader, I now see that I helped perpetuate that cult-like culture.

    One of the primary ingredients in the Tom James Kool-Aid is to constantly self-promote. Everybody and every company must highlight their strengths, but Tom James takes it to a much higher level. They self-promote to the point of almost ridiculing the fools who work anywhere else. The leadership talks about how much more money Tom James salespeople earn than anybody else in the clothing business working elsewhere, and they harp on it A LOT. I realized after I left that it simply was not the truth.

    Another important ingredient in the Tom James Kool-Aid is to require employees to sign a souped-up non-compete agreement, and it doesn't matter the circumstances. The latest one I saw was so restrictive that the purpose was to actually restrict a former salesperson from working in the same industry in any capacity in the ZIP CODES where his clients reside or work. The fact is that most long-term salespeople at TJ have clients scattered all over the place. One of my friends who left several years ago said that his client list included more than 65 zip codes he would have been prevented from working in for 2 years. As a result, many former salespeople ignore the non-compete, but when TJ wants to make an example out of someone, they will spend $250,000 or more litigating against the former salesperson.

    Thirdly, the company promotes their privately held stock as if it is more valuable than gold and diamonds. Their own board of directors determine the price. The board of directors also determine the dividend, and they almost always over promote the potential dividend (It is always measly.). The company leadership encourages the salespeople often to project their stock value to grow to enormous wealth, and the gullible salespeople dream of buying their own islands and yachts upon retirement. The problem with that is that the board of directors and they alone get to decide when and if a person can sell his stock. They have been known to limit the buyback to $10,000 per year for several years. And if they don't want to buy it back at all because they don't like what a former salesperson does after he leaves TJ, then they just refuse to buy his stock back at all. The stock purchase agreement clearly states that there is no other market for the stock besides selling it back to TJ. Near the end of my career with TJ, I became convinced that the stock is a farce. I can't think of anyone who was ever "allowed" to cash in his stock and really retire. I can think of many people who after 25-30 years tried to retire and learned that their stock was still controlled by the TJ Board.

    And that sums it up: Control. Tom James leadership tries to exercise control over every aspect of the lives of the salespeople. The Kool-Aid drinkers who allow that to happen LOVE the company. Keep that in mind when reading the reviews written by current employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You have "eaten your own cooking" for so long, you probably cannot even recognize the truth in my review. So, you will dismiss me as a "loser." I think I have outlined some of the real reasons your company hasn't increased its sales force in 10 years in spite of your goals to quadruple it. I expect you will continue doing and thinking much as you have done and thought for 40 years. Too bad because the concept is great.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Brainwashed, Cult-Like Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Professional
    Current Employee - Sales Professional

    I have been working at Tom James Company full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Limited pros include:
    -It's not a stuffy "office job," so I enjoyed going out and enjoying the day
    -Good base salary
    -I truly enjoyed my co-workers and felt that they wanted me to succeed

    Cons

    Where to begin...
    -The salary is a declining salary, to become strictly commissions-only in 2 years. This pay scale made it very difficult for my husband and I to get a house (the bank didn't think I had a stable income and was weary of the declining pay scale)
    -After working there for three months, I was sent to the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania for TWO WEEKS for 8-5 training on how to measure clients, and a TON of unethical sales techniques. The experience made me think of Jim Jones and the whole "drinking the Kool-Aid" method. My trainer there called my boss, concerned that I was not buying into their cult-like business practices and thinking. I wasn't! I couldn't wait to get out of there! I felt very uncomfortable; they seriously try to brainwash you. Our trainer actually made one of the guys in our class cry!
    -They focus on ridiculous personal, unobtainable goals instead of the business at hand
    -The district VP called my parents in hopes that they would help keep me on board and motivate me to stay within the company. My dad said that was the craziest conversation he had ever had.
    -Sales people in my office were supposed to help train me and give me prospective clients; instead, one of my coworkers took the referrals from me so she could succeed herself.
    -Plan on calling well-to-do, established lawyers and business professionals in your metro area. They don't want to talk to you, and it almost felt like an insult calling them. They're busy, important people for goodness' sake!
    -Expected to call and almost stalk certain well-dressed business professionals on the street
    -Company does not reimburse for mileage (and you will put a LOT on your car)
    -No work-life balance, as they expect you to work 12 hour days (which they do not speak of during your initial hiring-on process)
    -Where I worked, business people were usually under-dressed (wearing jeans and button-ups instead of suits), so it was often difficult to find wealthy, well-dressed men to buy clothes from me

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Choose a different place to hold your training, and make it only a week instead of two. It felt like a prison--isolated from the world. Hire sales managers who don't degrade people and are good MANAGERS, not just salespeople.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    Bait and Switch

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Professional in Charlotte, NC
    Former Employee - Sales Professional in Charlotte, NC

    I worked at Tom James Company full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Control over your schedule, you own your own business, within the company. You eat what you kill.

    Cons

    Lack of training with the clothing and necessary skills as a clothier, this is overlooked completely. They focus on personal goals like "I want to buy a 2015 Maserati" instead of teaching the fundamentals of the job. If you start to under-perform, they basically just cross their fingers that you'll quit so you don't take away from their stock. Also, The lack of the market for this product is a huge stressor. When you're on 100% commission, with no experience, it's hard to survive in this industry.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management? There is no Management. It's Salespeople running Salespeople and the lack of middle management is very obvious in the high turnover. They have a shotgun approach in hiring..attractive young men and women with zero savings and zero experience. It's like throwing pasta on the wall hoping it sticks. This has to improve or TJ will no survive.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    My brief experience in a cult

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Salesperson
    Former Employee - Salesperson

    I worked at Tom James Company full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Nice to be out of an office most of the day, training trip was at a nice location.

    Cons

    Where do I start? This was a miserable experience I wouldn't wish on anyone. Very poor leadership. Was required to buy $1,000 suits to wear...not to worry...they take it out of your check. My best day was my last. Would be interested to know the turnover. My guess is 90 percent.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I'm laughing at all the March brainwashed reviews. Clearly encouraged by tj headquarters.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    I have enjoyed the personal growth tremendously and at the same time enjoyed great success financially as well.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Sales Leader in Baltimore, MD
    Current Employee - Senior Sales Leader in Baltimore, MD

    I have been working at Tom James Company full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The people are fantastic always encouraging and helping me improve as a person

    Cons

    a persons success has a ton to do with there own intestinal fortitude

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep listening to those in the field they have great ideas.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Amazing Experience my employer was awesome

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Tom James Company

    Pros

    Flexible with time, great co-workers, always a friendly environment

    Cons

    Your working with salesmen and theres strict deadlines

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