Tom James Company

  www.tomjames.com
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Tom James Company Reviews

Updated August 20, 2014
Updated August 20, 2014
87 Reviews

3.9
87 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Sergio Casalena
70 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Get to work with successful people and build great connections (in 6 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)

  • It is a lot of work, long hours, and endless rejection, but so is every other sales job in the world (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    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

    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
  2.  

    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

    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
  3. 1 person 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

    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
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  5. 2 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

    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
  6. 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

    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
  7.  

    Amazing Experience my employer was awesome

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Your working with salesmen and theres strict deadlines

  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great opportunity for someone who wants to earn their success

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

    Pros

    One of the best things I can say about this company is the culture they instill from the top down. The company really does believe in their mission of "building salespeople and our salespeople build our company". During my time here, I've seen the ups and downs of working a direct sales job, and I can say from experience that everyone (even people who are not directly impacted by your performance) really does want you to do the best you're capable of.

    Without giving away too much, Tom James is a privately help company that believes in having the stakeholders of the company being the sales people that help build it.

    I think of this mostly as a "pro", but at times it was definitely a "con"...The majority of how you get paid is based off your sales. The earning potential is literally only limited by how many sales you can make in a given month. The reason it was a "con" for me at times is that how little you earn is also directly related to your sales. When I started and even now, they do offer a "training assistance pay" to close the gap between what you sold and what your "base" is. This period lasts 24 months.

    Cons

    Being a direct sales job, THIS JOB IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. I cannot stress that enough. The job requires a lot of self motivation and a lot of overcoming of obstacles. While the leadership all the way up the chain will always be there to help you with your thinking along the way, no one can MAKE you do that habits required to be successful...that's up to you.

    The "ramp up" period of building you book of clientele can take as long, or as short as you make it take. While building my clientele, I'm spending more time in the office than those with established books of business. Some due to my not being as time-efficient than others, and some due to the nature of what it takes to generate new business. Your leaders will help you where they can and definitely help you get started, but it's up to you to keep the momentum up...I didn't do that.

    You have to be bought into the idea of delayed gratification. A lot of the hard work you'll be doing your first 3 years in the business will be hard work in the trenches. It's sometimes hard for me to keep sight of the fact that once I have my book established, it is quite the opposite.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you're doing and focusing on the development of your sales people.

    Try harder to scare people away during the interview process. That'll help retention I think.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Professtional Clothier

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

    Pros

    The people you work with are second to none. Not only are your partners great people but your clients will become some of your best friends. If you do well, the sky is the limit as to how much you can make. The product is the best in the industry and you will learn how to create good habits. They are not just growing sales, they are building people.

    Cons

    You need to be willing to work hard and get your teeth kicked in. For the first year you will work late and on weekends. After that, you are still a slave to your clients. It eventually is worth it but this is not a job to just "try out". You need to commit and make it a career.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be honest with what the expectations are. Do not constantly talk about activity. Hold people accountable, as well as yourself.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    This career has changed my life in the past decade. I'm a better man, Christian, leader, sales consultant, colleague.

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

    Pros

    Tom James is all about building people, and letting those people build the company. I've been given so many books, hours, 1on1's, belief, confidence, training, financial guidance, stock options, corporate meetings, national conventions...ALL centered around making the sales force become the best person they can be. Oh, and it just so happens you get to make a six figure income in the process! I've made upwards of $135,000/yr and this year will be over $200,000. My company stock has grown over 14% annually! and I've gotten handsome dividends each year. It's by far the most incredible opportunity on the planet.

    Cons

    A faster delivery time on custom clothing

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to build people. Lay the vision as to what people can have, do and be.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Amazing company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Salesperson  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Salesperson in New York, NY

    Pros

    The potential to earn is limitless. Tom James is incredibly supportive in every aspect of the job- their goal is to foster a career for you, so they really invest in each individual. The training program is excellent and really gives you the resources you need to be successful in every stage of your career. For me, the most important aspect is the happy, positive people who do their jobs with such integrity each day. This keeps you moving forward even on days you are struggling. I've been in luxury sales for years and this is without a doubt the best company I have ever worked for.

    Cons

    We are all given a lot of responsibility, but also opportunity. We run our businesses as if they were are own and certain times it can be difficult. In order to earn and for the job to be really fun, you have to work extremely hard which can be overwhelming at times.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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