Spencer Hays

Founder, Tom James Company

Spencer Hays is the founder of Tom James, the largest direct selling menswear company in the U.S. and our new partner. Founded in 1966 in Nashville, Tennessee, Tom James' clothing is noteworthy for its American design and master tailoring, servicing clients with custom-made clothing by personal appointment, offering complete lines of luxury clothing for men just as Carlisle Etcetera LLC does for women.

Hays' philosophy of management is that "A business is a reflection of the skills and attitude of the people in the business. You can't build a business. You build people. People build a business." Rising from humble beginnings, Spencer Hays' pursuit of excellence began in 1959, when he graduated from Texas Christian University. He joined Southwestern/Great American Company in Nashville, a company that recruits college students to sell books door-to-door. Within a few years, he was running the company, a rise attributed to his ability to motivate people and make them believe in themselves.

With an understanding of how important appearance was to success, Hays started Tom James based on the concept that busy executives don't have time to shop. At first, he sold custom-made mens' suits office-to-office as he had once sold books door-to-door, starting with ex-Southwestern students and ultimately building his company into what it is today, the world's largest manufacturer and retailer of custom-made luxury clothing.

A recipient of distinguished awards from Texas Christian University, the Direct Selling Association, Oklahoma State University and the Medaille des Arts et Lettres for his support of French Culture, he and his wife are avid art and antique collectors. His business interests also include Individualized Apparel Group and Athlon Sports.

Spencer Hays