Today we had Bob Emfield on, best known as the co-founder of Tommy Bahama and, apparently, color-changing shirts.
Bob and Jan Emfield decided to buy a vacation home at Bonita Beach in the 1970s after exploring Florida for a long time. Thus was born the Tommy Bahama concept: The couple invented a laid-back character who would be heading to the beach with a lawn chair in one hand and a martini in the other as they loaded their suitcases in the car to drive to the airport for the trip back north. Eventually the Emfields and friends gave the imaginary character an entire Jimmy Buffett-cum-Walter Mitty lifestyle, including a convertible VW bug with the top always down to hold fishing rods. One day they started to wonder what kind of clothes he would wear—a speculation that became the basis of the tropical Tommy Bahama look that Emfield and two partners pioneered at the first Tommy Bahama store in Naples 11 years ago. It’s since morphed into a hugely successful chain of 54 clothing stores and restaurants in the United States, Canada and Saudi Arabia