Interview with Tony Truman Ibiza Business Mogul
It isn’t often you get a chance to sit down and talk to those behind the scenes of some of the biggest brands on the White Isle but today we are lucky enough to be chatting to Tony Truman Ibiza Business Mogul.
Tony who recently turned 50 has far-reaching interests in Ibiza and many will have used one or several of his companies without possibly realising he has an interest in it.
From having your make up done by Kiss my Fairy or grabbing a quick drink in Linekers while watching the football or being health conscious and eating at the Skinny Kitchen Tony has built up a portfolio second to none on the White Isle.
Without a doubt, his biggest achievement so far has been Ocean Beach Ibiza and when we sat down with Tony it is where we started our conversation.
A huge White Isle welcome to the blog Tony. We have to start with Ocean Beach Ibiza, the venue that you are most well known for but that many said would fail when it opened.
Yes, they did indeed and to be fair it was a massive gamble at the time especially as San Antonio was starting to fall behind especially to up and coming areas like Bossa.
People had started to become less complimentary about San Antonio as all they had done was highlight its bad points.
This didn’t phase me as I just had the instinct that if we made somewhere so stunning & beautiful, as well as affordable they would eventually come regardless of its location. So I think we have been proven right.
Yet just a few years later daytime pool parties are now the “in” thing in Ibiza how does it feel entering your 6th season with Ocean Beach and proving all the critics wrong?
I never set out to prove people wrong, I just set out to create things that I strongly believe in and I feel are much needed. I am not one to gloat, as I know only too well, nothing tends to last forever so just enjoy it while it lasts and try to stay ahead of the game.
There will always be critics, but for me this is not a bad thing I use criticism to learn & adapt so for me it’s just part of the job.
After all, we all have the right to our opinions good or bad. The only time it does bother me is when it’s inaccurate.
Every year you spend the winter tweaking and improving the venue and the musical offerings so what can we expect in 2018?
A couple of major changes this year, one being our Thursdays. We have decided to do our own in-house RNB, Soulful House & Garage day called ‘ONE’.
We have worked with Ministry the last few years on helping bring more of this style of music to Ibiza & its become a huge hit, so from now on we are doing it ourselves and will hopefully attract some cool urban artists.
Another big change is to our Mondays. There will be no more Lovely Laura & Ben Santiago as the main acts. We have built a great day around them performing over the last 5 years but we both felt that it was time for a change for them as well as us.
We are very excited though as we have replaced them with not one live musician but four live musicians! It’s going to be a stunning production with live sets from these wicked new artists.
The new party on Thursdays called ONE. Is this following a change you are seeing with musical tastes in those visiting Ibiza?
Yes very much so. Talking about critics earlier when we started our RNB/ Urban Days 4 years ago we were widely slated saying this is not what Ibiza is about, this is not the right style of music and so forth blah, blah, blah.
But hey, over the last few years the two days a week we do play this style of music has turned into two of our busiest days of the week. So the public obviously do love it very very much.
The younger youth growing up now are massively into it, you have only got to turn on the radio / tv / award shows and so many of the biggest artists now are all about this style of music.
Big up to Soul City they have been championing this style for many years so for me they are the pioneers of this style of music in Ibiza.
Ironically enough I have also just seen that two major Ibiza Super Clubs are adding this to their programming this year as well. 👏🏼👏🏼
The tide is slowly turning a little although hopefully not too much though as I believe there should be a good balance of musical styles & taste all over the island so that it caters for all instead of being one dimensional like it has been for so long.
The world is constantly changing and Ibiza must evolve with it.
You have recently bought several well-known businesses including the Costa Mar hotel beside Calo des Moro beach and have transformed it into the Wi-Ki-Woo hotel a unique boutique hotel with an incredible decor. First, we have to ask what is with the name Wi-Ki-Woo?
Yes, we are over the moon to add this to our collective business portfolio it really is such a great little gem of a hotel.
As for the name, I would rather not say in print how it came about, haha, come down have a drink and I will tell you in person.
We did want something that was so so different though, and something that people would ask about & enquire as to what it is & currently this is exactly what is happening so it must be working.
With many hotels realising they have to modernise and offer their guests that little bit more what will make the Wi-Ki-Woo stand out from the crowd?
Yes, I have been harping on for many years now about the hotels in San An upping their game as this will only make the town better.
I am so pleased to say finally lots & lots of them have gone and made huge changes & it is so great to see, its brilliant for the hotel industry & tourism alike.
The Wi-Ki-Woo will be different in the way that it will be modern but in an old school way, luxurious but very affordable, this is the motto for many of our businesses.
Also, there will be lots of quirky off the wall things happening a lot of the time so come stay & find out for yourselves.
Next on the list of your recent purchases is Itaca one of San Antonio’s most well-known beachfront bars. Last year in an interview with Amanda O’Riordan you hinted at the possibility of turning it into Pizza Express Live offering not only Pizza but live acoustic style singers and acts with some cool DJ style accompaniment, with a few shows possible.
Is this still in the future plans or, as many we have spoken to would like, are you keeping the look and feel of Itaca as everyone knows it and just focusing on improving its already successful nature and location?
This was an idea we toyed with for sure. As and when you take over a new location you discuss all the opportunities that you think could improve the business and this was one of them.
We always wanted to give it at least a year to see how it performed & worked & now we are delighted to say that we are going to keep it as it is & how it’s always been.
Last season, our first, was a great success we just made a few slight changes here & there and it worked. So currently for the foreseeable future, it will remain as is. We never really deep down wanted to take away one of the island’s most famous bars.
As we suspected. So do you have your eye on an alternative venue to bring Pizza Express to Ibiza?
Yes we do very much so, and we are currently working on something very exciting & new not only for us but for the island too.
This will be announced probably in about a year’s time from now & all ready for summer 2020. Like I said earlier we like to stay ahead of the game. 😂😂
Away from your own business interests, Ibiza seems to be battling its own conscious at the moment trying to get the tourism, island, resident balance right and especially in San Antonio where the local council are adding new restrictions year after year in a bid to improve the town’s image. Do you think this will affect any of your own interests?
We hope not but currently there are too many of our friend’s businesses which are being affected in so many disastrous ways.
I think they need to get their own ship in order first. Sort out their own in house problems and ideas instead of just randomly bringing in ridiculous new laws that are totally unjustified.
I will leave it at that for now, as there are many more people in the town far more educated on all the politics of it all and it’s great to listen to their views on social media.
And second, if you were in charge how would you go about balancing the need for sustainable tourism and the needs of the locals?
Good question. Well the main thing for me would be that the town hall takes note and actually listens and acts on what international, local businessman & residents have to say on all matters instead of just constantly ignoring their pleas, as after all we should all live & work in harmony.
They should move with the times as well, sometimes we feel its all stuck in the 60’s the way its all overseen. Unfortunately, the stigma that is attached to the town has not been good over the years but I feel it’s gradually getting better.
All the negativity is always aimed at the West End strip of bars & clubs when in fact it’s more of a thieves & prostitutes problem that they should be eradicating first then perhaps the stigma will change once this element is dealt with.
San Antonio tends to be the entry point for many coming to Ibiza for the first time and it offers a huge range of accommodation, restaurants, activities for all ages and budgets yet seems to have this cloud of all it has is drunken brits hanging over it. What would you say to those who dismiss the town and resort because of this?
Yes it’s the gateway into Ibiza for the youth market. It certainly was for me and my mates as the young can only afford to go out in this area of the island.
It’s not till we’re older and a little more affluent that we start venturing to other parts of the island. The trouble is people forget that one of the reasons they fell in love with Ibiza in the first place was because of their first holiday which was usually in San An.
As they get older they tend to forget this and the snobiness in them comes out and they start slagging it off.
They have short memories. Also now all my friends (who also used to have this attitude) all come to Ocean and several of our other businesses and have now rediscovered their love of the town.
San An has loads and loads of great bars, restaurants and hotels now as well as great boat trips and so much more.
Back to your own business interests and one of the most underrated is Skinny Kitchen which offers healthy eating to the masses and has slowly grown in Ibiza from a small backstreet venture to a prime location beside the harbour and is now opening outlets across the UK. What plans do you have for its future?
We are really pleased with the progress of Skinny Kitchen and the future is looking very good for the brand.
Our UK expansion is gradually growing and this winter we have started selling franchises as well as collaborating in joint venture partnerships. We feel there really is a huge demand for a healthy food chain as the current food market is just saturated with fast junk food monopolies.
Hopefully, over time we will try and get a large foothold in the commercial market. Our aim at the moment is to open a flagship London restaurant, one that can then act as a training school and mass production place as well as a successful unit itself.
Many people won’t know that Tru’s Do’s parties are your own and this year will celebrate 35 years of events with a special event at Ocean Beach on the 1st July. What makes Tru’s Do’s so special and what can we expect from this year’s anniversary party?
For me it’s all about the people, the love and passion the people bring to the parties. I know that statement sounds like an old cliche but when you have been doing it as long as me you do genuinely feel like you are part of something special & unique regardless of age.
My parties now attract such a diverse crowd it’s really exciting to see so many people just loving the vibe & each other at Tru’sDo’s.
This year I will be pulling a few surprises out the bag as per usual with acts & performers as well as a very fitting theme for this years party. I honestly don’t think there are too many old school promoters left nowadays as it all tends now to be about the headline act more than the promoter or the actual enjoyment of the guests.
With Tru’s Do’s were all about the fun aspect and it is great to see Clockwork Orange having such a huge revival over the last few years as we are very similar.
Not just in age, but it’s about wicked funky music & the guests having a great time without getting ripped off. I hope both brands have got many more happy years ahead of themselves.
Away from work in Ibiza when you find the odd day to relax where are your three must head to places on the island?
Relax?? That’s a winter term in my head. Not too much in the summer but when I do I love a good day out in a boat to one of the idyllic beaches & restaurants the island has to offer my fav being Formentera.
I also love a day at Bagatelle Beach which is superb fun on a Saturday afternoon & not forgetting a day at Destino.
These are my top 3 places I tend to go to a lot in the summer but usually, the intention is to relax but like everything else in my life it always ends up in some sort of mad party one way or another.
For those that have never been to Ibiza before and are thinking of heading out to the island this year what are your top tips for making the most of a trip?
Visit all of the above 3 places I just mentioned and I promise you that you will love them all.❤
Lots of people visit Ibiza year on year like some type of pilgrimage which is great but each time you come mix it up a bit try and see more of the island, visit different places on days and nights out instead of just the same old haunts people tend to favour.
Also, try all the different cuisines on offer its unreal how many top restaurants are now open across the island.
2018 we already have no doubt will be one of the biggest seasons yet for the whole island and especially for you and you are constantly expanding your portfolio of business year on year so we have to ask what is next for the Truman empire?
Well, this year the new focus is the Wi-Ki-Woo Hotel, but as also mentioned we are working on a huge deal but this will be for 2020 so watch this space for all the info on that.
Just staying focused on what we have already have is my priority as it’s easy to let your guard down when you have got so many projects on like we have.
This is why I am so lucky to have great business partners as well as managers & staff whom all work tirelessly on helping the empire run as efficiently as it currently does.
So a massive thanks to all of them, as you are as only as good as your team around you.
Our deepest thanks to Tony for taking the time to sit down with us to chat about all things Ibiza and his upcoming plans for Ibiza 2018.
They are all well worth a follow not only for his humour but you get a real behind the scenes look at what goes into creating some of the biggest brands on the island.