The Group is named after Seth Tolaram, who was a well-regarded physician in Sind in Colonial India. Seth Tolaram's primary occupation was the welfare of the poor and sickly, and the Group to this day carries his philanthropic ideals. Seth Tolaram's four sons were involved with various business ventures since 1916 where the youngest son and founder of Tolaram Group, Khanchand Vaswani, learnt his trade. Khanchand Vaswani migrated to Indonesia in 1932 from Sind and he initially opened a small textile shop named Toko Vaswani in 1948 in Malang, East Java, Indonesia and effectively planted the roots of the current Group.
The shop was relocated to bigger premises in 1950 and renamed as Toko Tolaram that now included a tailoring department. His wife, Ishwaribhai, son, Mohan, and two daughters, Sulachini and Padma, were always at hand to assist him. He also did much to encourage other relatives to play active roles in managing his rapidly growing clientele and suppliers. Mohan Vaswani, the current Chairman, joined his father in 1957 aged 19. He was instrumental in growing the business beyond a small textile shop into a retail outlet of a wider range of fabrics, home textiles and garments.
Toko Tolaram then gained fame as the choice retail outlet of the region. The current Vice Chairman, Vishamkar Adnani, a cousin of Mohan Vaswani, joined Tolaram in the early sixties and together they created a formidable second-generation partnership.