Tory Burch (born June 17, 1966; nÃ©e Robinson) is an American fashion designer, business woman, and philanthropist, who has won several fashion awards for her designs. She is the Chairman, CEO, and Designer of Tory Burch LLC. As of 2014, she is listed as the 79th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
Early life and education
Burch was born in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Reva (nÃ©e Schapira) and Ira Earl "Bud" Robinson (1923â"2007). She was raised with her three brothers (Robert, James and Leonard) in a Valley Forge farmhouse, a 250-year old Georgian near the Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Her father was a wealthy investor who inherited a stock exchange seat and a paper cup company. He dated Grace Kelly and Joan Bennett before marrying Reva, an actress who had dated both Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando. Burch is Jewish on her mother's side.
Burch attended the Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, where she rode horses, was captain of the tennis team, and was a friend of jewelry designer Kara Ross (they remain friends today). Her first job was at Benetton in the King of Prussia Mall. She then attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a member of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta. She majored in art history, and graduated in 1988.
After graduating from college, Tory moved to New York City where she worked for Zoran, a Yugoslavian designer, followed by Harper's Bazaar magazine. She then moved into public relations and advertising positions at Vera Wang, Polo Ralph Lauren and Loewe when Narciso Rodriguez was there.
She began a fashion label, "TRB by Tory Burch", later known as "Tory Burch", which launched with a retail store in Manhattan's Nolita district in February 2004. Most of the inventory sold out on the first day. When Oprah Winfrey endorsed her line on The Oprah Winfrey Show in April 2005, calling Burch "the next big thing in fashion", Burch's website received eight million hits the following day.
Since launch, the company has grown to include over 140 Tory Burch stores worldwide, including flagships in New York, Los Angeles, London, Rome, Tokyo and Seoul, and ecommerce sites in seven languages. The companyâs Shanghai flagship, which launched in 2014, is its largest. The fashion line, which encompasses ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, accessories, watches, home decor, and a fragrance and beauty collection, is also carried at over 3,000 department and specialty stores worldwide, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's, as well as Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Galeries Lafayette, Lane Crawford and Isetan.
In 2009, Tory Burch sold a minority stake in her company to a Mexican private equity firm, Tresalia Capital. Additional minority investors were added in December 2012 in conjunction with the settlement of a legal dispute between Burch and her ex-husband. This settlement is said to have removed a substantial obstacle to a forthcoming IPO, which has been the subject of considerable discussion in the financial and fashion industries.
In September 2011, Burch did her first runway fashion show, and has continued to show each season at New York Fashion Week.
In Fall 2013, Burch launched her first fragrance and a beauty capsule collection with EstÃ©e Lauder.
In Summer 2014, she introduced a line of accessories for the Fitbit Flex activity-tracking device, making hers the first major fashion brand to move into wearable technology. Fall 2014 marked the publication of her first and bestselling book, Tory Burch in Color, and the launch of watches with Fossil. In March 2015, Burch extended her home line with a collection of lettuce ware created in collaboration with Palm Beach artist and potter Dodie Thayer.
Her style has been described as preppy-boho and preppy-bohemian luxe and is associated with her T-logo medallion. Known for being easy to wear and versatile, her styles are popular with women of all ages, including the viewers and fans of the television show Gossip Girl, where they were often featured. In 2007, there were wait lists to buy her fashions, which are known for color and print and often pay homage to styles of the 1960s and 1970s. Burch named her line of Reva ballerina flats after her mother.
Selected television appearances
In 2005, Burch won the Rising Star Award for Best New Retail Concept from the Fashion Group International. In 2007, she won the Accessory Brand Launch of the year award from the Accessories Council of Excellence. In 2008, Burch won the Council of Fashion Designers of America award for Accessories Designer of the Year. Working Mother included her on their list of the 50 Most Powerful Moms of 2015.
Burch has consistently been included on Forbesââ'â list of The Worldâs 100 Most Powerful Women. As of 2014, she is listed as the 79th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
Burch serves on the boards of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Startup America Partnership and the Barnes Foundation. She is a member of the Industry Advisory Board of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of Business, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She chaired the 2007 spring gala for the American Ballet Theatre.
In 2009, Burch founded the Tory Burch Foundation, which supports the economic empowerment of women in the U.S. through small business loans, mentoring and entrepreneurial education. The foundation is currently partnered with ACCION USA, a non-profit domestic microfinance provider founded in 1991.
In 2014, the foundation launched Elizabeth Street Capital, an initiative with Bank of America, with an initial investment of $10 million in capital to provide women entrepreneurs with access to low cost loans, mentoring support and networking opportunities. The initiative is named for the location of the first Tory Burch boutique. The foundation also offers an entrepreneurial education program in collaboration with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and Babson College. Burchâs stores sell products whose proceeds support the Foundationâs work.
In April 2014, the Obama Administration named Burch an inaugural member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, a group of successful American businesspeople committed to developing the next generation of entrepreneurs in the U.S. and around the world. Other members of PAGE include Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, and entertainment producer Quincy Jones.
In 1993 she married William Macklowe, son of real-estate tycoon Harry B. Macklowe, and was divorced within a year. In 1996 she married J. Christopher Burch, an investor in Internet Capital Group, a venture capital firm founded by Walter Buckley and Ken Fox. Although divorced from Burch in 2006, she continues to use his last name, and for some time continued to live with her children in their New York City apartment; she has three sons and three stepdaughters. She dated Lance Armstrong in 2007. More recently, she has been linked to Lyor Cohen.
In January 2013, Forbes magazine estimated that she is now a billionaire with a net worth of $1.0 billion.
- Official website
- Tory Burch Foundation website
- Tory Burch at the Fashion Model Directory