Tory Burch (born June 17, 1966; née Robinson) is an American fashion designer, businesswoman, and philanthropist, who has won several fashion awards for her designs. She is the Chairman, CEO, and Designer of Tory Burch LLC. In 2015, she was listed as the 73rd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
Early life and education
Burch was born in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Reva (née Schapira) and Ira Earl "Bud" Robinson (1923–2007). 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 was captain of the tennis team, and was a friend of jewelry designer Kara Ross. Her first job was at Benetton in the King of Prussia Mall.
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.
Burch began her fashion label – "TRB by Tory Burch", later known as Tory Burch – in February 2004, launching it with a retail store in Manhattan's Nolita district. 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 more than 200 Tory Burch stores worldwide. 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.
In 2015 Burch also introduced a separate performance activewear line, Tory Sport, with a dedicated website and a pop-up shop. A stand-alone store on Fifth Avenue in New York, as well as boutiques in East Hampton and Dallas, were opened in 2016. As of late 2017 Tory Sport has stores in several cities around the U.S. and an in-store boutique at the Tory Burch store in Hong Kong.
Burch's 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 Tory Burch 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
|2005||The Oprah Winfrey Show||Guest||April 4, 2005 episode|
|2009||Gossip Girl||Herself||Season 3, episode 4|
|2010||Project Runway||Guest judge||Season 7, episode 6|
|2012||CBS News Sunday Morning||Guest||January 29, 2012 episode|
|Iconoclasts||Documentary subject||Season 6, episode 4|
|2014||Good Morning America||Guest||October 14, 2014 episode|
|Charlie Rose||Interviewee||October 16, 2014 episode|
Awards and recognition
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 at the Accessories Council Excellence Awards. 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. In 2015, she received the Breast Cancer Research Foundation's Sandra Taub Humanitarian Award.
Burch has consistently been included on Forbes' list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. As of 2015, she is listed as the 73rd 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. Burch’s stores sell products whose proceeds support the foundation’s work.
Among its initiatives, the Tory Burch Foundation offers an entrepreneurial education program, in collaboration with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and Babson College. The foundation also offers a fellows competition providing women entrepreneurs a chance to compete for business-education grants, year-long mentoring, and a $50,000 grant plus a $50,000 no-interest investment in their business.
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. In April 2016, Bank of America increased funding for the program to $20 million for loans in 2016 and 2017. The initiative, originally named for the location of the first Tory Burch boutique, is now known as the Tory Burch Foundation Capital program.
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 March 2017, to coincide with International Women's Day and Women's History Month, the Tory Burch Foundation launched Embrace Ambition, a global campaign to address the double standard that exists around ambition, which is often seen as a positive trait in men and a negative one in women. The campaign includes a video PSA featuring a variety of celebrities, both women and men. In September 2017, Burch wrote an opinion piece in TIME on pay equity for women, noting how equal pay benefits society and business across the board.
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. Afterward she was for some time linked to Lyor Cohen. In early 2016 Burch became engaged to Pierre-Yves Roussel, the chairman and CEO of the LVMH Fashion Group. The couple had been dating since 2014.
Forbes magazine has estimated that she is a billionaire, with a net worth of $1.0 billion as of 2013.