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Tory Burch – The Queen of Accessible Luxury Fashion

Full Name Tory Robinson Burch
Born June 17, 1966 (age 57 years)
Birthplace Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Residence New York City, U.S.
Occupation Fashion designer, businesswoman
Years active 2004–present
Net worth $1 billion (Forbes 2022)
Social Media Instagram

As a longtime admirer of Tory Burch‘s sophisticated designs, I‘m thrilled to have the opportunity to highlight one of fashion‘s most successful self-made female entrepreneurs. In just under two decades, Burch has built a global luxury lifestyle empire worth over $6 billion. She represents the ultimate aspirational American success story.

Early Life and Education

Born in 1966 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to wealthy parents, Tory Robinson enjoyed a privileged upbringing that exposed her to beauty, style and the arts from a young age. Her father was an investor in the Pennsylvania Railroad company and her mother was a well-known actress. Burch attended the prestigious Agnes Irwin School, graduating in 1984.

She then enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated in 1988 with a degree in art history. As a college student, Burch was already drawn to fashion, beauty and design. Her education helped nurture her creative eye.

“I’ve been very interested in design, interiors and fashion since I was a child.” – Tory Burch

After graduating, Burch moved to New York City to pursue a career in fashion.

Road to Founding Her Brand

After college, Burch kickstarted her fashion career working for Zoran, a Yugoslavian designer. She then moved into PR as the public relations manager for Vera Wang and Ralph Lauren. Her last role before launching her own label was division vice president of public relations and advertising for Loewe in 1999.

During her stint at Loewe, Burch began sketching handbag and apparel designs, laying the groundwork for her future brand.

“When I was working at Loewe in Spain, I started sketching designs. I’ve always loved fashion and the creative process, and really wanted to start my own brand.”

In 2004 at age 37, Tory Burch left Loewe and founded her own fashion label, Tory Burch LLC, in New York City.

She opened her first boutique on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan. With an initial investment of just $2 million of her personal savings, she launched a fashion line consisting of apparel, handbags and footwear.

The Signature Tory Burch Aesthetic

Tory Burch‘s background in both fashion and interiors is evident in her design aesthetic, which blends vibrant colors, vintage themes, worldly textiles and unique prints into an effortlessly chic look.

As a fan, I‘ve always admired how her style combines classic American sportswear staples with eclectic bohemian accents taken from her global travels.

Some signature Tory Burch elements include:

  • Americana Details: Navy colors, toggle closures, crest embellishments
  • Worldly Touches: Boho-chic tunics, vibrant hues, tassel accents
  • Classic Silhouettes: Day dresses, tailored separates, wrap coats
  • Distinct Prints: Bold florals, animal prints, preppy plaids and stripes
  • Luxe Materials: Embroidered velvet, silk chiffon, brocade

“I design things I want to wear myself—quick, easy pieces that are polished and practical.” – Tory Burch

This effortless, globetrotting style struck a chord with modern professional women looking for everyday luxury pieces.

Rapid Global Success

The accessible luxury designs and instant brand recognition of the double-T logo resonated widely. By December 2004, Tory Burch merchandise was being sold in over 300 stores across the United States. Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus were among the first major department stores to carry the label.

The brand‘s early iconic product was the Reva ballet flat. Inspired by Tory‘s mother‘s necklace, the discreet double-T medallion gave the shoes an instant prestige and recognition. Over 750,000 pairs of Reva flats were sold in the first 5 years – an incredible success story.

In 2007, Oprah Winfrey endorsed the Reva flats on her popular television show. I still remember the excitement when Oprah declared, “The ballet flats that every fashionista is wearing: Tory Burch!” This coveted endorsement helped boost the brand’s visibility and prestige.

Awards and Global Expansion

Tory Burch‘s meteoric success in her first few years led to numerous accolades:

  • 2005: Fashion Group International Rising Star Award for Retail Concept of the Year
  • 2007: Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Accessory Designer of the Year
  • 2008: Named one of Time‘s 100 Most Influential People
  • 2009: CFDA Accessory Designer of the Year award

Propelled by these recognitions and the brand‘s growing fanbase, Tory Burch opened boutiques in Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Rome and Tokyo between 2007-2010.

By 2011, her company reached $800 million in total revenue – an incredible figure just 7 years after launch. Her designs were clearly resonating with stylish women globally.

A Powerhouse Brand Today

Flash forward to 2022, and the Tory Burch empire encompasses:

  • Over 300 retail stores worldwide
  • A product assortment spanning ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, accessories, beauty and home.
  • Estimated annual revenues of $1.5 billion
  • Total brand value estimated at over $6 billion
  • Over 4,000 employees worldwide

Tory Burch‘s inspirational success story proves that with hard work, self-belief, and staying true to your vision, you can turn a startup idea into a billion-dollar brand.

The future looks bright for this powerhouse label. With Tory‘s leadership and discerning eye steering the ship, I‘m excited to see the continued expansion of this beloved American luxury brand.