Having had the privilege of attending the grand opening festivities of Tory Burch’s flagship store in Shanghai’s Kerry Centre last month (currently the largest in the world for the American brand and her 10th in China), I left with a much better understanding of this namesake designer who seems to have it all.
Besides still helming the business that’s only a decade old yet generated over a billion dollars in revenue in 2013, she is also mother to 3 sons and 3 step-daughters, and currently dating Pierre-Yves Roussel, Chairman and CEO of the LVMH Fashion Group. In other words, a woman who’s living her American Dream.
In a group interview held at Tory Burch’s flagship that’s every bit as elegant and as poised as the woman herself, here are some excerpts about her early days, who the Tory Burch woman is, and her plans for the future.
‘It was a pretty full collection – we launched with a store with 12 categories. It was everything from RTW, it was shoes, jewellery, umbrellas. For me it was also about how we can create an identity and also thinking about branding, about what I saw that we were capable of making and offering the customer something beautiful at the lowest cost that we possibly could.
One of the things I was trying to do is make things a little simpler and not as complicated and give women options. A pretty simple idea of designing beautiful clothes that didn’t cost a fortune – that was the start of it.’
– The early days of Tory Burch with the first collection conceptualised and created from all places, her kitchen.
‘I still am very much a part of the creative process but I’m also the CEO. That’s very energising to me because I really do love both worlds and they are very different. I think it’s great to have a creative perspective but keeping business in mind. If something is not selling, it’s not an emotional thing for me. We have to find something that is working and not commercial meaning design that works from a selling standpoint, so we can have a business but also interesting from a fashion standpoint.’
– On finding the right balance between her roles as CEO and still being heavily involved in the creative process.
‘It’s definitely growing – in the beginning it was that 30 to 45-year-old mum or working woman. But now we have a much younger customer. What I like is that women really take it and make it their own. We are very proud to be an American brand but I think we have a global outlook. My inspiration and our team’s is very much about different cultures and different kinds of women all around the world.’
– Who the Tory Burch woman is, and how that has evolved over the last decade.
‘I personally do Instagram and Twitter. I love Instagram because I’m so visual as a person and I love seeing other people’s pictures as well.
– On her love of Instagram.
‘I think home is a very difficult business, and we are not rushing into a big home collection, but we are doing more gifting and tabletop items. We are also doing sports activewear soon – I love sports and it’s a natural extension of the brand. I think the way the world is going, it’s a little more casual.’
– Just some of the plans she’s lined up for Tory Burch.
‘One of the best advice I received is from my parents. They said ‘think of negativity as noise’, believe in yourself and tune it out. Also, have a unique idea and be prepared to work super hard.’
– Advice for women who want to start their own business.
Image: Tory Burch