"We have a lot of designer customers shopping in our stores who think of us as their Gap."
Former tomboy Tory Burch was raised on a farm in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Growing up with three brothers Burch was a very active child, participating in sports such as tennis and horse back riding. While in college at the University of Pennsylvania, Tory began to look at fashion in a new light and after graduating she made the move to New York City with hopes of breaking into the fashion world. Throughout the nineties Burch gained experience working for known companies Zoran, Loewe, and Harper’s Bazaar along with American icon’s Vera Wang and Ralph Lauren. Seeing a void in the market for affordable yet sophisticated looks Tory Burch took it upon herself to make the change. In February 2004 she launched her eponymous label with the opening of her first flagship boutique. The ‘Tory Burch’ brand is a lifestyle concept featuring ready-to-wear clothing, handbags, shoes, and jewelry. Her designs were an instant success; almost selling out on opening day. Women of all ages clamor for Burch’s graphic prints and bold colored designs with ethnic and vintage details, especially celebrities like Uma Thurman, Hilary Swank, Paris Hilton and Blake Lively.
In 2005, the Fashion Group International recognized Tory Burch with the ‘Rising Star Award’ for best new retail concept. She created luxurious and unique boutiques, reminiscent of a room in a home rather than a store by using bright orange and mirrored walls, vintage chandeliers, orange lacquered door, lucite fixtures and comfy white couches. That same year superstar Oprah Winfrey gave Burch the boost she needed to become a household name. As a huge fan and customer, Oprah declared Tory Burch “the next big thing in fashion” during her first appearance on the celebrated talk show.
The next year Burch unveiled her signature shoe, named after her mother; the ‘Reva’ ballerina flat. The timeless style was an immediate hit with fashionistas across the globe, most notably Cameron Diaz and Reese Witherspoon. Later on in 2006, Burch announced an international distribution deal with premier retailer Harvey Nichols for their locations in London and Dubai. In 2007 thanks to the extraordinary success of the ‘Reva’ ballerina flat Burch received the ‘Accessory Brand Launch of the Year’ award from the Accessories Council of Excellence. To date, she operates sixteen free standing boutiques located throughout the US and is sold in over 400 high end department and specialty stores worldwide. In 2008 the CFDA honored Burch with ‘Accessory Designer of the Year’ award.
Tory Burch very much inspired by interior designer David Hicks, art, photography, vintage fashion, the styles of the 60s and 70s, and most notably her parents (who she considers her favorite style icons). In 2007 with only 3 years in the industry as a designer, Burch is accepted as a member of the CFDA.