Tory Burch (née Robinson) is a fashion designer, business owner, and philanthropist from America. She is the founder and owner of the fashion label Tory Burch LLC and presently serves as its executive chairman and chief creative officer. A native of Pennsylvania, Tory grew up in a Valley Forge farmhouse. Her family was wealthy, and she studied at the Agnes Irwin School. Later, she enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, from where she obtained an art history degree in 1988. Burch began her career at Benetton in the King of Prussia mall. After college, she relocated to New York, where she was hired by the Yugoslavian designer Zoran. In the next few years, she also worked at Harper’s Bazaar, Vera Wang, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Loewe. In February 2004, she launched TRB by Tory Burch, which later became Tory Burch LLC. The business grew exponentially in the ensuing years, and by 2018, they had 250 stores worldwide. In 2015, Burch established a separate performance activewear line, Tory Sport. That year, she was ranked 73rd in the Forbes list of most powerful women in the world.
Tory Burch’s first job was at Benetton in the King of Prussia mall. After she graduated from college, she relocated to New York where she was given a job by the Yugoslavian designer Zoran. Later, she began working at ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ magazine. She subsequently was part of public relations and advertising departments at Vera Wang, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Loewe.
In February 2004, she founded TRB by Tory Burch, opening it with a retail store in Manhattan's Nolita district. It was later renamed Tory Burch LLC. Oprah Winfrey spoke in favour of her label on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ in April 2005, hailing Burch as "the next big thing in fashion". The next day, the line’s website garnered eight million hits.
As of 2018, the company had set up 250 stores all over the world. They have flagship stores in cities like New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo and Seoul. The largest one is located in Shanghai. The fashion line, which includes ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, accessories, watches, home decor, and a fragrance and beauty collection, is also sold through more than 3,000 department and specialty stores worldwide, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and Galeries Lafayette, as well as Lane Crawford and Isetan.
In September 2011, Burch organised her inaugural fashion show and has since hosted shows each season at New York Fashion Week. In the fall of 2013, she set up her first fragrance and a beauty capsule collection in collaboration with Estée Lauder. She launched a line of accessories for the Fitbit Flex activity-tracking device in the summer of 2014, and her label effectively became the first-ever fashion brand to introduce wearable technology.
In September 2015, Burch launched a separate performance activewear line called Tory Sport. According to an estimation published by Forbes, she became a billionaire in 2013.
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Family & Personal Life
Born on June 17, 1966, in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, USA, Burch is one of the four children of Reva (née Schapira) and the late Ira Earl "Bud" Robinson. She and her three brothers were raised in a 250-year-old Georgian farmhouse located near Valley Forge National Historical Park. Her family was quite affluent. Her father, a wealthy investor, was the heir to a stock exchange seat and a paper cup company. From her mother’s side, she is of Jewish descent.
She was a student at Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, before enrolling at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied art history. She earned her graduate degree in 1988.
Tory has been married three times in her life. Her first husband is real-estate tycoon Harry B. Macklowe’s son, William Macklowe, to whom she was married for less than a year in 1993. She then exchanged wedding vows with investor and businessman J. Christopher Burch in 1996. Their twin sons, Nicholas “Nick” and Henry, were born in 1997. In 2001, they welcomed their youngest son, Sawyer. Although Tory and J. Christopher parted ways in 2006, she has continued using his last name. In November 2018, she tied the knot with Pierre-Yves Roussel, who was made the CEO at Burch’s fashion label in early 2019.
Burch is a member of 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 also part of the Industry Advisory Board of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of Business as well as the Council on Foreign Relations. She served as the chairperson of the 2007 spring gala for the American Ballet Theatre.
In 2009, she set up the Tory Burch Foundation, which provides financial support to American women through small business loans, mentoring and entrepreneurial education. In 2014, the foundation created Elizabeth Street Capital, with the help of Bank of America, so that low-cost loans, mentoring support and networking opportunities would be available for women entrepreneurs.
In April 2014, the Obama Administration appointed her as an inaugural member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship. Consisting of successful businesspeople, the group’s mission is to foster the next generation of entrepreneurs in US and around the world.