HOW I MAKE IT WORK...
AS SHE EXPANDS INTO AUSTRALIA WITH HER FIRST FRAGRANCE, THE FASHION DESIGNER EXPLAINS HOW SHE BUILT A GLOBAL BILLION-DOLLAR EMPIRE FROM SCRATCH
Tory Burch on juggling fashion with family.
When I was creating my company, I had to pull from what I knew because I didn’t go to design or business school. I wanted to build a lifestyle brand, inspired by my country childhood in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, with very stylish parents.
My view of business is that you have to find your inspiration first. Meet a need with your own point of view; provide something unique that sets you apart. I came up with the concept of the company when I took four years off [from fashion PR] and was raising three babies under the age of four at home. It was post-9/11 – a hard time to start a fashion company. But I became addicted to watching CNN and kept seeing this commercial about following your dream, and starting a business.
I thought, “I can work from home for the first couple of years.” It was really intense taking my children to Asia and India for factory meetings in the first eight months to set up the company.
Lifestyle was not an overused term back then. Our classic yet bohemian aesthetic and pricepoint were different; I challenged myself to deliver chic clothing with beautiful detailing and fabrics that didn’t cost a fortune. That definitely struck a chord.
I learnt how to be a boss on the job. I wanted a great work culture. I was raised to be respectful to everyone, and expect the same in return. I have a lot of patience and don’t get sick at sea in the midst of chaos. I’m good at delegating and have faith in my team. The biggest challenge of a macro environment is keeping a team that has offices around the world as a cohesive unit – and embracing innovation.
Unfortunately, gender does come into business culture far too often. Both female entrepreneurs and men need to be part of the same conversation. There’s validity to having women on boards and in the workforce; they think differently and are as valid as any man. You can’t discount 50 per cent of the talent pool!
I have a strong work ethic and have to be careful my team and I don’t work too much – it’s not sustainable.
I have created a line in the sand: family and children come first. I love being with them in South Hampton and Antigua – with privacy and fresh air. I’m a country girl at heart.
STYLE MAVEN Tory Burch grew her thriving fashion and lifestyle brand while bringing up three small children.
Identify the “white space” opportunities in the market – what’s missing? Be prepared for measured risk. It’s hard to put yourself out there but if you really believe in yourself, taking that jump is necessary. Don’t overthink it. Pay it forward. Our foundation offers female entrepreneurs loans and mentoring. Never waste knowledge. 1. 2. 3.