How Tory Burch Built A $3.5 Billion Company In Less Than A Decade
Tory Burch is wildly successful.
Her eponymous fashion line, which includes high-end handbags and Reva ballet flats, is ubiquitous.
The designer's bags, sunglasses and shoes are flying off the shelves at Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom and Saks. She's competing with more established brands like Coach, Michael Kors and Kate Spade — and winning.
Burch's company is now valued at more than $3.5 billion.
Burch started her career a fashion copywriter. After her ex-husband, retail tycoon Christopher Burch, gave her $2 million, she began designing clothes in her kitchen. Before long, she had an important celebrity endorsement and soaring sales figures.
She's one of the most formidable CEOs in fashion— and she's also one of the sexiest.
We mapped out how Burch became a fashion billionaire.
Tory Burch grew up in Philadelphia. Her mother is a former actress, while her father was an investor. After graduating from high school, she attended the University of Pennsylvania.
Burch had a series of writing jobs before starting her fashion line. She worked for Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren and Harper's Bazaar.
In 2004, she launched her New York City flagship boutique. It's located in the retail mecca of NoLita.
Then, in 2005, she launched Toryburch.com. Her line was "preppy-boho" and was credited with making T-shirts trendy again.
In 2005, Burch's business exploded after Oprah endorsed her. The TV star, a fan of Burch's work, called her "the next big thing in fashion."
In 2006, Burch invented the 'Reva' ballet flat. The flats were an instant smash and would change women's casual and workwear.
In 2008, the Council of Fashion Designers of America named her the Accessory Designer Of The Year. Burch beat out heavyweights like Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs.
In 2009, Burch appeared on an episode of "Gossip Girl" as herself. The trendy cast often wore her designs.
In 2010, she launched a collection of sunglasses. The line is now carried at Nordstrom and Saks.
In 2011, she made her New York Fashion Week debut. Vogue reviewed her show and said: "Bravo, Tory Burch, then, for brilliantly flying the flag for sparkling newness without forgetting that great clothes should feel joyful and uplifting without being entirely devoid of practicality."
Today, Tory Burch's designs are all over the world. Her brand is available at 49 free-standing Tory Burch stores across the U.S., 24 international stores, toryburch.com, and over 1,000 select department and specialty stores worldwide.
In 2013, she launched her fragrance.
Burch is more popular than ever, with celebrities wearing her designs and attending her runway shows.
Burch's popularity is only increasing: her recent New York Fashion Week show was a hit.
Burch is focused on launching her own line of yoga, running, tennis, and golf apparel and accessories that will debut in spring 2015. She also has a menswear line in the works.
Tory Burch took the No. 2 spot on our list of Sexiest CEOs.