Tory Burch sees the key of success through a keyhole of its iconic tunics. The company makes women's apparel, accessories, footwear, and eyewear inspired by the '60s and '70s. The design firm, launched in 2003 by Tory Burch and Fiona Kotur Marin, opened the first of its now nearly 50 US stores in 2004. Tory Burch operates boutiques in major cities and resort locales and runs about half a dozen outlet stores in the US. Tory Burch sells items through its website and worldwide through some 1,000 specialty retailers, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Harvey Nichols, and Bergdorf Goodman. Tory Burch sold a small stake in the namesake company to Tresalia Capital, a Mexico City-based private investment firm, in 2009.
Since Tresalia Capital's investment, Tory Burch has extended its reach overseas to open stores in Japan, Italy, Korea, and the Philippines. In 2010 alone, the apparel retailer opened 20 new doors -- 13 in the US and seven across Osaka, Seoul, Hong Kong, Kobe, and Taipei. In 2012 the apparel maker and retailer is expanding to Canada with a store in the tony Yorkdale shopping center in Toronto.
Begun by a Hamptons socialite, Tory Burch is still considered to be a relatively young apparel company. Regardless, founder Burch's design finesse and business savvy have enabled her namesake company to land lucrative licensing deals. As a result, the Tory Burch company has become a memorable name among celebrities and the social elite, helping it morph itself into a lifestyle brand with multiple product categories.
While the Tory Burch company maintains a firm grip on its apparel collection, Tory Burch has been expanding its shoe and handbag lines to include about two-dozen styles of footwear, including Burch's signature ballet flats and about a dozen purse styles. The manufacturer and retailer sells eyewear, too, thanks to a licensing agreement with behemoth Luxottica that extends through 2015. The collection includes sunglasses and ophthalmic frames. For growth and to further develop its brand among iconic lifestyle names such as Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch is looking to expand into other product categories through licenses, including fragrance, watches, and costume jewelry.
What also helps the company market itself and tap into its youthful visage is using social media to keep itself in front of customers and gather feedback from them. Tory Burch, herself, is an avid user of Twitter and Facebook as a way to interact and "co-create" products with fans, with statements such as "Should I design a line of travel socks?" as she navigated through airport security in bare feet.
The style of Tory Burch apparel is all-American with a spice of ethnicity and flair from her family's visits to Morocco. With a background in fashion public relations, Tory Burch spent her career at Zoran, Harper's Bazaar, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, and Loewe. As a nod to Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch launched a denim collection in 2010. The full line consists of six styles in a handful of washes and includes ready-to-wear pieces.
The fashion firm launched the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009 to offer economic opportunities for US women and their families. The foundation has plans to broaden its scope to extend internationally. The company is also involved with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre.
The company changed its name from River Light V to Tory Burch LLC in spring 2006. – less