Fashion Designer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist
Tory Burch always loved fashion – and she managed to turn this love into a very successful career. Her first job as a teenager was working at a clothing store at the mall, and once she graduated from college, she went to work for Zoran, a fashion designer, in New York City.
She learned about fashion from a marketing perspective as well, working for Harper’s Bazaar magazine and in public relations for Vera Wang and Polo Ralph Lauren. By 2004, she was ready to start her own line, TRB by Tory Burch, and she launched it in her own store in New York City’s fashionable NoLita district.
She sold almost everything on the first day she opened. When Oprah Winfrey featured her line, then just called “Tory Burch” the following year, her fortune was made. She now has 160 stores all over the world, plus a fashion line that is sold at 3,000 department stores. She is considered one of the top 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes magazine and was worth $1.0 billion as of 2013.
Burch has used her wealth to make a difference for women, especially women who want to start their own businesses. In 2009, Burch founded the Tory Burch Foundation, which supports the economic empowerment of women in the U.S. through small business loans, mentoring, and training in how to start and run a business.
The foundation contributed $10 million to provide women entrepreneurs with access to low-cost loans, mentoring support and networking opportunities. The foundation hosts a competition for women entrepreneurs to compete for business-education grants, year-long mentoring, and a $50,000 grant plus a $50,000 no-interest investment in their business. She also serves on the board of several organizations, including two that are working to fight cancer (the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation ).