'I'm a sensitive person, so it was hard': Tory Burch on the struggle to launch her 'risky' multi-million dollar business
21:09 GMT, 15 October 2012
She is in the middle of a nasty legal battle with her ex-husband – who claims that she would be nothing without his help, money and guidance.
And now fashion star Tory Burch has admitted that she took a huge ‘risk’ in setting up her eponymous label eight years ago.
In a new interview, the 46-year-old designer– who has turned her dream into a $330-million-a-year international fashion empire – reveals: ‘I had never been to business school, I had never been to design school, and it was a risk.
What women want: Tory Burch discusses the battle to set up her company
‘It was putting myself out there in a way that was opening myself up for criticism.’
The striking blonde mother-of-three added: ‘I’m a sensitive person, so it was hard.'
In the interview with Harry Smith for NBC’s Brian Williams’ Rock Center, Mrs Burch told how she called people out of the blue and asked to show them her ‘image books’, scrap books that she had filled with clippings from magazines and catalogues .
She laughed: ‘I have about 30!’
Look books: Tory shows off the scrap books that she used to help set up her brand eight years ago
Mrs Burch studied art history at college and after graduating she took a series of jobs in fashion and marketing, including at Harper’s Bazaar magazine. She also worked alongside Ralph Lauren and Vera Wang.
When asked if she knew what women want, Mrs Burch replied: ‘Oh gosh, that’s such a hard question.
‘I know what I want and I think that some of the things that I want translate to what women want. I would say I learned along the way.’
Mother to sons Henry and Nick, 14, and 11-year-old Sawyer, Mrs Burch recently admitted she never expected things to get this big.
When she started, she had a five-year plan of three stores..But her clothes are now worn by A list stars ranging from Taylor Swift to Oprah Winfrey and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Last year, she added 18 new stores to her 46 Tory Burch shops worldwide and it was predicted that her 2011 revenue would jump by an eye-watering 52 per cent.
But she told Glamour magazine: ‘I see myself as a tomboy who grew up on a Pennsylvania farm and who has three kids.'
The way they were: Tory Burch and her ex-husband Chris before their divorce in 2006. Chris is now suing Tory.
Mrs Burch is still in a protracted legal battle with her ex-husband, who launched legal action against her earlier this month.
Mr Burch, 59, claims that his
ex-wife’s company is damaging his new rival design business, C. Wonder.
In a pointed attack on his former
wife, Mr Burch even claims that he was the brains behind her eponymous
and highly successful business.
papers filed by Mr Burch, who plans to get rid of 28.3 per cent stake
he owns in Tory Burch, believes the board of the company is hindering
the success of his new rival chain C. Wonder.
Last week, it was reported that Mrs Burch had sold her Hamptons mansion for $11million – less than half the figure she paid for it in 2008.
In the hot seat: Tory Burch interviewed by Harry Smith for Rock Center with Brian Williams
The fashion designer bought the Southampton property for $22.5million from ex-husband Chris Burch following their 2006 divorce.
However, neighbours, which include
billionaire David Koch, Calvin Klein and Rachael Ray, now fear that the
low sale price will affect the status of the upscale locale.
Mrs Burch, who has been trying to
sell the six-bedroom house since 2009 after a burst pipe caused
extensive water damage, was forced to repeatedly cut the asking price to
attract a buyer.
The ocean-front property, which was
built in 1980, initially went on sale at $17.9million, complete with
plans to replace it with a 7,100sq ft beach house designed by architect
The new buyer of Mrs Burch's home, whose name has not been revealed, apparently plans to do just that, according to the New York Post.
Typically properties in the area range in price from $30 to $50 million.
Mrs Burch, meanwhile, has already moved on, having purchased the nearby Howard Gittis estate for $16million at the end of 2011
The sprawling Jazz Age mansion has since featured in Vogue, following renovation by longtime friends Daniel Romuadlez and Eve Hood.
The designer told the magazine that she had not intended to buy a new home, least of all one of such grandeur, but fell for the pile after she had imagined her sons ‘growing up here, and then coming back with their families.'
Harry Smith's full report airs Thursday at 10pm/9c on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams.
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