The fashion industry is filled with exceptional designers with inspiring stories to tell, and entrepreneur and self-made billionaire Tory Burch is one of them. Although she had no traditional business and design school training, Burch was able to build one of today’s hottest fashion brands based on her well-honed instincts and personal story. A recipient of various awards and recognition, including the Council of Fashion Designers of America award for Accessories Designer of the Year in 2009 and Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful Women list, Burch has certainly helped change the world’s view of female entrepreneurs.
As the CEO of her eponymous multi-billion dollar fashion company, Tory Burch does not only make women from all over the world excited over her preppy clothes and accessories. She also serves as a great example and inspiration for entrepreneurs like you! Below are lessons and insights from Burch that you can use for your business.
Follow and Feed Your Passion
Tory Burch grew up as a self-described tomboy. But her parents were very fashionable, so she naturally developed an interest and passion for fashion. She has worked for influential designers such as Ralph Lauren and Vera Wang and later on decided to launch her own company in 2004. Not only did she follow her passion, she also dreamed big, took a risk and put herself out there. Because of this, Tory Burch, the fashion label, soon achieved a successful global brand status.
Furthermore, Burch’s passion for fashion comes with her passion to help others. Burch is not just a designer and entrepreneur. She’s also a philanthropist. When she started her company, she already has a plan to start a foundation to support the economic empowerment of female entrepreneurs and their families. This plan materialized when she launched the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009.
Think Big and Long Term
From the very start, Tory Burch wanted to build a global brand. So from the first retail store launched in Manhattan, the company now has over 200 Tory Burch stores worldwide. She says, “Every decision we make is about the long-term and about how it will affect the brand five, ten years from now.” This long-term plan includes doing something good for the future of the company as well as the employees.
Growing her company wasn’t all that easy for Tory Burch. There were naysayers and critics who thought that she won’t last long in the industry. But she chose to follow her parents’ advice to think of negativity as a noise and to thicken her skin. This helped her to move forward and keep on doing what she’s doing. “Believe in yourself and what you’re doing. Remember: if the most unique ideas were obvious to everyone, there wouldn’t be entrepreneurs. The one thing that every entrepreneurial journey has in common is that there are many, many steps on the road to success,” she says.
Work Hard and Be Patient
Tory Burch was once described as an “overnight success.” But for her, nobody can really become successful overnight. Before she opened her first store, she and her team put millions of hours learning the industry and building the business. According to Burch, “We may live in an age of instant messaging, instant gratification and Instagram, but there is no way to short circuit the path to success. It takes hard work, tenacity and patience.”
There were setbacks as Burch grows the business, but there were boosts as well, like when Oprah Winfrey endorsed her line and called it “The Next Big Thing in Fashion.” After that shout-out, her website gained 8 million hits. Some may call it luck, but Burch’s success now is more of because of hard work and patience.
Build Lasting Relationships
“Every job that you have might not be the perfect job, but you really take away different things, and you create relationships,” Burch believes. For her, networking, collaboration, and rooting for other women not only create relationships. More importantly, these help further your career and pave the way for your success.
Tory Burch isn’t just an amazing designer and entrepreneur, who’s now on top of the fashion world. She’s also a philanthropist empowering other women entrepreneurs. Business owners like you will definitely benefit from the valuable advice, principles, and leadership lessons that she learned on her journey to success!
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Visit our other blogs featuring female business leaders for our business lessons series:
- Bold Business Lessons from Arianna Huffington
- Infographic: Business Lessons from Top Women Entrepreneurs
- Smart Business Insights from General Motors CEO Mary Barra
- Valuable Business Lessons from Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi
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