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Burch Building Tory by TRB Team

Burch tapped Brigitte Kleine to be TRB’s president and Melissa Kagan as director of sales, both new posts.

NEW YORK — Tory Burch is assembling a team to position her budding Tory by TRB lifestyle brand for global growth.

Burch tapped Brigitte Kleine to be TRB’s president and Melissa Kagan as director of sales, both new posts.

Kleine was at Michael Kors, where she was senior vice president of the women’s signature and better-priced Michael Michael Kors collections. Before joining Kors in 2002, she was president of American wholesale and retail sales at Alexander McQueen, and earlier worked at Donna Karan for eight years, rising to president of international licensing before leaving in 2001. Kagan worked at Kors Michael Kors as director of sales until 2003.

“We really have been needing someone to focus every aspect of the company for a long time,” Burch said. “[TRB] has taken on a life of its own and grown quite a bit since we officially opened.”

TRB looked for a president for some time. Last September, the firm hired Mary Wang, brand president of DKNY, but Wang changed her mind after Donna Karan International moved to retain her.

Kleine will handle several responsibilities, including production, global sales, merchandising and marketing. Both Kleine and Kagan will report to Burch and her husband, Christopher Burch, chairman and chief executive officer, who is expected to hand over some of his responsibilities to Kleine.

Burch and her Hong Kong business partner, Fiona Kotur Marin, launched the lifestyle collection of sportswear and accessories in August 2003. It has been building momentum, opening a flagship at 257 Elizabeth Street in  NoLIta. A second, 2,000-square-foot flagship at 142 South Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles is set to open in May. “We are looking to open two to three stores in the next year,” Burch said.

For spring, TRB is being distributed to 45 doors, including select Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus stores, Bergdorf Goodman and Scoop. For fall, the company anticipates the distribution will double, with a collection that features detailed beadwork and embroidery on skinny pants, coats and tunics in earthy browns and greens, and embellished clutches, sandals and boots.

“We are going to build handbags and footwear, and we are talking to someone for sunglasses and a fragrance eventually,” Burch said.