Some examples: There are 187 steps from her apartment to the car; three dogs she’ll see in the office; 62 raw almonds on her desk, though she prefers fries. Fifteen is the number of times she’s lost her glasses, 12 the number of times her voicemail will be filled this week, six is her favorite number and the number of her children, there are 52 family photos around her office, 1,863 sequins on the dress she was wearing, and 30,000 pairs of Reva ballet flats were sold in the first year.
And while not one of the figures animating the 60-second video presenting Burch in her active life, the Tory Burch company is 14 years old. Moreover, founder, chief executive officer and creative director Burch is now the fourteenth “Mytheresa.com Woman,” joining a lineup of Mytheresa ambassadors that includes Alexa Chung, Brooke Shields, Diane Kruger, Victoria Beckham, Laura Brown, Liv Tyler and Carine Roitfeld.
Mytheresa brought Burch to Berlin to first share some insights about her career, brand and commitment to women’s empowerment and female entrepreneurship with young women, fashion students and businesswomen at a talk with the luxury etailer’s president Michael Kliger. The venue: the Animal Anatomy Lecture hall, a circular edifice dating back to 1790 where students used to observe the dissection of animals.
Burch’s conversation was also often revealing — her frank response on how to balance work and family a perhaps unexpected, you can’t. “There is no trick,” she told the audience. “I focus on my family first. If I wasn’t a great mom, I wouldn’t be a great ceo.”
She talked teamwork all the way, noting “I’m good at surrounding myself with the best people in the world.” She stressed there are no easy answers in the fashion business. “I’ve had my 360’s,” she acknowledged, describing Tory Burch as a constant work in progress and her professional life “a journey full of all sorts of twists and turns.”
When shopping for funding as a young businesswoman, she recalled being told by a banker never to say social responsibility and business in the same sentence. The Tory Burch Foundation, launched in 2009 to empower women entrepreneurs and provide access to low-interest capital, has been an integral part of her plan from Day One, and is helping to turn that thinking around.
Some numbers of note: partnering with Bank of America, the foundation has distributed close to $35 million in low-interest credit to 1,773 women in the U.S. Meanwhile, over the last 12 months the foundation provided online tools and digital education to more than 200,000 women and more than 10,000 people created their business plans on the foundation’s web site.
“Doing good is good for business,” she stated, “though I didn’t realize how great it was for the bottom line.” She said it wasn’t only Millennials who care, “but so do many others who know we want to do good.” However, she emphasized she never wanted the work of the foundation to be perceived as a marketing ploy.
Kliger concurred. “Ambassadorship for our brand has to be authentic and resonate with our customer, without turning it into a marketing tool. Mytheresa Women have a cause they articulate, a purpose and are successful in their life. People appreciate it, and Tory is perfect in all aspects. “
To further celebrate the long-term partnership between Burch and mytheresa.com, which has carried the collection since 2011 and launched Tory Sport in 2017, the e-tailer took over the mirrored ballroom of East Berlin institution Clärchens Ballhaus. The both majestic and, in typical Berlin manner, rundown upstairs room, which for years had been used for storage, was filled with a garden of spring blooms and select guests from the worlds of film, art, fashion and business.
As for her company’s future prospects, which seem to be poised for a shift in its investor base, “it’s an exciting time,” Burch told WWD. “In the last few years, we’ve overturned every rock and are really thinking about growth. But we want careful measured growth with a long-term perspective.”
At the same time, Burch is committed to the concept of less. “I am really proud and excited about the work we have done in product, but how do you really have less is more? It’s about less everything, and very strict editing.” The goal: “less product, but product with more integrity,” she summed up.