Since starting her namesake label in 2004, Tory Burch has grown it into a billion-dollar brand built on an innate understanding of what women want. Part Hamptons ease and part Manhattan polish, Burch’s vision of effortless American sportswear has resonated around the world. But in a year unlike any other, the designer and entrepreneur, like so many others, has had to pause and pivot. Here, she shares what she has learnt and her plans going forth.
The global lockdowns earlier this year served as opportunities for many to rethink the way they work—what was it like for you?
The first few months were incredibly tough. Our priority was safety, for our employees and customers. After we closed the office, we went home and didn’t leave the room for almost a month. It was a crazy time—trying to protect jobs, keep people safe and get the support we needed to continue to operate.
As a designer and an entrepreneur, what were some of the big lessons you’ve learnt from having to weather this crisis?
There is no playbook for a pandemic, and as I reflect on what feels like thousands of decisions, I realise that a great team, clear values and a deep awareness of interconnection have enabled us to weather this storm. The value of interconnection has played out in so many ways. For example, early on, we saw there was no unified voice speaking up for American fashion, and so we advocated in Washington for the needs of our own industry as well as those of landlords and suppliers.
The emphasis on relationships has also informed how we communicate with our customers. From the beginning of the pandemic, I wanted to be more personal. It felt important to share my challenges, frustrations and hopes. We’re part of an ecosystem and everything is connected. It’s vital that this spirit comes through in everything we do and I think this collegial spirit is so important for the industry going forward. Each of our successes—and that of our partners— are so intertwined.
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