“There were a lot of people doubting what we were doing in the beginning,” Tory Burch, both creative director and chief executive of her eponymous fashion company, told BoF on the eve of her Spring/Summer 2013 show. “I’m an information gatherer, I like hearing what people feel and think, but at the end of the day, you have to believe in yourself and go with your instinct and gut.”
With neither traditional business school nor design school training, Burch and her well-honed instincts have built one of fashion’s hottest properties in just eight short years. Known for its American, bohemian-prep sportswear, her luxury lifestyle brand, stocked globally in 73 Tory Burch boutiques and over 1,000 department and specialty stores, is expected to make over $800 million in sales this year, according to market sources.
Burch is also focused on the digital opportunity. “We want to be at the forefront of social media. I think it’s a very interesting way to have a conversation with your customer and get authentic feedback,” she said. “It’s not always positive, but we have to really listen.”
Authenticity is also key. “We started doing Twitter and I thought it was in the wrong way — it was more promotional. I realized Twitter has to be my voice, it has to be authentic and interesting. It shouldn’t be about something on sale. The customer is very savvy. They want authenticity. They’re not interested in hearing about promotional things.”
Integrating social media with commerce is her next big digital priority. “We look at online as our number one store. What’s exciting is that there isn’t really a cap. So I think the Internet and social media and tying in commerce with that is going to be very important in the future.”
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