The world of fashion. Fast-paced. Always changing. Competitors among competitors among competitors. Consumers are always searching for the best; for something new, something exciting. Even established brands that have faced the test of time are facing new challenges due to the increased hyper-competitiveness of the industry.
Tory Burch. The label everyone wants to wear, and the woman everyone wants to be. She is coined as the most copied, most influential designer in America, and recently landed herself on Forbes’ Billionaire List. So how did Tory Burch go from a brand launched out of a kitchen to one valued at over $3.5 billion in a mere 8 years? Let’s find out.
Insight #1: The significance of the CEO on image differentiation and organizational structure.
Tory Burch has successfully blended her private and public life, which we can see on The Tory Blog and her Twitter. Just take a look at the lady: she’s beautiful, put-together, a mother of 6, and did I mention a billionaire? Consumers are shelling out hundreds to have the medallion double “T” logo on their clothes, handbags, accessories, and shoes. But Tory didn’t have it made from the start. She built her brand through editorial relationships and personal appearances, which allowed people to get to know her as both a person and businesswoman. Tory is not just the face of her brand- she is the brand- but she is also a powerful and decisive CEO. Vera Wang says of Tory: “She understands business from a P.R. standpoint. That’s what the business is about today.”
Insight #2: Proactiveness is an underpinning of success.
Tory Burch was a novice in the fashion industry when she launched her brand in February of 2004, the same month that Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook from his college dorm room. But that didn’t stop her. She realized a need in the market: women want luxury without the price tag. This is the niche where her affordable luxury lifestyle brand thrives. In 2006, she forever changed the fashion world when she came out with the “Reva” ballet flat. Now, women are able to look polished without wearing heels.
Tory is also proactive on the legal front. She is currently in the throes of a lawsuit with her ex-husband who came out with a copy-cat brand. Not to mention the $164 million in damages she won against online counterfeiters. Go Tory Go!
Insight #3: Adapting an entrepreneurial strategy will positively impact performance, regardless of the stage in a company’s lifecycle.
Although Tory found quick success, the start-up spirit is still alive in her business operations. They don’t advertise in traditional mediums. Ecommerce is the backbone of their revenues. They experiment with the intersection of social, local, and mobile. She recently entered a partnership with Estee Lauder for a fragrance and beauty line.
Tory Burch is one of my favorite designers. Although I can’t quite say her pieces are very affordable for me right now (hello, starving grad student here), they are aspirational, attainable, and just amazing. The fashion industry has a lot to learn from Tory Burch, but so does any other company. To be able to compete and continually succeed in a high velocity environment has takeaways for all. So if we tuck away these insights into our marketing repertoire, maybe one day we can build a brand to the likes of Tory Burch, and hopefully just as quickly!