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Scene & Heard: Tory Burch Foundation

Olivia Fortson
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/23/16/28/fvGXK.Em.138.jpeg|352
    DIEDRA LAIRD - dlaird@charlotteobserver.com
    Tory Burch talks about her experience as a CEO at an event for women entrepreneurs on Wednesday.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/23/16/28/GDFnC.Em.138.jpeg|423
    - OLIVIA FORTSON
    Bri Salley with the Tory Burch store at SouthPark mall shows off a navy chevron striped jacket that Tory Burch says is her favorite piece from her pre-fall collection.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/23/16/28/su6fX.Em.138.jpeg|423
    - OLIVIA FORTSON
    Lawrence Libunao, Tory Burch’s director of international visual design.

The success story of fashion designer Tory Burch is impressive and inspirational. After having her third child, the working mother quit her job in 2004 to start her own fashion design company. She ran it out of her home for two years before opening her first boutique on Elizabeth Street in New York.

Now her shoes, purses, clothing and other lifestyle products have become among the most recognizable and popular brands in fashion, a feat that has propelled her onto Forbes’ list of billionaires and made her what the magazine proclaims as the 79th most powerful woman in the world.

On July 13, she dropped by the Tory Burch store at SouthPark mall for a private event to meet her top customers. The beauty of her brand (often described as preppy-bohemian with an edge) is that it appeals to a wide range of ages – so it was a well-dressed and eclectic group who packed the store.

Servers from Something Classic catering passed mirrored trays filled with treats, including macaroons in Burch’s signature orange color, while guests shopped her pre-fall collection, with 20 percent of the proceeds going to the Tory Burch Foundation.

She stayed until she had met and taken a photo with every customer.

Later that evening, she attended the Elizabeth Street Capital Entrepreneurial Insights and Networking Event for Women Entrepreneurs at the Foundation For the Carolinas.

It was meant to spread the word that the Tory Burch Foundation is teaming with Bank of America to promote Elizabeth Street Capital, an initiative launched in February designed to boost women-owned small businesses with mentors and access to capital. It’s named for the location of her first boutique.

Observer business reporter Celeste Smith covered the event for the paper and reported that Burch’s top tip for women is to have confidence.

“Look at negativity as noise, and really believe in your vision,” Burch said. “I think women often apologize too much. They need to start embracing ambition.”

The Self-Help Credit Union offers Elizabeth Street Capital loans across North Carolina and in the South Carolina counties of York, Chester and Lancaster. To find out more, email ElizabethStreetCapital@self-help.org, or call 919-956-4448.

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