Tory Burch founded her much-loved eponymous brand in 2004 and in a very short span of time, has gone on to establish one of the most recognized and sought-after fashion brands the world has ever seen. Burch’s journey from a public relations and marketing executive to the dynamic CEO and philanthropist she is today wouldn’t have been possible without the invaluable leadership advice she received from her mentors.
The lessons she learned while launching Tory Burch inspired her to create a foundation dedicated towards empowering women entrepreneurs who struggle not only with raising funds but securing sound business advice.
Recognizing the critical need for a mentorship program for young women in India, Moxie Media recently launched Moxie Mentorship, the country’s first and only mentorship program for women, which connects some of the country’s brightest young entrepreneurs with female business influencers and industry leaders for one-on-one mentorships.
In an interview with Forbes, Burch speaks with Rahim Kanini about her vision for the Tory Burch Foundation, challenges that today’s female entrepreneurs grapple with and advancing the mentorship movement in America.
Launching a foundation to support the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs was a natural fit. We had learned so much about our experiences starting a business and wanted to share that knowledge with other women. We also knew that by investing in women entrepreneurs we would be helping them to support their families.
Three of the greatest challenges women entrepreneurs face are getting access to capital, mentoring and training. When we needed to raise capital to get our company off the ground, I approached family and friends—and not everyone said “yes”; with the funds we raised and a personal investment, we were able to get started, we were fortunate. I was also fortunate to have a network of mentors and colleagues from the fashion industry who were generous with their time and advice. Their guidance was invaluable to me so I know first-hand that good mentors can be game-changing. Finally, learning how to run a business was a challenge. Though I had worked in the fashion industry for many years, I wasn’t trained as a designer and I’d never been a CEO. I had to learn on the job.
I’ve learned so much and am still learning every day. I always tell women who are thinking about starting a business that you have to have a unique idea that meets a need. You also have to be able to communicate that idea clearly. You may have the greatest idea in the world but you need other people to understand its potential and join you in bringing the concept to fruition.