A Conversation with Tory Burch at Waseda University

Lessons for Women’s Entrepreneurship

In the fashion industry, Tory Burch, C.E.O. and creative director of Tory Burch LLC, is one of the few beloved fashion designer at the top of the game.She has built an empire valued at $3.5 billion across more than 180 global stores since launching her brand in 2004. She has earned nods from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Fashion Group International. Forbes named her one of the most powerful women in the world. But few might realize that from the get-go, Tory also wanted to launch a foundation to empower women entrepreneurs and their families.

The special conversation, about women’s entrepreneurship with Tory Burch and Christel Takigawa, a Japanese television announcer, took a place on October 23, 2017 at Okuma Auditorium, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan as part of the “WASEDA-EDGE Human Resource Development Program” with the purpose of developing global entrepreneurs.

At the lecture, Tory started talking about the social significance of women’s entrepreneurship and her organization “Tory Birch Foundation” an organization focused on supporting the empowerment of women entrepreneurs in the United States.

In the questions and answers session, one woman in the audience asked whether a natural talent is necessary to become a fashion designer or launch an own brand. Tory answered to the question that she thinks the most important thing is to create your works by your own perspective with your unique idea. At the end, she concluded that “There is always something that you can learn at your job; therefore I want you to find something that you are really passionate about while you are working.”

Event Theme

WASEDA-EDGE program, which aims to develop global entrepreneurs, will provide a special lecture by Ms. Tory Burch, CEO and designer of American lifestyle brand “Tory Burch”. The conversation will cover a broad range of topics relating to Tory’s journey, from her college years and the brand’s launch in 2004 to expanding its business globally, its importance of the Japanese market, and the establishment of the Tory Burch Foundation, which empowers women entrepreneurs. She will also talk about Tory Sport, a new brand which will be introduced in Japan this Fall. The lecture will be moderated by Christel Takigawa, founder and chairman of Christel Vie Ensemble Foundation who works as an animal welfare activist.


Tory Burch

CEO/Designer, Tory Burch LLC

Tory Burch is an American lifestyle brand founded by its Chairman, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, Tory Burch. The collection includes ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, accessories, home and fragrance.

The company launched in 2004 with a small boutique on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan. The brand’s classic and bohemian aesthetic resonated from the beginning, and the company has grown into a global business with more than 200 boutiques across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. In addition, the brand is available at over 3,000 department and specialty stores worldwide.

Since its launch, Tory Burch has entered into new categories: with eyewear in partnership with Luxottica in 2009, fragrance with Estée Lauder in 2013, and timepieces with Fossil in 2014. In 2015, the company launched Tory Sport, a collection inspired by the grace and strength of athletes that balances high-tech functional fabrics with a classic/retro vibe. Categories include Running, Tennis, Studio, Golf, Swim, and Coming & Going.

Tory Burch has been recognized by the fashion industry with numerous awards, including the CFDA for Accessory Designer of the Year; Accessory Brand Launch of the Year from Accessories Council of Excellence; and Rising Star award from Fashion Group International.


Photo: Brigitte Lacombe, courtesy of Tory Burch

Christel Takigawa

Founder/Chairman of Christel Vie Ensemble Foundation

Born in France in 1977. After serving as anchorwoman for NEWS JAPAN broadcasted on Fuji Television from 2002 to 2009, she turned freelance. Awarded Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2013. Advisor of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Advisor of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Japan. Founder and chairman of Christel Vie Ensemble Foundation.

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