It’s been a tough couple of months for Tory Burch. Her personal life has become so intertwined with her business due to her ex-husband’s lawsuit against her and her resulting countersuit, that it would be difficult to draw a line between the two. Because it is her ex-husband suing her business though, her personal life, which she has made a point to keep private, has been very exposed. But Tory, ever the professional, will keep her head up and focus on her priorities. She told CNN:
“At the end of the day, my priority is with my business and my children. I have six children with Chris that he and I care about and that’s what I think about. But also [there is] my team that I look at and I think this is extraordinary what we have built together. My focus is finding a solution and hopefully we will get there and then we will be better for it at the end.”
WWD reports that Chris Burch, her ex, has filed a six-count lawsuit against his ex-wife and former business partner as well as the boardmembers of Tory Burch LLC and Isla Capital, a subsidiary of a private equity firm with a stake in the company. According to NYMag, Chris is accusing Tory of tortious interference, a legal term for intentionally sabotaging his contractual or other business relationships.
Chris is accusing the defendants of interfering with his business, C.Wonder, and hurting his attempts to sell his shares in Tory Burch. He as well as Tory each own a 28.3% stake of Tory Burch LLC. But the other problem is that C.Wonder designs remind us of someone else’s. What do the designs remind us of? TORY BURCH. C. Wonder, was accused of trade dress infringement or usurpation of corporate opportunity, technically from his ex-wife’s brand, by Tory. Both companies sell preppy, colorful attire and promote a certain type of lifestyle. If he sells his stake then he can try to compete more with Tory Burch LLC but if he owns stake in the company, it will make it harder for him to compete. This is why Tory is motivated to keep Chris on as a shareholder. “I don’t see any correlation,” he says to Vanity Fair. “I have said in various other comments that the interiors and products are quite different.” He adds, “C. Wonder is an experience . . . Tory Burch is an upscale women’s-wear destination.”
The battle has gotten even nastier with Chris saying he basically is responsible for her success. Tory then went on to call C. Wonder “a knockoff brand selling lower-quality products at lower prices . . . And he was doing so . . . as an insider who had been given some of the most competitively sensitive information the company possessed.”
But they do have six children together and it looks like Tory, at least, is putting them first as well as expanding her business. She is continuing to grow her $2 billion company. Its first store in Dubai will open in the very near future. But being a mother and businesswoman has always been Tory’s motto. Months ago she said in an interview.
“My biggest challenge every day is to be a great mother and a great businesswoman. I’ve learned time management, organization and I have priorities. I take them to school in the morning, and I leave the office at 6:30.” She also makes a point at dinner with her three sons not to talk about her work but to ask them about their various activities and upcoming family trips. ”I think you can have it all,” she says. “You just have to know it’s going to work.”
Photo: Andres Otero/WENN