Tory Burch On Turning Failure Into Opportunity

And how her 'visual memory bank' is her secret life hack.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Tory Burch: Check on my boys to make sure they’re still in one piece.

TG: What gives you energy?
TB: Being around people who are open-minded and intellectually curious.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
TB: My camera. It’s my visual memory bank.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
TB: I couldn’t name just one—anything from One Hundred Years of Solitude to Wild Swans to Tender is the Night.

TG: How do you deal with email?
TB: It’s the bane of my existence. I try to get back to everyone but it takes forever.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
TB: Call my mother.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
TB: There have been so many failures but I always try to turn them into opportunities, learn for the future and move forward.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
TB: My favorite poem is Ithaka by C.P. Cavafy.

Tory Burch is the CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Tory Burch LLC, an American lifestyle brand. The collection includes ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, accessories, home and fragrance.

Tory launched the company in 2004 with a small boutique on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan as well as an ecommerce site. The brand’s classic and bohemian aesthetic resonated from the beginning, and has grown into a global business with more than 200 boutiques from New York to Paris and Shanghai, as well as websites in North America, Europe and Asia.

In 2015, she launched Tory Sport, a collection inspired by the grace and strength of athletes that balances high-tech functional fabrics with classic design and a retro vibe. Categories include Running, Tennis, Studio, Golf, Swim, and Coming & Going.

Social responsibility was part of the business plan and is an integral part of the company. In 2009, Tory launched the Tory Burch Foundation to empower women entrepreneurs by providing access to capital, education and digital resources, as well as a Fellowship program.

A dedicated philanthropist, she also serves on several boards including the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Barnes Foundation and the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. In addition, she is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Tory has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the CFDA for Accessory Designer of the Year, Forbes’s Most Powerful Women in the World and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s Sandra Taub Humanitarian Award. Her first book, Tory Burch In Color (Abrams, 2014), was a New York Times Best Seller.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in art history, Tory lives in New York City with her three sons.

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