April 9, 2013
How This Self-Made Billionaire Chooses Partners

Fashion mogul Tory Burch is the second youngest self-made female billionaire in America. With no MBA and no formal education in fashion, Burch’s knack for “affordable” style led her to become one of the most powerful women in the world.

Naturally, others wanted a piece of the $2.5 billion pie. But Burch says hers is “a patient brand.” Too often, she sees entrepreneurs give way too much of their company away, and way too soon, she described in a CNN Fortune exclusive.

“Who do I partner with and how many investors do I want to bring into the company?” she remembers asking herself. “How much do I want to give away? . . . It’s something that I think needs to be really thought about, who you bring in . . . And really, it is about having a common vision about where you see the company going.”

Burch spent over a year deliberating which investors to bring into her company and getting to know her favorite candidates—a careful process possibly influenced by the all-too-personal experience of a company partnership gone awry. (Her ex-husband and co-founder turned fierce competitor last year.)

Burch’s strategy for avoiding such break-ups is to produce well thought-out growth through patience, long-term decision making and an eye for integrity.

“See how they treat people. One of the most important parts of our company is our culture. And that’s something we want to protect in an enormous way. We don’t want to bring someone in that, in any way, will change the culture that we’ve worked so hard to build.”