J. Christopher Burch

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J. Christopher Burch
Chris Burch photo.jpg
Born (1953-03-28) March 28, 1953 (age 61)
Residence New York City
Nationality United States
Alma mater Ithaca College
Known for entrepreneur and investor in the fashion industry
Net worth Steady US$ 1.0 billion (est.)
(March 2013)[1]
Religion Episcopalian
Spouse(s) Susan Cole
Tory Robinson
Children six
with Cole:
-Alexandra Burch
-Elizabeth Burch
-Louisa Burch
with Robinson
-Henry Burch
-Nicholas Burch
-Sawyer Burch
Parents John Walter Burch
Robin Sinkler

J. Christopher Burch (born March 28, 1953) is an entrepreneur active in the lifestyle brand and retail sectors.[2] He is the founder and CEO of Burch Creative Capital, a firm with offices in New York City and Shanghai that manages venture investments and brand development[3][4] and co-founder of Tory Burch LLC along with his ex-wife fashion designer Tory Burch.

Early life[edit]

Burch was raised in Wayne, Pennsylvania,[5] in a middle-class family.[6] His mother Robin Sinkler,[7] an Episcopalian,[8] was from a Philadelphia Main Line family and his father, John Walter Burch, a Roman Catholic,[7] was one of 10 kids born to a middle-class Baltimore family.[6] His father owned a distributor of mining equipment and supplies.[9]

Career[edit]

Christopher Burch was an entrepreneur and investor in the fashion industry and in real estate. He became a billionaire in 2012,[10] with Forbes Magazine's profile of him in its annual The World's Billionaires stating that the 2012 valuation of Burch's majority stake in C. Wonder pushed his net worth over the ten figure mark.[11] In addition to his personal investments, he was an investor with the Guggenheim Partners.[12]

Fashion industry[edit]

In 1976, while an undergraduate at Ithaca College, Burch and his brother Robert started Eagle's Eye apparel with a $2,000 investment. The two bought the sweaters for $10 each and then sold them for $15.[13][14] Burch noticed that the students around him were constantly wearing "preppy" sweaters, and decided to find a factory to produce a new brand so that he could sell them door-to-door on campus. His operation soon expanded to other campuses, where at first he sold them on his own, and later he hired employees nationally. Eventually, he sold them through retails stores.[15] The name of the company was an homage to their father, whose nickname was Eagle. Over the next decade, the company expanded to $140 million in sales[13] and a national distribution footprint, including more than 50 of its own retail stores. The company was partially sold to Swire Group, in 1989, and entirely, in 1998 in a deal that valued the brand at $60 million.[16]

In 2004, Burch helped his then wife of eight years to launch the Tory Burch fashion label, investing in the business.[12] He served as co-Chairman of the company.[17][18] He also owned 28.3%, selling half of it in December 2012,[19] as the company was estimated to be worth $3.5 billion.[20] He then established J. Christopher Capital LLC in 2008, which was later renamed Burch Creative Capital. The company was developed to incubate his new brands and to manage his investments.[12] In 2011, he invested in two new fashion companies, including C. Wonder, described as a "a colorful and preppy chain of boutiques with a flagship store in New York's SoHo". Burch stated that the company was inspired by the idea of "shopping for great value be[ing] a luxurious and fun experience".[12] In 2011, he also invested in the Monika Chiang fashion line.[21] In 2013 C. Wonder sold a ten percent stake in the company to Fidelity Investments for $35 million, valuing the company at $350 million.[22]

Real estate[edit]

In 2004, Burch partnered with architect Philippe Stark and hotelier Alan Faena to develop the Faena Hotel+Universe in Buenos Aires. The investment into the building, first built in 1902 as a grain storage facility, was in excess of $100 million.[23] In 2005, Burch purchased a luxury home in Southampton, New York for $14 million, and sold the home for $25 million four months later after renovating the property.[24] Burch then founded J.B. Christopher, a supplier of construction materials to real estate developers, in 2006.[25] In 2011, Burch and his partner Austin Hearst completed the development of a $19 million luxury home developments in Nantucket, Massachusetts.[26] In 2013, Burch purchased the Nihiwatu resort on the island of Sumba, a 27 villa estate resort near Bali.[27]

Other investments[edit]

In 1993, Burch was a producer for the feature-length romantic comedy film Watch It, directed by Tom Flynn, which received a favorable review from the New York Times.[28] Burch was then one of the earliest investors in the Internet IPO for Internet Capital Group, being connected to the company by a friend of his who helped managed the company.[12] Burch has made several investments in telecommunications, including Aliph[29] and Powermat.[15] He was also an investor in the bottled water company, Voss Water.[30] Burch is also an investor in the online office retailer Poppin.[10] In 2014 he invested in BaubleBar, leading an investment round of $10 million.[31] That year he also partnered with Ellen DeGeneres to launch her lifestyles collection E.D.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Burch has been married twice:

  • In 1982, he married Susan Cole in an Episcopalian ceremony.[9] They had three daughters: Alexandra "Pookie" (b. 1985), Elizabeth "Izzie" (b. 1986), and Louisa "Weezie"(b. 1989).[5][6]
  • In 1996, he married the fashion designer Tory Robinson[6][33][34] with whom he has three sons: twins Henry and Nicholas (b. 1997) and Sawyer (b. 2001).[5] They divorced in 2007.

Burch was on the board of the Rothman Institute Orthopedic Foundation.[35] He is a past president of The Pierre Hotel Co-op Board,[36] and a past board member of Guggenheim Partners, and The Continuum Group.[37] In 2013, Burch donated $1.3 million to his alma mater the Tilton School, and was on the school's Board of Trustees from 1982-1985.[38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Forbes: The World's Billionaires: Christopher Burch retrieved March 8, 2013
  2. ^ Luxury Daily: "Tory Burch cofounder: Tailoring in-store experience vital for brands" by Tricia Carr May 2, 2012
  3. ^ Young, Vicki M. (1 August 2013). "Burch Creative Capital's Coolcore Files Lawsuit". WWD. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Burch Creative Capital website
  5. ^ a b c Vanity Fair: "An Empire of Her Own" By Michael Shnayerson February 2007
  6. ^ a b c d Vanity Fair: "Tory Burch's Ex Factor" By Vanessa Grigoriadis December 2012
  7. ^ a b Philadelphia Inquirer: "John W. Burch, 82, veteran and athlete" By Gayle Ronan Sims October 03, 2007
  8. ^ Main Line Media News March 7, 2012
  9. ^ a b New York Times: "Susan Cole Is Married" August 29, 1982
  10. ^ a b Seth Lubove (February 15, 2013). "Chris Burch Becomes a Billionaire as Fashion Stock Surge". Bloomberg News. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Christopher Burch". 2013. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Richard Collings (June 15, 2012). "A Q&A with J. Christopher Burch: On startups and style". The Deal Magazine. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Ithaca College: "The School of Business Starts Business Idea Competition Entrepreneur and Ithaca alum Chris Burch '76 is giving students the opportunity to develop their own businesses" retrieved January 5, 2013
  14. ^ Jan Schaffer (July 24, 1983). "Forces behind Eagle's Eye". Boca Raton News. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Keith Albow (April 19, 2012). "Did ADD help Chris Burch in billion-dollar company success?". Fox News. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  16. ^ Josh Patner (October 3, 2004). "Don't Call Her Socialite". New York Times. 
  17. ^ "Burch gives up his chair". New York Post. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "As Chris Burch Seeks Tory Burch's Ouster at Her Own Brand, Diane von Furstenberg and Anna Wintour Condemn His "Nasty . . . Sabotaging" and Absenteeism". Vanity Fair. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  19. ^ Patricia Sellers (January 22, 2013). "Tory Burch talks about choosing great investors". CNN. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  20. ^ Ashley Lutz (January 9, 2013). "Tory Burch's Ex-Husband Disses Her Right After The End Of Their Bitter Lawsuit". Business Insider. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  21. ^ Melissa Magsaysay (September 25, 2011). "Monika Chiang, high and mighty". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  22. ^ Evan Clark (February 4, 2013). "Christopher Burch Sells C. Wonder Stake to Fidelity". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  23. ^ Adriana Schettini (December 5, 2004). "Alan Faena: el duque en sus dominios". La Nación. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  24. ^ Troy McMullen (October 14, 2005). "Real-estate briefs of the rich and famous". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  25. ^ Daria Meoli (October 2, 2012). "An Entrepreneurial Addiction: An Interview with Christopher Burch". NY Reporter. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  26. ^ "House of the Day: Nantucket Retreat". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Indonesian Resort Nihiwatu Announces New Ownership". Luxury Travel Advisor. March 20, 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2013. 
  28. ^ Vincent Canby (March 26, 1993). "Watch It (1993): Review/Film". New York Times. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  29. ^ Cotten Timberlake (February 10, 2010). "Tory Burch's Plan to Open 100 Stores Is No 'Vanity Project'". Bloomberg. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  30. ^ Galen Moore (January 28, 2011). "Chris Clarke leaving SapientNitro". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  31. ^ MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED (July 29, 2014). "BaubleBar, an Upstart Jewelry Seller, Raises $10 Million". New York Times. Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  32. ^ Emily Wick (July 8, 2014). "Ellen DeGeneres wants to furnish your living room with new lifestyle collection". Today Show. Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  33. ^ The Fortune Hunters: Dazzling Women and the Men They Married By Charlotte Hays p. 167
  34. ^ New York Times Dealbook: "In Unusual Move, Delaware Supreme Court Rebukes a Judge" By PETER LATTMAN November 9, 2012
  35. ^ "Christopher Burch is Designer Tory Burch's ex- Husband". ShowBiz Daily. November 7, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  36. ^ Alexei Barrionuevo (August 23, 2012). "The Most Pampering, the Highest Fees". New York Times. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Mr. J. Christopher Burch: Founder and Chief Executive Officer, J. Christopher Capital". Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  38. ^ Associated Press (April 10, 2013). "NH school alumnus gives $1.3M gift". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 10, 2013. 

External links[edit]