How to Run the World, According to Tory Burch and Saweetie
SAWEETIE: Well, Tory, it’s been about three years since I sang, “Ten white toes in my Tory flip-flops.”
TORY BURCH: I can’t believe it.
SAWEETIE: Let me hop into the first question. I know you’re an Icy Girl, so how do you let loose?
BURCH: It would have to be tequila, and you know how much I love music. A good friend of mine is Mad Marj—she’s a DJ and she plays your music all the time.
SAWEETIE: Shout out to Mad Marj. Who is the ultimate Tory girl?
BURCH: You, and I mean that very sincerely.
SAWEETIE: Oh! Thank you!
BURCH: I love women who are themselves, and who stand for things, and who are changing the world. That’s where I see you fitting in.
SAWEETIE: You’re definitely the ultimate Tory girl and I come after that. Where do you come up with your best ideas?
BURCH: I never sleep, which is not a good thing. There’s an app called LiveAuctioneers. I’m not sure if you know about it, but it’s very dangerous.
SAWEETIE: I don’t.
BURCH: It’s literally my relaxation at 2 a.m. It’s a compilation of all the auctions from around the world.
SAWEETIE: Let me write that down because that sounds exciting.
BURCH: You can search for faux tortoise buttons, or ice buckets, and anything you look for, the app will tell you when they’re going to be for sale at these little auctions around the world. It’s pretty addictive.
SAWEETIE: You’re going to get me in trouble because I love spending my money. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
BURCH: Both. How about you?
SAWEETIE: I used to be a night owl, but I went to Paris about a month ago and it gave me crazy jet lag. Now I go to sleep early and wake up early. I’m loving this new routine. I try to wake up around 5 or 6 a.m. every day.
BURCH: I love waking up that early. It’s like your own time.
SAWEETIE: Exactly. What’s the hot bag right now?
BURCH: We have a bag I love named for a late friend of mine, Lee Radziwill, called the Lee Double Bag. It’s designed after the folds of a trench coat and it doesn’t look that big, but it holds a lot.
SAWEETIE: I call those my magic purses because when I start pouring stuff out, people are like, “How do you fit everything in there?”
BURCH: I’m amazed by what I collect over time.
SAWEETIE: This is a vague question, but what’s your type?
BURCH: That’s easy. Tall, dark and French.
SAWEETIE: Oh, I like that! I went to Paris and I was like, I wouldn’t mind if my husband was Parisian.
BURCH: My husband is, and I highly recommend it.
SAWEETIE: Oh girl, I will gladly accept your recommendation. Pray for me.
BURCH: I’m going to pray and I’m going to ask my husband if he knows of anyone.
SAWEETIE: Perfect. Who’s your best friend?
BURCH: My mother. She’s just the most optimistic person I’ve ever met. She’s always told me that no matter how tough life gets, tomorrow is a whole new day, and that negativity is noise.
SAWEETIE: Optimistic people are important, especially in our professions, because our art is our feelings, so when people criticize our art, it may not sit well. How do you handle the haters?
BURCH: I tune them out or kill them with kindness. How do you deal with them?
SAWEETIE: It’s crazy how much we’re on the same page right now. I’ve been taking things a lot less personally lately, and I kill people with kindness, too, especially when they come at me with awkward interview questions. I always look at the brighter side and it spooks them.
BURCH: Always take the high road. It’s the better way.
SAWEETIE: Exactly. When you receive hate and then give it off, you’re reciprocating that energy, which means you’re allowing negative energy to enter your space. Killing them with kindness is a deflector.
BURCH: And sometimes people are pretty shocked by that.
SAWEETIE: It gets them every time. What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
BURCH: I’m a risk taker, there’s no question, but I would describe this more as a leap of faith. My husband and I had never worked together or lived together. We got married, I gave over the CEO title to him, and he moved from Paris to New York. It’s been the most amazing decision, but it was not a given, let’s put it that way.
SAWEETIE: What’s your sign and what’s his sign?
BURCH: He is a Scorpio and I’m a Gemini.
SAWEETIE: Oh girl, too feisty!
BURCH: Does that work?
SAWEETIE: I don’t know. I’m in L.A. and whenever good or interesting things happen, people are always asking about signs, so I think that it’s the L.A. girl in me that wanted to ask that. How do you handle drama?
BURCH: I can’t bear it. Drama should be left to actors on the screen.
SAWEETIE: We have to leave the drama to fashion. All my drama is in my makeup and my style.
BURCH: I love that.
SAWEETIE: When did you realize Instagram was going to drastically change the fashion business?
BURCH: I was an early adopter. When it first started, a friend of mine told me I needed to get on it. And I realized how important it was to be authentic. What are your thoughts on that?
SAWEETIE: As it pertains to my industry, instead of rappers having to stand on the corner handing out mixtapes, all we have to do is go viral. That was very beneficial for me because I couldn’t afford studio time. Instagram is how I got discovered.
BURCH: I do something like that. I’ll engage the people that follow me and ask them questions about product or creativity and they love to weigh in. It really sways a lot of the ways I go on certain products.
SAWEETIE: What do you listen to while you’re working?
BURCH: I have a very diverse playlist. It’s everything from Gregorian chants to Tupac. What’s your soundtrack?
SAWEETIE: It really depends on my mood. I have bad anxiety sometimes and what really soothes my mood is bossa nova music and Afrobeats.
BURCH: I love bossa nova.
SAWEETIE: It’s so soothing and it makes me feel like I’m somewhere exotic, getting business done. How do you keep the brand relevant?
BURCH: I’m obsessed with evolution and innovation and always have been. I’m always open to looking at things differently, and I surround myself with people of all ages and from different places around the world.
SAWEETIE: Right. With my new album, I realized it takes a village to make something great. I’m going to incorporate a lot of help from people in different industries to give me their insights, instead of me trying what people might like.
BURCH: When you bring people along, there’s nothing better.
SAWEETIE: Absolutely. Take us through the average day in Tory Burch world.
BURCH: The only thing I can say is that there’s no one day that’s ever the same. Giving up the operating of the business was the best decision I’ve ever made. People ask me if it was hard to give up the CEO title and the answer is no, because my husband is an expert at everything I struggle with.
SAWEETIE: That’s exactly what I told my team. If I don’t have rehearsals or I’m not filming a video, I want every day to be different. So if we have meetings, I try to go to different restaurants that I haven’t tried. I try to be in a different place every day. It makes everything so exciting. Are you a text or an email girl?
BURCH: Text. My emails? Forget it.
SAWEETIE: Me too. With email, I have so much stuff from business to spam from online shopping. I haven’t come up with a successful way to be organized.
BURCH: I’m with you on that.
SAWEETIE: Let’s get into some more personal things. What makes you emotional and what pisses you off?
BURCH: My family makes me emotional. As long as my kids are okay, I’m great. What pisses me off is injustice, especially when it affects women and girls. The other thing is arrogance. I can’t stand it.
SAWEETIE: I’m getting to know you more, and I wish I knew more about you earlier.
BURCH: I want to hear about your foundation, because I started my company to start a foundation, so I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do.
SAWEETIE: It started with me donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to nonprofits and not knowing if they’re really giving the money to the greater good. My grandmother is my best friend. I’ve been hanging out with her since I was a kid, and she’s always been an advocate for giving back to the less fortunate. I expressed my concerns with donating, and she was like, “Let’s just start a nonprofit.” She’s been doing this since I was a baby, so she helped me. I always tell people the fame and money is cool, but when you can inspire and make a difference in someone’s life, that’s what makes me feel good.
BURCH: That’s amazing. Does your grandmother live in L.A.?
SAWEETIE: She’s from the Midwest, moved to the Bay area, started a huge family there, and then now she has relocated to Vegas. You would love her. She’s 70 going on 21.
BURCH: I want to meet her one day.
SAWEETIE: We have to set up a tea time. All the girls.
BURCH: That would be so fun!
SAWEETIE: Let’s get into some boss talk. When I’m looking at this, I want to scream, but I won’t because I don’t want to hurt your ears. Your brand is reported to be worth more than $1 billion. What’s it like being a woman at the helm of such a major empire?
BURCH: When you have a company that has a certain amount of success, you have the ability to create change. I don’t take anything for granted and I know absolutely nothing is a given. Every day I wake up and I’m beyond awed at what we’ve built, but also what we can have an impact on. I’d love to ask you the same question.
SAWEETIE: I’m just getting the hang of it. One thing I’ve learned, especially as a woman, is people try to make decisions on our behalf. I don’t know why. I don’t think they would do that to a man. I try to make sure that I’m incorporated in everything. If I’m being candid, it’s stressful right now, but the people I’ve been bringing on my team have been helping me organize my business.
BURCH: I love helping women in business, so you can always give me a call.
SAWEETIE: I will definitely call you. It’s a headache, but I’ve learned that you can’t brush it off because then conversations and deals evolve and if I’m not in on it, problems will go on behind the scenes. Do you see yourself as a New York designer?
BURCH: One-hundred percent, and I became one even more so when COVID happened. What I saw was heartbreaking. I saw a city that has given me and so many people so much, and it was falling apart. I love New York. There’s no other place in the world. Where do you love to be?
SAWEETIE: I’ve been contemplating moving to New York or Paris next year. As a musician, I constantly need inspiration, and I think I’ve done L.A. New York and Paris are my two favorite cities, so I definitely will be relocating to either one next year, after my lease is up.
BURCH: That’s a great call. I live between New York and Paris, and it’s amazing. I want to ask you a few questions. How did your collaboration with McDonald’s come about?
SAWEETIE: That’s one of the first deals I’ve ever loved. It came about from me eating so many McDonald’s meals on my Instagram Live.
BURCH: That’s so funny. Do you prefer being blonde or brunette?
SAWEETIE: If blonde would go with everything, I’d say blonde. But as someone who loves classical things, brunette is better for my outfits.
BURCH: What’s on your rider?
SAWEETIE: Everything from ginger shots to orange juice to beef jerky to Hot Cheetos to pizza.
BURCH: I’m embarrassed to say that I’m a fellow beef jerky lover.
SAWEETIE: I discovered the best beef jerky in America. I literally eat it every day now. I hope it’s not bad for me.
BURCH: It’s high sodium, for sure. People ask me this and it’s a hard question, but how do you see your life and career unfolding over the next five years?
SAWEETIE: A dream would be to establish myself as an actress. I would love for my nonprofit to be global and to have a foundation with a great board, because I know that’s vital. I’d like to be an established artist with a consistent pattern of number-one singles and albums, because that’s what really gets you respect. And hopefully I’m influencing and inspiring girls and boys worldwide.
BURCH: You’re well on your way.
SAWEETIE: Thank you. And I’d like to have a wealth team. Making money is important, but so is preserving it.
BURCH: I hope you’ll be in New York in March because we have a summit for our foundation and you would be a wonderful person to participate.
SAWEETIE: If I don’t have any shows I’d love to come out.
BURCH: I would be so honored to have you. And you will learn so much. We talk about tough issues, around women, unconscious bias, and race. We have the most extraordinary lineup and we do it every two years.
SAWEETIE: I love learning from other women. Count me in.
BURCH: I love talking to you, listening to your music, and watching your extraordinary journey, because that’s what it is.
SAWEETIE: You were one of the first big designers to invite me to your show and I appreciate your acknowledgment of me as an early artist.
BURCH: I hope to see you very soon in New York and Paris. And tell your grandmother I look forward to meeting her as well.
SAWEETIE: Absolutely. I’ll text her right now.