05/04/2012 03:50 EDT | Updated 07/04/2012 05:12 EDT

Tory Burch In Canada: Designer Brings Brand To First Canadian Boutique

Canadian Press
TORONTO, Canada` - American designer Tory Burch is bringing her penchant for prints and bold, rich hues north of the border with the opening of her first standalone shop in Canada.

The arrival of the luxury lifestyle brand within its own dedicated space follows a steady succession of U.S. and international companies who have recently established bricks-and-mortar locations in Canada.

The 232-square-metre boutique opened for business at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre on Friday.

The location will feature ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, eyewear, jewelry and small leather goods. The general price range for accessory items starts at $45 for an iPhone case, and in clothing, $100 for a Lidia Polo shirt. Shoes range from $60 to $360.

It's been less than a decade since the New York-based designer launched her lifestyles brand, which counts media maven Oprah Winfrey and Oscar winners Gwyneth Paltrow, Hilary Swank and Reese Witherspoon among its famous fans.

In philanthropic work fostered through her eponymous foundation, Burch seeks to offer support towards the economic empowerment of women and families, including grants and microfinancing for female entrepreneurs.

While there isn't a dedicated e-commerce site for Canada, the company will begin shipping north of the border from at the end of May.

In an email to The Canadian Press, Tory Burch discusses the brand, the decision to head north, and where she hopes to set up shop next in Canada.

For some Canadians, the new boutique may serve as an introduction to both you and your brand. How would you define what Tory Burch represents or the woman you're creating looks for?

From day one, we launched as a luxury lifestyle concept at a more accessible price point. Our esthetic is rooted in classic sportswear with an eclectic sensibility.

Why have you decided now was the time to open in Canada? Have the plans been in the pipeline for a long time? And what specifically is it about the Canadian market that appealed to you?

Our Yorkdale boutique has been in the works for a while, but we took our time finding the right space and were patient until it became available. We have always been drawn to Canada because of its incredible culture and people — the customer is savvy, stylish and loves fashion.

Are there plans for further expansion within Canada in the near future? If so, do you have specific sites in mind?

We hope to open boutiques in Calgary and Vancouver, but we are still working on the details.

Given the ups and downs in the economy in recent years, did you have any concerns about expansion at this particular point in time or that consumers may be scaling back on purchasing luxury goods?

We are always mindful of — and sensitive to — what's going on in local economies. You never know what will happen, but we feel we are well-positioned in Canada, as we strive to offer beautiful, well-made pieces that don't cost a fortune. We have already seen women embrace our collection through our partner Holt Renfrew, and we hope our brand presence will strengthen with new retail boutiques.

You're well-known for your philanthropic partnerships. Are there plans to do something similar with a Canadian organization now that you have a storefront here?

We are always interested in exploring partnerships with organizations whose vision is aligned with ours. We actually have partnered with FEED and Holt Renfrew on a tote that benefits the Tory Burch Foundation and FEED, and we hope to do more philanthropic collaborations in the future.