TODAY | October 18, 2012
>>> back now at 8:13. tory burch has built her company from the ground up, and it all started just eight years ago in her apartment. nbc's harry smith caught up with her for tonight's "rock center."
>> good morning, savannah. she's an international fashion mogul, savvy businesswoman, and mom. and i got to spend some time with her to see how this modern woman manages her world.
>> reporter: we started following tory burch last february.
>> reporter: here at new york's lincoln center , the eyes of the fashion world scrutinize every detail of her fall collection. a season's worth of sales are at stake. burch and her team have been planning this for nearly a year and then it happens.
>> 9 1/2 minutes.
>> 9 1/2 minutes?
>> yeah, exactly.
>> 9 1/2 minutes to december play her we display her wears, and convince women to purchase. that's not been much of a problem for tory burch who in just eight years has built a company worth $2 billion. she creates in the hearts of women cry out, i want, i want.
>> do you know what women want?
>> that's such a hard question. i know what i want. i think some of the things i want translate to what women want. i would say i've learned what women want along the way.
>> the business started on a kitchen table?
>> yes, for two years i worked out of my apartment.
>> out of your apartment.
>> until i had about 16 employees.
>> that's only eight years ago.
>> how many employees do you have now?
>> so we have about 2,000. it's crazy.
>> reporter: she is a kind of ideal modern woman, beautiful, but nice, rich, but also generous, powerful, yet approachable.
>> you have become the face of the company. when you started all of this, were you prepared for that part?
>> when i launched the company, i was very nervous about using my own name. i didn't want to say tory burch , and i'm a very private person. i'm okay with being the face of our brand. it's taken me a while to be okay with it. but i'm also not okay with my life being public property .
>> and we'll talk about that in a moment. it's not an overnight success, but eight years for a huge company like this.
>> she is involved in every single aspect of what she does. the design, the stores, what everything looks like. and we spent a lot of time with her. and the thing i came away most impressed by was the fact that you never once saw a crack in the facade. she was calm, she was generous, she was open, and through every minute that we were with her, she stayed exactly the same. and what you see right there is very much what you get.
>> because now her personal life and her public life are merging --
>> in the headlines.
>> yes, because there's a lawsuit between her ex-husband --
>> who helped raise the money to start the company and is still a major stockholder. he started his own company called sea wonder, and they look very much like tory's stores. so there's a very public battle going on right now. and he's suing her for a bunch of money.
>> they're also raising kids and trying to do so jointly.
>> all at the same time, and at the end of the day she says, it's her family that matters to her most. so this is excruciating.
>> hearryharry, thank you so much. and if you want to see more of harry's conversation with tory burch tonight it's on "rock center" on nbc.