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SmallBizDaily.com’s 21 Groundbreaking Women Entrepreneurs to Inspire You

3. Tory Burch, Tory Burch

After working in fashion marketing and PR for years, in 2004 Tory Burch launched her own clothing line via her boutique in New York City. Inventory nearly sold out the first day, and the line really took off after Oprah endorsed Burch in 2005. A year later, her Reva Ballet Flat (named for her mother, whose sense of style inspired her designs) became a sensation.

Today, the Tory Burch line, including shoes, handbags, accessories, watches, home d├ęcor, fragrance and beauty, is sold at 3,000+ retailers worldwide. In 2009, Burch launched the Tory Burch Foundation, which provides affordable loans and education to help women business owners take their companies to the next level.