The chain, a “revenge retail” project by Tory Burch’s ex-husband Christopher, is closing up to 20 of its 32 locations and transitioning into a wholesale brand, BuzzFeed News has learned.
C. Wonder / Via Facebook: CWonderStore
C. Wonder, the chain created by Tory Burch's ex-husband Christopher in 2011, has plans to shutter most of its stores and transition into a wholesale brand, BuzzFeed News has learned.
The retailer will close up to 20 of its 32 locations by Jan. 1, depending on how lease negotiations unfold, two people familiar with the matter told BuzzFeed News on the condition of anonymity. C. Wonder, which bears a close likeness to Tory Burch's luxury brand, though is less expensive, has trimmed its corporate staff to around 75 people from near 120 in the past year, one person estimated. At least three top executives have left since the end of September. Store leaders were warned about the impending closures about a month ago, two people said.
It's a dismal turn for a retail brand whose conception seemed to be as much about a man's ego as it was about building something new.
J. Christopher Burch, a venture capitalist, opened the first C. Wonder in 2011, drawing a flurry of press centered around how similar his brand looked to Tory Burch's label. (The couple divorced in 2006.) “It's unclear whether this is an amicable homage or a hostile takeover,” The New York Times observed at the time, adding: “The Burch marriage may have ended, but the former spouses share an aesthetic and apparent corporate strategy of selling emblems of the upper class to the masses.”
According to New York magazine, Tory Burch viewed C. Wonder's design and layout as “a deliberate attempt by her ex-husband to confuse the consumer into thinking the two brands are associated, à la Kate and Jack Spade.”
C. Wonder's founding was made extra intriguing by Chris Burch's seat on Tory Burch LLC's board at the time, and his investment in the company, which he cofounded with the designer while they were married. Chris Burch, for his part, has dismissed comparisons between the color-popping, high-end C. Wonder and Tory Burch, saying his aesthetic “has always been classic and preppy.” (Daniela Maron, a spokeswoman for C. Wonder, declined to comment for this story.)
Jemal Countess / WireImage,