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Chris Burch Reportedly Lost $70 Million on C. Wonder

More details on the failure of a preppy retailer.
Chris Burch. Photo: Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

Chris Burch. Photo: Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

After announcing that it was shutting down all of its stores in early January, C. Wonder waved the white flag of surrender late last week, filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it liquidates its remaining inventory. At this point, the preppy brand's founder, Chris Burch, is angling to buy the brand's name and intellectual property.

It's reasonable that he should try. According to a new report from the New York Times, Burch personally lost what is estimated to be at least $70 million in investment and loans as a result of his brainchild's failure. 

A big point of criticism when it comes to C. Wonder's ultimately fatal strategy is that it over-expanded too rapidly, with nearly 600 people on staff in the U.S. and Shanghai just two years after launch. According to sources for the Times, that weight was particularly problematic in Shanghai, where the operation was ultimately too large to support. As of February last year, the company was reportedly valued at $350 million. 

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But it seems that kind of drive is just how Burch plays it. As his former business parter and brother, Robert Burch, told the newspaper: "There are some people who go careening blindly forward... Chris is one of those.”