Kate Spade Study

9445 Words38 Pages
Rev. May 23, 2001

If I listened to all the seasoned opinions that I have heard over the years, we wouldn’t be where we are today. —Katy Brosnahan, founder of kate spade

It was March 1998, and Katy Brosnahan dashed into the meticulously arranged buyer’s showroom of her company’s recently renovated Manhattan headquarters. Despite running late for a meeting with her partners, Brosnahan walked across the shiny hardwood floors to rearrange a display shelf lined with the black nylon “vertical shopper” handbags that made up the core of the kate spade product line. The rest of the kate spade team, Brosnahan’s husband Andy Spade, and friends Elyce Cox and Pamela Bell, were already seated and had begun eating their traditional
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Brosnahan joined Mademoiselle magazine as an assistant to a senior fashion editor and eventually worked her way up to accessories editor. Spade returned to advertising; he became a writer and creative director at TBWA/Chiat Day. Cox joined Marithe & Francois Girbaud North America where she was involved in marketing and public relations as a communications director. After several years of working their ways up through their respective organizations, Brosnahan and Spade started tossing around ideas for a business. Brosnahan described how she and Spade came up with the idea for kate spade: Andy and I first considered starting an advertising agency or even a travel agency. The idea for handbags really came from Andy. He said, “You love accessories, why don’t we do that?” He was right; I had always enjoyed accessories since I was a child, and I had fine-tuned my eye for them while at Mademoiselle. Furthermore, having shopped the accessories market for several years, I knew there was something missing in the market for handbags. That “something” was fabric handbags—something functional, but also stylish, and at the right price. At the time, there was only a very serious bag, the working women bag with absolutely no style, or the outrageously expensive designer bag like Hermes or Gucci. I thought there must be something in between. In late 1992 Brosnahan quit her job, and she and Spade launched kate spade. Brosnahan and Spade were not yet

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