Kate Spade New York

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Kate Spade New York
ISIN US4858651098
Industry Fashion
Founded January 1993
Founder Kate Spade and Andy Spade
Headquarters New York, New York
Parent Kate Spade & Company
Website www.katespade.com

Kate Spade New York is an American fashion design house founded in January 1993 by Kate Spade and Andy Spade. Jack Spade is the brand's line for men. Kate Spade New York competes with Michael Kors.[1] The company was recently purchased by, and is now part of, Coach.[2]

Business history[edit]

Store on Madison Avenue
Temporary shop in New York

Prior to company creation[edit]

Katherine Noel Brosnahan (later known as Kate Spade) was born on December 4, 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri. She grew up in Kansas City and went to an all-girls Catholic high school. She moved to Arizona, where she attended Arizona State University and graduated in 1985.[3] It is there that she met her future husband, Andy Spade. Katherine majored in journalism, while Andy majored in architecture.

After they completed their education, the couple had moved to New York City by 1986.[4] It was in New York that Katherine worked as a style editor for Mademoiselle, but left in 1991 (with the title of senior editor/head of accessories) to start her own handbag line.[5] To get inspiration, Kate browsed local flea markets and secondhand stores. She also researched the styles, fabrics, and potential production costs of making her own handbags. The team slowly worked their way up the social ladder until they were able to create a company that would be noticed by the public.

Early stages[edit]

Kate Spade New York was founded in 1993 by Katherine Noel Brosnahan and her husband/business partner Andy Spade. Kate Spade New York started after a suggestion from Andy when Katherine wasn't sure about her next career move after logging six years at Mademoiselle.[6] Originally, the business started out with the Sam handbag and was only making colorful lively bags for consumers.[3] Eventually, Andy withdrew $35,000 from his 401K account to fund the production of Kate’s handbags. Her debut line infused classic shapes, colors and fabrics into a now iconic square bag with a little black label sewn to the outside of the bag that said “Kate Spade New York.” Their main target market at this time was the upper middle class. In 1996, Spade's company opened its first shop in New York City's SoHo. Kate Spade rose in eight months after a journalist at Cleveland Research Co. recommended buying the shares because of the brand’s growth potential.[7] Everywhere people went in New York from about 1997-2000, it would have been impossible to avoid seeing women carrying that simple nylon bag. The business was one of the first of its time to go digital, by using iPads, cell phones, and computers, as a part of the daily routine when working at one of its stores. The company started from nothing, and after 1998 it started to expand, with sales totally $27 million. By 2006, revenue was reportedly near $99 million.[8] In 1999, Neiman Marcus Group paid $34 million for 56% stake of the company.[9] And in 2006, Neiman Marcus Group acquired the remaining 44% stake in Kate Spade.[10]

Later stages[edit]

In 2004, Kate Spade operated only 13 stores in the United States, and did not ship out of the country (Cohen 198). The company initially sold handbags, but eventually extended to include stationery, personal organizers, address books, shoes, beauty products, perfume, raincoats, pajamas, and eyewear clothing. It now has a full women's clothing line. The business’ clothing and handbag lines are featured in retail stores all across America. Products are easily and continuously shipped around the world. Control operation was given to Liz Claiborne in 2007, however Andy Spade was initially in charge of the company’s operations. By 2004, Kate Spade & Co. was worth $2.5 billion, not including the complimentary company Jack Spade.[11] Kate Spade has over 180 stores around the world, and is sold in more than 400 stores worldwide (Cohen 198). Kate and Andy went from taking “the nothing black bag” to a creative personalized purse, now they create merchandise from the simple tote to home decor and bedding. In November 2006, apparel giant Liz Claiborne Inc. bought Kate Spade for about $124 million from Neiman Marcus Group.[12] Kate Spade expanded their retail stores to include Kate Spade New York Outlets. The brand has over 47 outlet locations across the United States (Outlet Sheet). [13] The outlets offer Kate Spade New York handbags, clothing, jewelry, and accessories at a discounted price. Kate Spade New York Products are also sold in major department stores including Nordstrom, Macy's, and Dillard's. Kate Spade New York handbags, clothing, jewelry, accessories, and home products can be found in these major department stores. Kate Spade Home products are also sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond. As of January 2017, Kate Spade New York also debuted an exclusive collection with Williams-Sonoma including dinnerware, glassware, and flatware. (Williams-Sonoma, INC). [14]


Kate Spade logo


Kate Spade’s first handbag was sold in January 1993.[3] Shortly after the initial products were released new collections came out containing glasses, jewelry, and other small accessories (winter 36). In 2007, "kate spade at home" was launched as a home collection brand. It features bedding, bath items, china, and various items for the home and wallpaper. In April 2013, Kate Spade New York launched a new fragrance called Live Colorfully. Previous perfumes of the house include Kate Spade from 2003 and Twirl from 2010. Live Colorfully is a fragrance made in-house that marks the 20th anniversary of the brand. Each of Spade’s products sold are packaged, and each one has a card that gives a description of Kate and Andy’s journey to the top. Every product purchased also has its own protective carrying/travelling case, no matter the item. Even large tote bags come with a case.[7]

Jack Spade[edit]

Jack Spade, a fictional name, is the men's complement to the Kate Spade brand. The style of Jack Spade reflects different aspects than the Kate Spade New York Company does, and not only because it is a male line. While Kate Spade is a clean cut line that represents a sleek, upper east side, preppy style, Jack Spade is more of a rugged style. The styles are completely different because they are based on what trends that specific gender is wearing in the upper east side. Jack Spade is composed more of darker colors rather than bright lively colors(Winters 36). Its founder and principal designer was Andy Spade. In recent years, Kate Spade has been featuring designs and special editions by guest designers and is no longer the sole artistic vision of the husband and wife team. All the Jack Spade stores were permanently closed in January 2015, but the brand continued to sell online and at Nordstrom.[15]


  1. ^ Sarah Halzack, Kate Spade has invaded your closet. Now it’s determined not to be a flash in the pan Washington Post May 7, 2015
  2. ^ Gensler, Lauren. "Coach Is Buying Kate Spade For $2.4 Billion". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-05-19. 
  3. ^ a b c "Who Is Kate Spade?" Ophthalmology Times Issue 29. (2004)
  4. ^ "CNN.com". www.cnn.com. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  5. ^ "Kate Spade". Biography.com. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  6. ^ "Kate & Andy Spade Kate Spade HOW WE BAGGED OUR CAREERS, PURSUED OUR PASSION FOR FASHION, AND TURNED A SIMPLE PURSE INTO A SYMBOL OF STYLE AND A BURGEONING EMPIRE. - September 1, 2003". money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  7. ^ a b Jacobs, Alexandra. "Having Fun Is Hard Work." The New York Times, 29 May 2013.
  8. ^ Lieber, Chavie (2016-03-02). "Kate Spade’s Shiny, Sparkly Success Story". Racked. Retrieved 2017-07-12. 
  9. ^ Palmeri, Christopher (1999-05-03). "Retailer's revenge". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-07-12. 
  10. ^ "PrivCo | The Neiman Marcus Group, Inc. acquires the remaining stake in Kate Spade LLC". www.privco.com. Retrieved 2017-07-12. 
  11. ^ Winters, Rebecca (2004-02-09). "Women in Fashion - TIME". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2017-07-12. 
  12. ^ VANESSA O'CONNELL and TERI AGINS, Neiman Marcus to Sell Kate Spade Wall Street Journal Nov. 8, 2006
  13. ^ "Kate Spade Outlet Near Me - Hours and Locations | Outlet Sheet". www.outletsheet.com. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  14. ^ "WILLIAMS SONOMA DEBUTS EXCLUSIVE TABLETOP COLLABORATION WITH KATE SPADE NEW YORK | Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Investor Relations". ir.williams-sonomainc.com. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  15. ^ Jack Spade on Oak Street is closing Crain's Chicago Business January 29, 2015

External links[edit]