“Rules? No, no, no, no, anything but structure”

Kate who?

For those who have not yet embarked on this brilliant women’s legacy let me introduce you. Kate Spade was born December 24, 1962 in Kansas City. After graduating from Arizona State University in 1986, Kate Spade made her way to the big apple, also known as New York City. She steadily worked for Mademoiselle magazine for five years eventually becoming the senior fashion editor and head of accessories. Spade left in 1991 in order to put her knowledge and interest in accessories to the test. Subsequently, in 1993 she launched her own line of handbags that would soon give the fashion industry something to talk about.

Success without structure, is that even possible?  Well….numbers certainly do not lie! Kate Spade has built a $175 million business that has become a well-known global brand. Her shops can be found across the United States, Canada, and 19 other countries across the globe. Kate Spades line is not only carried by 600 other stores, but she also has a thriving partnership with Neiman Marcus and a e-commerce business. Kate Spade has expanded her business by including stationery, shoes, small leather goods, eye wear, home furnishings,  and a separate men’s line called Jack Spade.

Now lets get back on track! What has Kate Spade done in her marketing strategy that has made her the successful icon that she is today? Kate Spade and her husband were asked why they think they have reached a $175 million business, and she explained that they, “have built a $175 million business by knowing what they don’t want to be — too luxe, too hip, too retro, too fashionable, too fast.”  Wow that’s inspiring! It is important to not only understand what you do want, but also what you do not want.  I do believe that Kate Spades initial marketing strategy was recognizing what she did not want her brand to be regardless of what anyone said.  Spade felt the handbag industry was missing something and she was very right; it was missing her.  She felt the handbag world was too basic so she introduced idiosyncratic color and fabric that people typically are not used to seeing in handbags, such as white terry cloth, wool plaid, yellow linen or seersucker. Spade understood what she did not want and added what she knew the market was in need of. It is a challenging thought to not follow the steps of those that have already succeeded and create your own path on the basis of what you do not want. I found this inspiring and bold because of the simplicity of the idea.  Of course this is not the only advantage Kate Spade has over her competitors, as it takes many things to become what she has today. What else do you think Kate Spade considers to obtain and keep her vast target market? Send me your ideas and I will choose one for my next post.

Until next time!


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One thought on ““Rules? No, no, no, no, anything but structure”

  1. Felicia, I really like the direction this blog has headed. Visually, it’s very crisp and clean- the layout totally works. The only thing that needs work is the URL at the bottom; link it to part of your own writing and you’ll be all set. Nicely done!

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