Kate Spade, born Kate Brosnahan on December 24, 1962, became an unusual success in the designer handbag genre, a field normally accredited to the affluent. Following attending all girls St. Teresa’s high school, she attended Arizona State University, then in 1986 was employed at Mademoiselle Magazine’s accessory department. There she worked up to become the head of the department, and left there in 1991. She influenced women to trade their boring “little black bag” for a more stylish purse, and spent hours investigating fabrics, styles, and the cost of producing elegant purses.
She had met Andy Spade, brother of comedian David Spade, while in college, and they married in 1994. They had a daughter Frances in 1995. Kate became aware of a gap in the market of purses, and was influenced by her mother’s collection of decorative clutches. She spent her time sketching ideas for fashionable and colorful handbags. In 1993 she and her husband started the “Kate Spade Handbags” Company, and in 1996 opened their first store in New York City. In 1998 they expanded with stores in Boston, Connecticut, Long Island, Chicago and California. Soon there were boutiques all over the United States and one in Tokyo, Japan. In 1999 Neiman Marcus bought a large stake in the company, and in 2007 bought out the Spades for $124 million. Her chic handbags have been featured in her brother-in-law David Spade’s comedy Just Shoot Me, and she herself appeared in one of the early episodes.
Today Kate Spade’s name is also attached to wedding shoes, eyeware, china, pajamas, raincoats, organizers, bedroom and bath items, shoes, wallpaper, and other items. She has won numerous designer awards for her creations.
Her sensible designer handbags with their simple, modest design, however, continue to be highly desired by consumers. The collection includes hobo bags, totes, drawstring bags, nylon and leather bags, cross body bags, satchels, and others, all combining function with fashion. Are you one of the women who would just love to own a Kate Spade handbag?