You Know Kate Spade Handbags, but Who Owns the Company Today?
Who owns Kate Spade, the popular handbag and lifestyle brand? Here's a look at the company's history and how Dylan Mulvaney is representing the brand.
Kate Spade is a name that has become synonymous with fashionable and timeless handbags, but has also grown to include a wide array of clothing and accessories. Named for its founder, the company has had a new owner for over five years now. Who owns Kate Spade and where can you buy the luxury apparel and accessories?
When you want to know more about Kate Spade as a brand, you'll discover there are two main segments: Kate Spade New York and Kate Spade & Company.
Who was the founder of Kate Spade?
The Kate Spade brand is named for its founder, Katherine (Kate) Brosnahan Spade. She was a fashion designer and entrepreneur who co-founded and co-owned her handbag company, Kate Spade. In the 1980's, Spade worked at the magazine Mademoiselle as a senior fashion editor, and it was during this time that she had the inspiration to create her own handbag brand.
At the time of founding the company, she wasn't yet married to Andy Spade, but used the name anyway, since they were soon to be married and her maiden name of Brosnahan seemed too long for a fashion brand. Her eventual husband Andy withdrew funds from his 401(k) to finance the early days of the company.
Kate Spade and her husband founded the company in 1993. Her bags priced around $150–$450 apiece were a quick hit, especially in New York. They eventually branched out from handbags to apparel, jewelry, stationery, fragrances, and more. Spade sold 56 percent of the company to Neiman Marcus in 1999, then the remaining 44 percent by 2006. Neiman Marcus then sold it to Liz Claiborne.
Tragically, Kate Spade died by suicide in 2018. The flagship Kate Spade store in Manhattan posted tribute to her, saying "Kate Spade, the visionary founder of our brand, has passed." The brand released a line of designs called "Love, Katy" in her memory.
Is Kate Spade now owned by Coach?
The ownership of Kate Spade as a brand has changed over the years quite a bit. From 2006 until 2017, Liz Claiborne was the owner of Kate Spade. In 2017, it was bought by rival Coach in a $2.4 billion deal. However, Coach was also renamed to Tapestry, Inc. and changed its stock ticker symbol from COH to TPR.
Who is the CEO of Kate Spade today?
Since Kate Spade is now a subsidiary of Tapestry, Inc., the CEO of Tapestry is also the CEO of Kate Spade. Joanne Crevoiserat is the current head of Tapestry and its major brands, which include Coach New York, Kate Spade New York, and Stuart Weitzman. Wallmine estimates her net worth to be at least $15.9 million.
Crevoiserat was first a part of Tapestry in 2019, when she came aboard as its Chief Financial Officer. Prior to her work at Tapestry, she held several executive roles at Abercrombie & Fitch, most recently as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer from February 2017 to June 2019. She gained experience in the industry at companies like Walmart and Kohl's.
The new spokesperson for Kate Spade has sparked controversy.
Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender woman and activist who documented her transition process through a video series entitled "Days of Girlhood" on social media, is now the new face of Kate Spade New York. Mulvaney has promoted Kate Spade products since 2022 but the latest TikTok promo video has caught some unwanted attention.
Footwear News reported that "Right-wing conservatives are taking offense from the transgender influencer promoting traditionally feminine clothing, which they voiced on platforms including Twitter."