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What Was Fashion Designer Kate Spade’s Net Worth?

On June 5, 2018, Kate Spade was found dead at her NYC apartment.
UPDATED DEC 29, 2023
Designer Kate Spade at her office. David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images
Designer Kate Spade at her office. David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images
Name Kate Spade
Net Worth  $200 million
Gender Female
Date of Birth Dec 24, 1962  
Date of Death June 5, 2018
Age (at the time of death) 55 
Nationality  United States of America
Profession  Fashion designer

Kate Spade started the iconic Kate Spade New York brand in 1993 with her husband Andy Spade (actor David Spade's brother). They kicked things off with stylish handbags and soon had stores in fancy places like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's. Kate Spade made a mark globally with her chic accessories. Fast forward to today, and the brand offers a diverse range of products from eyewear to shoes to paper goods. By the time she passed away in 2018, Kate Spade had a whopping $200 million net worth, per Celebrity Net Worth.  

Image Source: Designer Kate Spade is photographed at her offices/ David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images
Kate Spade. David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images

How American Fashion Designer Kate Spade Built Her Business

Kate Spade spent five years at Mademoiselle magazine where she became a senior fashion editor and head of accessories. In 1991, she left the magazine and two years later, teamed up with her future husband, Andy Spade to launch Kate Spade New York. Initially indecisive, Kate Spade thought about calling the brand "Kate Brosnahan", but found it a bit long and weird. Andy Spade swooped in with the suggestion of "Kate Spade" since she would be taking his last name after their wedding. Using paper and Scotch tape, Kate Spade crafted six prototypes for her first line of handbags. With the help of a supportive East New York manufacturer, she brought her designs to life.

Andy Spade withdrew his 401(k) to fund the fashion start-up. The breakthrough came when Barneys, a department store chain ordered some of Kate Spade's bags at a Javits Center show. Priced between $150 and $450, Kate Spade's handbags gained popularity, leading to the opening of her first store in 1996 in New York City's SoHo neighborhood.

Company growth & profits 

Starting with handbags, Kate Spade New York expanded to clothing, shoes, jewelry, and more. Sales went from $100,000 in 1993 to $99 million in 2006. As of July 2023, Kate Spade had 205 directly operated locations throughout North America and 192 globally, per Statista. In 2004, Kate launched Kate Spade at home for bedding, decor, and more. Neiman Marcus bought the company in 2006, later selling it to Liz Claiborne for $124 million. In 2017, Coach acquired Kate Spade for $2.4 billion.

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Frances Valentine

Kate and Andy Spade launched their new company, Frances Valentine, introducing the spring 2016 collection of shoes and handbags. The collection featured various styles of shoes—espadrilles, sandals, and heels—along with bags made from metallic leather and canvas, priced between $225 and $725.

Kate Spade, along with her husband Andy and co-founders Elyce Arons and Paola Venturi, had stepped away from the fashion industry in July 2007. They reunited to create Frances Valentine after previously selling the Kate Spade brand in 2006.

In June 2019, Kate Spade's Park Avenue apartment, spanning 3,025 square feet hit the market for $6.35 million. Kate and Andy Spade had purchased the two-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home two decades earlier for $2.675 million.

Image Source: Designer Kate Spade attends AOL Build Series to discuss her latest project Frances Valentine at Build Studio/Andrew Toth/FilmMagic
Image Source: Designer Kate Spade attends AOL Build Series to discuss her latest project Frances Valentine at Build Studio/Andrew Toth/FilmMagic

Kate and Andy Spade met at work in 1983, married in 1994, and had a daughter in 2005. Kate guest-starred on David Spade's sitcom in 2002. After Kate's death, Andy clarified they lived separately for 10 months but stayed close for their daughter. They were best friends, never legally separated, and didn't discuss divorce.

Kate Spade's death

On June 5, 2018, Kate Spade was found dead at her NYC apartment. She had taken her own life. Her husband shared that Kate Spade had battled depression and anxiety for years and was actively seeking help. Her funeral on June 21, 2018, in Kansas City, happened just a day after her father's death. Two weeks after Kate Spade's passing, Kate Spade New York pledged $1 million to suicide prevention organizations and initiated a Mind, Body, Soul program for its global employees.

Following Kate Spade's passing, the Frances Valentine label, co-founded by Andy and Kate Spade and her best friend Elyce Arons launched the Love Katy collection in her memory. The company featured Kate Spade's niece, Rachel Brosnahan in their spring 2019 ad campaign.

Kate Spade's awards 

In 1996, Kate Spade was dubbed America's New Fashion Talent in Accessories by CFDA followed by Best Accessory Designer of the Year in 1998. In 2004, her home collection earned multiple awards and in 2017, she entered the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame and landed on Fast Company's list of Most Creative People in Business.


Who is the CEO of Kate Spade?

Liz Fraser is the current CEO and President at Kate Spade. 

How much is Kate Spade's company worth?

Tapestry, Inc. purchased Kate Spade & Company in July 2017 for $2.4 billion. 

Why is Kate Spade so famous?

Kate Spade became known for launching a successful line of handbags in the 1990s.

How did Kate Spade die?

Kate Spade was ruled as a "suicide" by hanging with a red scarf. 

Who is Kate Spade?

Katherine Spade was an American fashion designer, entrepreneur, and fashion icon. She was the co-founder and co-owner of the designer brand Kate Spade New York.

When did Kate Spade die?

On June 5, 2018, Kate Spade was found dead at her NYC apartment. 

Who owns the Kate Spade brand now?

Tapestry, Inc. purchased Kate Spade & Company in July 2017 for $2.4 billion.

Was Kate Spade still married when she died?

While not legally separated, Kate and Andy Spade, the couple had begun living apart a few months before her death. 

Are Kate Spade bags made in China?

Genuine Kate Spade bags have been produced in countries such as the USA, Italy, China, Taiwan, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Vietnam, Rwanda, and the Philippines.

Who owns Frances Valentine?

Elyce Arons  is the co-founder and CEO of Frances Valentine.

Who designs Kate Spade purses now?

Tom Mora and Jennifer Lyu are the current principal designers for the brand, according to a company press release. 

Why did Kate Spade sell Kate Spade?

Spade and her husband sold the Kate Spade brand so that Spade could devote more time to raising their child.