Brand of the Week- Kate Spade

What I used to think: Kate Spade is too preppy for me, it’s boring, and for older women.

What I think now: I want ALL of the Kate Spade everything.

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In 2011, Kate Spade re-branded and I think they did a fantastic job. I’m no expert in fashion or marketing, but what I do know is that they changed my perception of the brand in a way that left me impressed.

They decided to shift their target market from suburban moms to urban professionals. A very smart move.

From the beginning, suburban 40-somethings everywhere wanted a Kate Spade bag… it made them feel more polished and fashionable. A Kate Spade Bag meant you were doing well for yourself and you also had at least some sense of style. The bags were very well made and typically rather plain- an investment piece that could be worn everyday.

When they decided to re-brand and expand their consumer base, they had some tough decisions to make. The huge market that they had built up over time and gained the trust of was something they couldn’t risk losing.  Deciding to expand their market to “urban professionals” was the best move they could have ever chosen to make. Sales have doubled since the re-branding, and Kate Spade is now the best performer in the Liz Claiborne collection of brands.

“A brand once best known for minimalist, angular handbags coveted by 40-year-old suburban moms today has a hipper take aimed at urban professionals between the ages of 26 and 36.” – Bloomsburg Businessweek 

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The changed to the brand weren’t big enough to be unrecognizable- but significant enough to catch the consumer eye.

“They went with a physical spade now as a part of the logo, instead of just the Kate Spade name as their logotype. They also made a statement that they were going to add more color into their line and website, which was branching from their usual boring neutrals. Another really big part about their re-branding was that they redesigned and launched the website. Now, the website is much more user friendly and they added tons of social media sites, and ways to reach their company through social media. All in all they added color and technology, reaching a much larger audience then they were before.” (from here)

“Knowing who their customers were, the brand managers had to find a way to combine fashion with functionality, such as including cell phone pockets in their handbags. The information also prompted the creation of jewelry and broader apparel lines, to meet all the customer’s accessory needs. In a ramped up design process, Kate Spade’s “inspiration room” became a white cube with paper over the windows, so the focus is only on the fabric and the patterns.” (from here)

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The brand also has an extension coming out called Kate Spade Saturday– marketed at even younger woman, with a more affordable price tag. Love it!

Here are some of my FAVORITE Kate Spade pieces:

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