As a brand that prides itself in offering some of the most stylish and boldest designs of bags and several other accessories, Kate Spade is one of the bigger fashion brands that is not just enviable but also considered a good trendy brand if you are into designer brands or fashion.
But is Kate Spade considered a luxury brand? And what exactly do you need to know about Kate Spade and the brand’s operations?
Kate Spade Brand
Established in 1993, Kate Spade is one of the newer fashion brands that boasts a great variety of fashion items, including handbags and other accessories. This brand is known primarily for its six essential handbags, all of which stand out well because of the feel of optimistic femininity that the brand is known for. And today, Kate Spade is the global style house and global life which is known for a good range of handbags, as well as clothes, home décor, jewelry, shoes, and even tech accessories, among other items.
Kate Spade also prides itself on offering highly detailed items made with a nicely polished layer that gives off a nice chic look and feel. If you are looking for the best of modern and highly sophisticated colors and designs that match your personal style, then Kate Spade is the ideal brand for you. The brand is also known for its founding principles that are defined by unique styles, joy, and the best designs with excellent stitching and overall sturdiness.
But Kate Spade didn’t turn into a huge success overnight. Kate Spade, previously Katherine Noel Brosnahan, started out as an accessories editor working for the renowned Mademoiselle brand. However, by 1991, she was frustrated and left the company because she was unable to create or find the perfect fashionable yet utilitarian handbag that she had been craving for years. So, she set out to create the perfect handbag from her apartments, and the result was the perfect collection of stylish handbags. Her first sample designs were made from construction paper, with inspired designs from the local flea markets and even secondhand stores. She also researched widely on not just designs and styles but also fabrics and production costs and processes needed for her designs.
From the basics designs, Kate Spade combined sleek handbag shapes with the most colorful palettes in a new and fashionable way, leading to 6 versions of Kate Spade bags that she’d debuted her brand with. She made her way up the social ladder with a lot of help from her husband, Andy, who helped her launch what turned into a leading American luxury fashion house by January 1993. The bags were instant hits, and because they were all loved by fashion editors and all women who saw the bags, the Kate Spade brand’s road to success was born. Notably, the bag design sparked a huge revolution in the world of accessories. The brand’s main target was the upper-middle class.
Today, Kate Spade remains a brand of thoughtfully integrated designs that are a signature mark of design that makes the brand highly desirable and in demand to date. They also formed Jack Spade, which is the male’s fashion line. Given the success of the brand, Kate Spade is one of the biggest competitors to Michael Kors.
Kate Spade had its first shop in SoHo, New York City, and by 1996 the company had grown tremendously, especially after buying shares for the company. Between 1997 and 2000, Kate Spade was a household name, and it was almost impossible not to spot women carrying their bags. In 1999, even as the company expanded and its revenue had surpassed the $100 million mark, the Neiman Marcus Group purchased a 56% stake of the company for $34 million, and in 2006, the group purchased the rest of the company’s shares.
By 2007, Kate Spade’s handbags and accessories were sold in most of the big department stores across NYC, including Macy’s, Nordstrom, as well as Dillard’s. And in addition to handbags, they also had a variety of clothing options, jewelry, accessories, and home décor items. The Kate Spade, home décor products are often sold at Bed, Bath & Beyond. In 2017, the brand’s expansion saw their debut of the exclusive collection of flatware, glassware, and dinnerware, with Williams Sonoma. And in July 2017, Tapestry Inc. purchased the Kate Spade & Company brand for a whopping $2.4bilIion.
Unfortunately, Kate Spade died by suicide in June 2018 in her Manhattan apartment. To pay their respects, the Kate Spade Company made an announcement in which they pledged to donate $1 million towards mental health awareness.
Is Kate Spade considered a luxury or expensive brand?
To determine if Kate Spade is regarded as a luxury brand or not, we first need to take note of the fact that luxury is not all about the cost of the item (well, it could be for some), but what’s considered a luxury item is essentially that thing that you don’t really need to survive or live, but owning it brings a smile to your face and makes your life feel much better and easier so that you can survive the mundane.
In this regard, a brand like Kate Spade is more an American designer brand, and though the brand could be known for the high pricing of their products, the products by the brand are not as rare as the products that are offered by the premium brands like Chanel or Louis Vuitton.
Essentially, Kate Spade markets to everyone, which means that it is not exactly a luxury brand. Kate Spade can be considered an Expensive American designer brand or a mid-range brand, but not exactly a luxury fashion brand.
Besides the high price, rarity, or exclusivity of the items offered by a premium brand is that determines if the brand in question is a luxury brand or not. Kate Spade is pretty much accessible to everyone, and the feeling of belonging to an exclusive club when wearing or carrying a Kate Spade accessory is not really there, not in the same way as one feels in LV, Chanel, or Dior.
Why Are Kate Spade Bags So Expensive?
As mentioned above, Kate Spade is an expensive designer brand. But it’s also quite accessible, which begs the question, why are the Kate Spade bags so expensive?
- Marketing strategy
At the end of the day, products that are priced higher than average have a feeling of exclusivity attached to them, and this is exactly what Kate Spade has employed to maintain relevance and also to sell their products at a high price that makes them come off as an exclusive brand.
This is the strategy that is employed by all the other accessible and mid-range brands like Coach and Michael Kors, and Kate Spade understands that this is what they need to tap into to increase their level of profitability.
Although the bags and other accessories or clothing are not as limited in numbers as is the case with other brands like Louis Vuitton, the marketing strategy that the guys at Kate Spade employ tend to target a specific or exclusive class – the middle-upper class, who wish to come off as influential or wealthy.
- Top-quality bags
The other reason for the success of the Kate Spade brand and the high pricing for their bags is the fact their bags are good quality pieces that are worth your money.
They are made of high-quality leather, all boasting exquisite craftsmanship, and elegant stitching.
This means that although you will pay a good chunk of money for a Kate Spade bag, the bags are that good and worth the tag.
This is also the reason why the individuals who buy Kate Spade, for example, at Walmart, are individuals who can actually afford the bags or they have been saving up for the bags. High-quality products often drive up prices.
- Brand’s positioning in the market
The other reason for the high price tags seen in Kate Spade bags has to do with the unique way that the brand has positioned itself.
Specifically, this brand is rather exclusive, which means that not many can afford it, and though there are claims that the bags are made in China, the prices are always high, which makes the brand generally affordable, and also quite desirable.
So, in a way, Kate Spade is a Status Symbol. Kate Spade also prides itself in great quality products, which are higher priced automatically, but also available in lower volumes.
Why is Kate Spade jewelry so expensive?
The top reasons why Kate Spade Jewelry options tend to be expensive are as follows:
- Marketing Strategy– A brand known for the spade logo, Kate Spade is considered a top-tier brand for jewelry and other accessories. Their jewelry is made of good quality materials, and because the brand is marketed as an exclusive brand, their prices are higher than most other brands whose jewelry options maybe like what is sold by Kate Spade.
- Good quality jewelry. This, along with the high price tags of their jewelry and the brand positioning, leaves you with expensive jewelry.
- Brand positioning. When buying from a brand like Kate Spade, you are essentially buying the brand, and this translates to the high price tag.
Is Kate Spade Better Than Coach?
Kate Spade is well-known for the more classic designs for their bags and accessories, but Coach is a better brand than Kate Spade, thanks to the fact that the quality of bags by Coach exceeds what you get from Kate Spade.
Why is Kate Spade so cheap now?
Kate Spade seems to be dishing out lower quality products, and they are not offering the great quality products that they boasted previously.
And although the lockdown is deemed to be one of the possible reasons for the lower prices, there seems to be more to the brand products’ drop in quality.
This has led to the younger generation calling for accountability from the brand; below are some of the reasons for the drop in the prices of products by Kate Spade.
- High-stress levels among the target market because of COVID-19 pandemic
- Financial challenges in the workplace and overall in life
- Increased competition
- Large scale production in China has led to a drop in prices
Pros and cons of Kate Spade
- Good quality bags are available
- Great options available in terms of styles, designs, and colors
- Kate Spade also offers an impressive range of jewelry and clothing collections
- Well-made bags
- Classic bag designs
- The quality of the bags doesn’t match up with what is offered by other brands like Coach.
- The bags are not the trendiest
- The bags are expensive
Kate Spade is more of an expensive designer brand rather than an all-out luxury brand like Louis Vuitton. It is also regarded as a mid-range brand, which means that it is a great option for you to choose from if you are thinking of getting a relatively affordable product from a luxury brand, especially if you like bold colors and styles.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.