Kate Spade Through the Years

As the brand celebrates its 20th anniversary with an eye to the future, WWD takes a look at its past.

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1993: Kate Spade launches with a collection of nylon bags.

This story first appeared in the February 4, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

1995: Sales crack $1.5 million in annual sales.

1996: Kate Spade opens its first shop in New York’s SoHo, at 59 Thompson Street.

• Sales hit $6 million.

• Jack Spade launches.

• The company wins a victory against Gap’s Banana Republic unit, which agreed to stop selling copies of the designer’s bags, settling out of court.

1997: The company settles similar infringement cases against Kmart, Dayton/Hudson and mass-market manufacturer Accessory Network.

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1998: Kate Spade licenses Libretto LLC for stationery items.

• Donna Karan alum Stephen L. Ruzow joins the company as chief executive officer with a goal of making it a worldwide brand. He departs after three months.

• It opens its first store in Japan.

• Revenue is approximately $27 million.

1999: In February, Neiman Marcus pays $33.6 million to acquire a 56 percent interest in the company. Founding partners Kate and Andy Spade, Pamela Bell Simotas and Elyce Cox stay on to run the brand’s day-to-day operations.

• Jack Spade’s first store opens at 56 Greene Street in SoHo.

• The company teams with the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. to develop beauty and related products, which hit stores in 2002.

2000: Launch of footwear.

2001: Eyewear makes its debut.

2002: As it approaches its 10th anniversary, revenues are approximately $70 million.

• The company begins a major expansion in Asia.

• The first Kate Spade fragrance makes its debut.

2004: Kate Spade launches home; e-commerce is introduced, and a flagship opens in the Aoyama district of Tokyo.

2006: In November, the company is sold to Liz Claiborne Inc., now known as Fifth & Pacific Cos. Inc.

2007: Deborah Lloyd joins the company as creative director.

2008: Craig Leavitt joins as co-president, alongside Lloyd. He is named ceo in 2010.

2009: Kate Spade launches ready- to-wear, jewelry and legwear.

• Kate Spade Japan, a joint venture, begins operations.

2010: The company opens in the U.K.

• A fragrance deal is signed with Elizabeth Arden. The first scent under this pact, Twirl, hits stores in September.

2011: Bedding and bath products are introduced.

• Kate Spade opens in Brazil and the Middle East.

• Brad Goreski is hired as brand stylist.

2012: Watches are launched.

2013: The brand marks its 20th anniversary with the theme “The year of Things We Love.”

• Kate Spade Saturday launches.

• Live Colorfully, a fragrance developed in-house, is set to launch in April.

Sources: Kate Spade; WWD archives

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