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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.
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