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NEW YORK — In a perfect world, every day would be Saturday.
This story first appeared in the October 23, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
That’s the concept behind a new global lifestyle brand called Kate Spade Saturday, which launches this spring. “It’s meant to capture the spirit of Saturday every day of the week,” said Craig Leavitt, chief executive officer of Kate Spade LLC, a division of Fifth & Pacific Inc.
The new multicategory brand will offer brightly colored apparel (dresses, jackets, denim, T-shirts, sweaters and swimwear) and accessories (handbags, small leather goods, jewelry, watches, footwear, eyewear and tech accessories), as well as beauty, tabletop and home decor items.
In the age of Instagram, it’s Instant Brand.
The collection will launch in the U.S. via a Web site only (saturday.com) and in Japan via e-commerce (Saturday.jp) and a flagship in Tokyo’s Omotesando neighborhood. Kate Spade Saturday will also enter the Brazilian market through e-commerce and São Paulo stores in early fall 2013.
Kate Spade Saturday is priced about 50 percent below Kate Spade New York. While both are colorful, bold and optimistic collections, Kate Spade Saturday is geared to a younger customer about 25 to 35 years old, while Kate Spade New York targets women 30 to 40 years old, and older.
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“This is not a diffusion line,” said Leavitt. Kate Spade Saturday won’t be sold in Kate Spade New York stores, nor department stores that carry the Kate Spade New York brand. “The entire brand is a vertical proposition,” said Leavitt, referring to the Web site and freestanding stores only. On the other hand, Kate Spade New York’s distribution is 55 percent direct and 45 percent wholesale.
The average price point for Kate Spade Saturday categories will be $90 for apparel; $55 for eyewear; $40 for fashion accessories; $130 for handbags; $25 for home; $30 for jewelry; $85 for shoes; $45 for small goods; $50 for swimwear; $30 for tech, and $50 for watches.
According to Kyle Andrew, senior vice president, brand director at Kate Spade Saturday, the handbags are designed to have a functional and utilitarian quality. A coated-canvas weekend bag with an abstract print, for example, has a zip-around compartment for shoes and dirty laundry; a half-circle bag has a shoulder strap that becomes a belt, and sturdy solid and printed tote bags feature oversize pockets to hold umbrellas or a bottle of wine. Andrew said the stores will also have a customization station, where customers can personalize their weekend bags, choosing the color, webbing and monogram. Shoes — which include high-heeled sandals, platform wedges, flat strappy sandals, flat slip-on sandals, flat skimmers and sneakers by PF Flyers — are designed to be casual, comfortable and easy to wear, said Andrew.
Saturday accessories range from brightly hued watches and multicolor bangles to rings, wristlets and key chains (with bottle openers attached). Home-decor items run the gamut from glassware and cheerful coffee mugs to playful tic-tac-toe sets, white stools (that can double as tables), brightly patterned pillows and playing cards. The clothing includes abstract printed dresses, brightly hued shorts and tops (some in acid yellow and hot pink), miniskirts, jackets, and floral and printed denim jeans.
Describing the Saturday concept, which was two years in the making, Leavitt said: “This is really global. I think this girl exists all over the world. There’s a lot more commonality [with these younger customers] because of social media and the way they interact with each other.” Leavitt declined to give a first year projection, but said he’s very optimistic.
For the second quarter ended June 30, Kate Spade saw operating profits of $2.1 million as sales grew 48.1 percent to $100.9 million. The brand is now almost as large as its corporate siblings, Lucky Brand and Juicy Couture. Its parent, Fifth & Pacific, will release third-quarter figures Thursday.
Earlier this year, Kate Spade exercised, on a conditional basis, an option to acquire its Japanese joint-venture partner, Sanei International. The deal has not closed yet. This was part of a robust international expansion, which included recent store openings in the U.K., Dubai and Kuwait, as well as further expansion in Brazil with additional openings in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
While Leavitt declined to divulge Saturday’s international expansion plan beyond Japan and Brazil, the company intends to emphasize community by maximizing social media. Product-focused editorial content will be integrated throughout the Web site, and customers’ tweets and images will appear online, contributing to the social experience. Kate Spade Saturday has collaborated with digital agency Huge Inc., based in Brooklyn, to produce the Web site. For its retail spaces, Kate Spade Saturday has worked with architects Work Architecture Co. to design a store that focuses on the social side of shopping, while creating a simple grab-and-go experience. IPads will be strategically placed in the shop, featuring marketing messages, blog content, campaign videos and user-generated images.
Kate Spade Saturday will be manufactured primarily in Asia. The company plans 12 product deliveries a year. Every Saturday it will refresh the messaging on the Web site and in store to highlight the newest product or stories. As a nod to the company’s American roots, flagships will have a café featuring rotating American food vendors. Sigmund’s Pretzels, a New York City pretzel shop, has agreed to partner with Kate Spade Saturday for the Tokyo flagship.