I’m a big Kate Spade fan. I’ve never been one that has truly loved handbags. Yes, I went through a phase where I liked some knock off Louie Vuitton ones (thank you Jessica Simpson) but as far as really loving a handbag or paying more than $40 for one, not so much. However, Kate Spade is the one brand that I LOVE handbags from. I don’t just love the handbags though; I love the pens, cups, notecards- all of it. The branding is amazing. I love the colors. The small extra touches; whether it’s a bow or a cheeky saying hidden inside. The Kate Spade brand inspires women to be fun, silly and sophisticated all at the same time while it stays functional and affordable. I cannot say enough about how amazing the branding of Kate Spade is.
In 2002 she was named a Glamour Woman of the Year. In the article she said “If you’re as honest and fair as you can be, not only in business but in life, things will work out,I hope that people remember me not just as a good businesswoman but as a great friend—and a heck of a lot of fun.” Kate always had the best quotes. It is a testament to the brand that the quotes have carried on long after Kate herself stepped away.
I admire Kate Spade, as a mom who decided to step away from her namesake brand to raise her baby. That’s not an easy thing to do with a career of any type, but add into that it’s your namesake and wow. It’s something that I can completely understand doing, especially when you’ve dreamed of having this child. She seemed so happy and content. In 2016, her daughter was a little older and she was able to get back into the fashion industry (to which still took a second seat to her family) by introducing Frances Valentine. The Frances Valentine brand is different than Kate Spade New York, but similar in the functionality and side of fun. It would have seemed she had accomplished it all.
In June 2018, when Kate (who had not been part of the Kate Spade brand for over a decade) took her own life, it was not only saddening but completely confusing as well. This woman, who built this brand, who laid the foundations for everything this brand was- ended her own life. For us on the outside, who in fact didn’t know her on a personal level (even as much as we felt we did), it is difficult to process how someone who built such a solid brand could have felt the exact opposite. Maybe it’s in part due to the fact that I’ve studied marketing and branding and know the types of things that go into it and how hard you work to create your ‘personal brand’ that I’m stumped. The truth is, you never know someone’s road or what battle they are fighting. My heart breaks that her life ended in this way. For her, her family; including a little girl who I pray for often.
The death of Kate Spade is a reminder that even when you have money and success that doesn’t make you immune to anxiety and depression. It’s something I think we all need to remember. Sometimes we look and think someone has it all, but inside; we’re not so different. There’s an old Amy Grant song with the lyric “We are all the same it seems/ Behind the Eyes/ Broken promises and dreams/ in good disguise” that reminds me of that fact. People came from everywhere to talk about the inspiration that she had been on their life. Some that didn’t even realize she had stepped away from the Kate Spade New York brand (to which, again, is a testament to the branding). The people that knew her honestly only had good things to say about her. She was all the good that the Kate Spade brand was. I think her quote was still spot on and I’m sure that people will always remember her as honest and fun.
I choose to remember the happy part of Kate Spade. The encouraging, bright, cheerful part. There is now a sad part there as well, but if we use that to open conversations and help people when they are struggling so they know that they aren’t alone. Let them know it’s not just them and that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Hopefully, it can help save others and encourage people to get help.
Do you have a favorite Kate Spade Quote?