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Designer Handbag History

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This Mother’s Day weekend, we will be hosting a giveaway called Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag. We will be giving away many exciting prizes, including designer handbags for your mom! These handbags will be provided by Kate Spade, Dooney & Bourke, and Kenneth Cole. Each of these companies has a unique story that propelled them into the successes they are today.

Kate Spade New York

Kate Brosnahan Spade, former accessories editor at the magazine Mademoiselle, dreamed of designing the perfect handbag, so she created her own company in 1993. She released six sleek and colorful designs that took the fashion industry by storm. Kate Spade New York opened its first shop in New York City in 1996 and continued to grow quickly. In 2007, Spade sold the company to Kate Spade & Company (formerly Liz Claiborne). After the transition, Kate Spade New York set out to expand the line to include clothing and jewelry collections. Bedding, legwear and fragrance followed shortly thereafter. Kate Spade New York now has over 140 stores in the United States and more than 175 international shops.

Dooney & Bourke

Source: dooneyandbourke

Dooney & Bourke was founded in 1975 by Peter Dooney and Frederic Bourke in Norwalk, Connecticut. Dooney’s creative mind, combined with Bourke’s business sense made them an unstoppable pair. Together, they created a company that celebrated America’s history in leather goods and their New England roots. Dooney & Bourke takes pride in the quality of their raw materials, the timelessness and durability of their designs, and the classic techniques of American leather craftsmen. There are over 150 Dooney & Bourke boutiques around the world, and they carry women’s and men’s bags, watches, scarves, jewelry, and more. Their original factory in Norwalk, CT is still operational today!

Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc.

Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. was founded as a shoe company in 1982. Kenneth Cole wanted to preview his debut creations at Market Week in New York. Lacking the money to rent out a room at the trade show, he borrowed a 40-foot trailer from a friend and contacted the mayor’s office to see if he could park it across the street from the show. Cole was told that it was illegal, unless the trailer was for a utility company servicing the streets or a production company shooting a film. As a solution, Cole changed the name of the company to Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc., acquired lights and cameras, hired a cameraman, and used models as “actors.” His permit was approved, and Kenneth Cole sold 40,000 pairs of shoes in 3 ½ days. The company keeps its name as a reminder of where it all started. Now, Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. is hugely successful and has broadened its product line to include apparel, handbags, and other accessories.

Visit us at the Main Stage on May 13 and 14 from noon to 6pm for your chance to win a handbag from one of these lovely companies or another exciting prize! To learn more, visit the Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag event page or visit the Player’s Club for more details.


Dooney & Bourke: About Us

Dooney & Bourke: Our Heritage

Fortune: How Kenneth Cole, the Man, Became Kenneth Cole, the Brand

Kenneth Cole: Our Story

Kate Spade: The Company

Kate Spade: Who We Are