Coach

The original American house of leather since 1941

Summary

What began as a workshop with six artisans and their goal to design handcrafted, beautiful, functional products in modern shapes, from the finest leather, transformed into luxury brand Coach.

History

The origin of Coach lies in a Manhattan loft in 1941 where six artisans designed handcrafted, beautiful, functional products in modern shapes from the finest leather. Five years later, Miles and Lillian Cahn, owners of a leather handbag production firm, joined the company. Cahn noted that leather gloves became softer and supple with use and began imitating the production process. Since the leather absorbed dye well, the process created a richer, deeper colour. Soon after, his wife wanted to add women’s leather handbags to the men’s accessories business. It was an immediate hit.

In 1961 Miles and Lillian Cahn bought the company and hired sportswear designer Bonnie Cashin as Creative Director. She transformed the handbags with side pockets, coin purse and brighter colours and also designed coordinated shoes, pens and eyewear, and added a silver toggle, explaining she got a Eureka moment from a memory of fastening the roof on her convertible sports car!

In 1965, Coach hired Richard Rose. He placed the products in department stores worldwide. Three years later, Lewis Frankfort was hired as vice-president of business development. In 1981, the company opened its first directly operated retail location on Madison Avenue, New York. In 1985, the Cahns sold Coach Leatherware to Sara Lee Corporation for a reported $30 million after figuring that they wanted to spend more time on their goat farm and cheese production business. Frankfort became President and then Chairman and CEO. In 1986, the company was operating twelve independent stores and fifty boutiques within department stores. The following year, Reed Krakoff was hired to make the products practical, light and stylish. His designs transformed Coach from a small firm to a luxury brand. The company changed its name to Coach, Inc on June 1, 2000.

In 2013, Coach named Victor Luis President and announced that he would become CEO the following year, with Frankfort continuing as executive chairman. In 2013, Coach reportedly generated $5 billion and operated a thousand stores worldwide. In 2014, Stuart Vevers became executive creative director, replacing Krakoff. In 2015, Coach acquired luxury shoe retailer Stuart Weitzman for $574 million and bought Kate Spade, legendary for its kitschy handbags, for $2.4 billion. In an effort to attract younger consumers Coach signed Selena Gomez as face of the brand for $10 million, New York Post reported. The following year, Coach 1941, an expensive line of ready-to-wear., was launched In 2017, Victor Luis announced Coach Inc would be renamed Tapestry Inc and named Jide J. Zeitlin, Chairman and CEO. In 2019, Jennifer Lopez was signed global ambassador to represent the luxury brand across all campaigns for leather goods, ready-to-wear and footwear.

Vision

To make handcrafted, beautiful, functional products in modern shapes, from the finest leather.

Mission

Coach is a design house of modern luxury accessories and lifestyle collections, with a solid reputation built on craftsmanship. Defined by an American aesthetic, the mission is to approach design with a contemporary lens, authenticity and innovation.