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    Kate Spade: Kate & Andy Spade (2017)

    enJanuary 08, 2018

    About this Episode

    We're hard at work planning our next live show, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Kate Spade. A 1991 conversation at a Mexican restaurant led Kate & Andy Spade to ask, "What's missing in designer handbags?" Kate's answer was a simple modern-shaped handbag that launched the iconic fashion brand. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That", we check back with Dennis Darnell and his line of garbage can fly traps. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Making time for friends and enjoyable activities during work trips enhances travel experience. Useful tools and partners like Delta Sky Miles Platinum Business American Express Card and Amica can simplify travel and insurance aspects. Determination, resilience, and seizing opportunities can lead to business success like Kate Spade.
    • Starting from different places, both speakers faced challenges but didn't give up. They made decisions to move and take risks, leading to successful careers in advertising.
    • Kate Spade's resourcefulness and determination while working at Mademoiselle magazine laid the foundation for her success in starting her own handbag company, despite having no design background.
    • Starting with limited resources and experience, Kate Spade persisted and built a successful fashion brand through determination and perseverance.
    • Despite initial lack of sales and criticism, Kate Spade's determination and unique burlap bags led to recognition and growth. Atlassian's collaboration software helps teams accomplish tasks that would be difficult alone.
    • Entrepreneurs need dedication, hard work, and the right tools to grow their businesses, just like Kate and Andy Spade did.
    • Despite financial difficulties, founders focused on growing customer base, never took on debt, and eventually secured large orders from department stores, leading to success through perseverance
    • The sale to Neiman Marcus allowed Kate Spade to expand, secure resources, and grow into an iconic brand, but also brought challenges such as counterfeiting and loss of ownership.
    • Setting boundaries, finding balance, and maintaining individuality are crucial for both a successful business and a strong marriage. Separating professional and personal lives can help prevent constant interference and confusion.
    • Kate and Andy Spade built successful brands unknowingly, Cygnos helps diagnose prediabetes, and Grammarly ensures effective communication
    • Innovation can lead to significant sales growth and success in unconventional ways, like Dennis Darnell's garbage can fly trap or the rise of unique podcasts.

    đź“ť Podcast Summary

    Balancing work and leisure during business travel

    Having a balance between work and leisure can significantly improve the experience of business travel. This was exemplified by the speaker's personal experience of making time for friends and enjoyable activities during work trips. Another key takeaway is the importance of finding the right tools and partners for various aspects of life, such as the Delta Sky Miles Platinum Business American Express Card for travel and Amica for insurance. Lastly, the story of Kate Spade's journey from journalism to fashion shows that determination, resilience, and seizing opportunities can lead to building successful businesses and iconic brands.

    Determination and persistence lead to success

    Determination and persistence, even in the face of challenges, can lead to success. The speakers in this conversation, who started out in different places – one working at Conde Nast in New York and the other finishing college in Arizona – both faced obstacles but didn't give up. The New York resident started as an assistant and worked hard, while the other started an advertising agency in college and bartered for business. When the New York resident received a job offer, they both made the decision to move to New York and live together. The Arizona resident landed a job through a chance encounter at Grand Central Station, and both were able to build successful careers in advertising. Despite initial reservations from family members, they remained committed to their goals and found a way to make it work. Their stories illustrate the importance of staying focused on your dreams and being willing to take risks.

    Learning resourcefulness and determination from her career at Mademoiselle

    Resourcefulness and determination were key factors in Kate Spade's early career and eventual success in starting her own handbag company. Kate started her career at Mademoiselle magazine, working her way up from first assistant to senior fashion editor. During her time at Mademoiselle, she learned to be resourceful and figure out solutions to problems, skills that would prove invaluable when starting her own business. In the early 90s, Kate and her husband, Andy, decided to leave their jobs and start a handbag company due to a lack of simple, modern handbag options in the market. Kate had no background in design, but she used large sheets of paper to create and refine the shapes she wanted, and eventually found a pattern maker to bring her designs to life. Her determination to create clean, simple, and modern handbags, despite not having any prior design experience, led to the successful launch of Kate Spade New York.

    From sketching designs to building a successful brand

    Determination and perseverance can lead to success, even when starting from scratch with limited resources and experience. The speaker, Kate Spade, shared her journey of creating her eponymous brand, starting from sketching out designs in her apartment, to finding manufacturers, fabric suppliers, and eventually debuting her burlap bag collection at a trade show. Despite her lack of industry connections and initial embarrassment, she persisted and eventually secured orders from notable retailers like Barney's and Fred Siegel. The success didn't come easy, as she faced numerous challenges such as finding the right fabric in small quantities and securing a booth at the trade show. Through it all, she kept her plans a secret from her family, fearing failure and the potential embarrassment that might bring. The story serves as a reminder that with hard work and dedication, even the most unlikely of ventures can succeed.

    Persisting through challenges and taking a unique approach

    Persistence and doing something different can lead to success, even when faced with challenges and skepticism. In the case of Kate Spade's handbag company, they continued to produce unique burlap bags despite initial lack of sales and criticism from family. Their determination paid off when editors took notice of their different approach and featured them in magazines, leading to recognition and growth. The name Kate Spade, a combination of the founders' names, was a gamble that ultimately worked in their favor. Despite initial resistance, the founders' partnership and shared vision for their company kept them going, ultimately leading to a successful business. Atlassian, a software company, also emphasizes the importance of collaboration and taking risks to achieve the impossible. Their AI-powered software helps teams work together more effectively and efficiently, allowing them to accomplish tasks that would be difficult or impossible alone.

    Growing a business takes dedication and hard work

    Starting a business from scratch requires immense dedication, hard work, and perseverance. Kate Spade's founders, Kate and Andy, faced numerous challenges while growing their business out of their apartment. They continued to work full-time jobs while running their company and even shipped orders themselves. It took years before they saw significant success and were able to pay themselves a decent salary. Despite the struggles, they remained committed and eventually brought on partners to help expand the business. American Express' business gold card can provide valuable support for businesses with flexible spending capacity and annual statement credits on eligible purchases. Just like Kate and Andy, entrepreneurs need the right tools and backing to help them grow their businesses.

    Perseverance and snowball effect revived a struggling fashion business

    Perseverance and a snowball effect were the keys to turning around a struggling fashion business in the late 90s. The founders, despite facing financial difficulties and the risk of collapse, continued to push through and focus on growing their customer base. They never took on debt and instead reinvested their resources back into the business. A turning point came when larger department stores began to take notice and place significant orders, which quadrupled their business. However, this also meant upfront costs for production, requiring them to find a way to finance these larger orders. Ultimately, they never gave up and their determination paid off with the business's eventual success.

    Kate Spade's sale to Neiman Marcus in the late 1990s

    The sale of Kate Spade New York to Neiman Marcus in the late 1990s was a pivotal moment for the brand. The founders, Kate Brosnahan Spade and Andy Spade, saw it as an opportunity to scale up the business and secure a safety net for themselves. The sale gave Kate Spade the resources to expand into new categories and grow quickly, leading to the brand's widespread popularity. However, with this growth came challenges, including counterfeiting and the eventual sale of the rest of the founders' shares in 2007. Overall, the sale to Neiman Marcus was a turning point that allowed Kate Spade to become the iconic brand it is today.

    Balancing Business and Marriage

    Building a successful business and maintaining a strong marriage can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Kate Spade, co-founder of the iconic Kate Spade New York brand, shared her story of leaving her company on good terms and starting a new one, Francis Valentine, with her husband Andy. She emphasized the importance of setting boundaries and finding a balance between work and personal life. Kate and Andy had to learn to separate their professional and personal lives to avoid constant interference and maintain their individuality. They also had to distinguish their new company from their previous one to avoid confusion and ensure success. Despite the challenges, they remained committed to each other and their business, and their strong marriage helped them navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. Kate still feels an emotional attachment to her old brand but is focused on the future with Francis Valentine.

    Unintentionally contributing to business success and personal health improvement

    Sometimes we unknowingly contribute to the success of businesses, only to be asked if we're part of their mailing list later. This was the case with Kate and Andy Spade, who created popular brands like Kate Spade and Jack Spade without even realizing it. Meanwhile, in a different context, many Americans, including the speaker herself, are unaware that they have prediabetes. Cygnos, a health technology company, aims to change that by providing real-time glucose insights, helping individuals make informed decisions about their diet and exercise. The speaker personally benefited from Cygnos, losing 10 pounds and improving her glucose levels. Lastly, effective communication is essential for teams, and Grammarly, an AI writing partner, can help ensure clarity, conciseness, and on-brand messaging, saving time and resources.

    Innovative solutions to common problems

    Innovation often comes from addressing common problems in unconventional ways. Dennis Darnell, the inventor of the garbage can fly trap, exemplifies this mindset. By creating a trap that lures flies into a disposable cartridge, he found a solution to the issue of dealing with fly infestations in a hygienic and convenient manner. This idea led to significant sales growth for his business, even expanding beyond fly traps to pet waste bins. Meanwhile, the early 2000s saw a surge in reality competition shows, many of which were met with critical and public disdain. Shows like Kid Nation and The Swan, which isolated and transformed participants, proved to be viewing nightmares rather than opportunities. In the world of podcasts, there's always room for new content. If you're looking for a podcast that delves into the intriguing stories behind pop culture fails, check out The Big Flop. And if you're interested in exploring the thoughts and experiences of various personalities, give Life is Short with Justin Long a listen. These examples demonstrate the power of innovation and the importance of exploring new ideas, even in seemingly saturated markets.

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