I thought anything with “Kate Spade” attached to it turned to gold. But when I saw the news that Kate Spade Saturday was closing all of it’s brick and mortar stores, I realized I was wrong. And, I suspect, the executives at Kate Spade & Company were also tremendously confused at the fact that they too, were wrong.
…Anyways, this post wasn’t one I was planning on writing. However, tomorrow’s post is all about Kate Spade Saturday’s collaboration with New Balance, and I loved it so much that I didn’t want to scrap it altogether. But I also knew I couldn’t let it be published without any sort of precedent about what the brand is going through. And the more I read about the KS Saturday store closures, the more I realized I had a lot to say about it…
Let’s start with this: I think Kate Spade Saturday is fun and whimsical and conceptually, great. However, I think the price point scared people off. It was supposed to be a more down-to-earth brand (despite it’s far from down-to-earth look), something everyone could have access to. However, it evolved into being slightly more expensive than planned and slightly less preppy than perhaps ideal (thus scaring off the regular Kate Spade customers).
I could’ve told you months ago that there was trouble brewing with Kate Spade Saturday. I often spotted the brand in TJ Maxx and Marshalls – and at that, the products there were fairly recently rolled out items. Typically, it can be hard to track down recently released designer products at TJX but Kate Spade Saturday was almost always consistently there. Now – this is not a bad thing at all – I love getting a good deal, but it was perplexing to me that such a young company could be overproducing so much that it had so much surplus to sell to TJX. After the announcement was made that the stores were being shut down, I realized that perhaps all those times, Saturday produced what they thought was the right amount, only to realize that their audience was continually shrinking to the point where yes, it became surplus.
My friend tweeted me this article about the brand closing which I thought was extremely interesting. I agree with all of the points made – especially that it is really hard for absolutely any brand to start as a lifestyle brand. It’s a great reason that can account for the end of not only Kate Spade Saturday, but C. Wonder too.
I think brands need to be more cognizant of the fact that they have to earn a buyers trust before they can “butt” into all aspects of a person’s life. It’s like celebrity endorsements: people have to actually like the celebrity in order to want to buy what they are endorsing. So many brands think they can jump into the marketplace with no reputation and think that people will want to embody the life they are advertising through their products – it’s just not possible.
It’s why brands have to use bloggers these days to market their products – bloggers have audiences that trust them and want to buy into that particular lifestyle. Thus, if people read about a blogger carrying around a certain bag, or using a certain mug, they will buy it. The internet is so influential and it seems to be one of the only ways in modern day society to incentivize people to change their behavior.
Lifestyle is an extremely tricky category to break into and too many stores are trying (and subsequently failing) to do it in one go. What brands don’t realize – but should – is that if they try to create a niche for themselves in just one market – say shoes or handbags, they could eventually and with careful consideration transition into selling more lifestyle products. Hence why Tory Burch is laughing to herself as her ex’s store C. Wonder closes… she knows she has buyer trust securely in her hands, and that she could probably very successfully begin to launch more life-style oriented products.
Anyways, that’s my little business side of fashion rant for the day. Tomorrow’s post will be centered on the Kate Spade collaboration with New Balance, so look out for that!
*pictures are not mine*