An old bag manufacturer transformed into a vibrant fashion enterprise. Attracting many women’s eyes, these fashionable bags have successful development secrets. Coach’s changes give a large number of dying companies many worthwhile lessons. Studying about how Coach can succeed worldwide will help many struggling manufacturers become more active and go on the new developing road.
If you pay attention to women’s bags in big cities, you will find that more and more fashionable women own handbags with a unique “C” symbol. That is Coach! In fact, Coach’s development is very noticeable these years. But seven years ago, Coach was considered only a mother’s handbag. In the past, Coach’s thick leather bags were considered sturdy, conservative and boring, and customers became tired of these handbags. It’s due to the founder leather artisan Miles Cahn in 1941 in a SoHo loft in New York City (Boorsin 131). The family-run company grew slowly and designed all bags in classic styles, which made customers start to tire of these thick and conservative bags (Boorsin 131). While some strong brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Fendi, Chanel, were gaining popularity, the honor of Coach seemed to wane (Brady 78). However, it’s surprising that now Coach has risen to No. 12 on “Hot Growth list” in 2003 (Brady 78). Coach succeeded in transforming into a luxury brand in the modern world.
As an American luxury leather goods company, Coach has become the 25-35 years old customers’ choice. Coach first began as a family-owned business in Manhattan, New York in 1941 (“Coach Inc.” 1). While living in a Manhattan loft, six artisans began to collect leather goods by using their skills passed down from generation to generation (“Company Profile”). Now, how has it succeeded to become a modern luxury brand worldwide?
Its success can be attributed to Lew Frankfort, the 57-year-old chairman and CEO of Coach Inc. and Reed Krakoff, a 39-year-old president and executive creative director (Brady 78). They made Coach popular through innovation in design in a competing market.
First, they created a strong brand by image-building. In the 90s, the old design of Coach was falling behind brands with around individuality like Louis Vuitton and Prada. Lew Frankfort began to think of rescuing the waning brand. Before long, people had seen the “C” symbol appearing in just about anything in 1996. “C” had become the signature of Coach in leather (Brady 78). Since that time, Frankfort started labeling “C” on their products in the 90s. Coach seemed to become a famous brand and every customer realized it.
In addition, Frankfort and his team extended the brand into “luggage, briefcases, wallets, and other accessories (belts, shoes, silk scarves, umbrellas, sunglasses, key chains, etc.)” (“Coach Inc.” 1). Its customer’s range suddenly spread. The company’s products are not only famous for ladies’ handbags, but also for men’s apparel. “The broader we get, the less issue we have around having a lot of customers carrying Coach, because they are all carrying different Coach bags”, Reed Krakoff said (Fass 49). Lead by Coach’s executive creative director and sensible CEO, Coach’s items became popular with all ages of both women and men.
Third, Frankfort developed Krakoff’s new idea—“logic and magic”, which not only attracted young buyers, but also fastened Coach’s older consumers (Brand 78). The next level of
Coach began and it was considered “amazingly consistent, narrow, and deep” (Brand 78). There was now a new design, which became a new surprise for customers. As what Krakoff says, “we have to keep Coach a destination. We don’t want people to think they’ll know what they’ll see” (Critchell 3). Fashionable women jumped into Coach stores once they saw the new product. According to Boorstin, its great color and wonderful leather caused a lady…