Inside Kate Spades Secret Sauce of Success


Deborah Lloyd, Chief Creative Officer of Kate Spade New York, joined Pavan Bahl, Marc Raco and Liz Bacelar on location at the Fashion, Culture and Design UNCONFERENCE in New York City.

Start With a Great Team

Deborah’s job in Kate Spade is to “touch” everything a customer sees and to tell compelling stories across all the channels and platforms.

Even before social media marketing hype had started, Kate Spade has already been publishing the brand’s visual stories in its “Behind the Curtain” section of the website, creating relatable content and generating customer’s engagement.

In Deborah’s words: the key to successful innovation is having a great team around you – who are not afraid to break the rules and think differently. Not having an industry expert on your team might give you a new, beneficial point on something. Then you’ll come up with something extraordinary.

Solve the Fashion Week Chaos

We know that traditional fashion brands like the current model. They want the desirability of next season’s items to stay. The whole industry is built around the traditional seasonal fashion calendar, so these large companies are most comfortable supporting this well-oiled approach to presenting and selling new collections. But Deborah Lloyd  argues that in our day things need to move much faster and believes that there are so many new ways to present products and content to the public.

Kate Spade has a two-tiered approach to the Fashion Week calendar: the brand still showcases main collections twice a year to press and industry influencers. But they are also producing 12 collections a year to first-and-foremost present them directly to their customers. The passionate brand followers deserve more points of connections and a more special approach from the brand they support – telling stories around new products, getting customers excited to make the next purchase with Kate Spade. The bottom line is: each brand has to look what works for them and what excites their community.

Encourage Diversity

This industry is so discriminating, generic and bland from the body shapes and ethnicity perspective. For Kate Spade – embracing diversity is very important, especially for its brand stories. The brand’s campaigns feature women of different ethnicities, bodies and ages, creating a true melting pot of women who can truly feel like a Kate Spade girl.

Embrace Collaborations

Kate Spade previously collaborated with brands like Keds, Beyond Yoga, Raleigh Denim, Disney, West Elm, Everpurse and Magnolia Bakery. Deborah Lloyd says that collaborations are about authenticity and the mutually beneficial combination of the best of both brands’ worlds. Brands need to speak to their clients globally in a universal language.

As with any other meetings of great minds, it may be hard to come up on something outstanding and satisfying for both parties – especially when strong brands usually have a very focused point of view. Nevertheless, the potential of a great success for both parties is is very high.

Leverage Technology to Drive Creativity

Deborah Lloyd found the biggest benefit in technology for herself thanks to the ability to research and to discover, find inspiration for collections, products and stories.

Customization is one of the most exciting new features coming up to the Kate Spade brand. It is about encouraging customers to be different, give them creative freedom to put their own Kate Spade-branded fashion item together.



Nataliya Makulova