Monday, October 4, 2010

A History of Coach

Coach, Inc. as most of you know already is an American-based leather goods company most known for their spectacular handbags for both females and males alike. As their handbags are the most well-known pick for a company like Coach, their expansions into the watch and footwear regions of apparel are considerably less known to the brands audience. Coach has also expanded into other accessories such as keychains, belts, scarves, umbrella's, sunglasses in addition to their vast selection in luggage, briefcases and wallets.
Founded in 1941 within the four walls of a Manhattan loft, Coach started out as a small leatherwork business under the name of 'Gail Manufacturing Company' - a family based business complete with 6 leatherworkers producing leather goods on a smaller scale such as wallets and handbags. After Michael Cahn took over the small business, he introduced the Coach brand of wallets to the company alongside his wife Lillian Cahn. In 1961 the company changed it's name to 'Gail Leather Products, Inc.' proving the company to be more and more successful along the way with ideas of affordable handbags from Lillian, the company kept growing. Gail Leather Products, Inc also produced brands such as Red Lion and Westminster and created the complex formula Coach stands by today for their durable, high quality leather goods. The use of cowhide launched Coach to one of the top spots in the fashion industry for go-to leather handbags, belts, wallets etc.
In the early 1960's Coach hired a well known fashion designer of the time - Bonnie Cashin. With her fresh outlook on fashion and her fresh ideas, Bonnie single handedly brought to Coach what we experience today - endless class and innovatlble style. Working for the company from 1962-1974, Cashin introduced the use of side pockets, coin purses and bright colours to Coach's collections, alongside the creation of now signature attribute - a silver toggle, allowing Coach's first advertisement in the New Yorker - directly due to the inevitable work of Cashin.
With a change in location for Coach and there leatherwork, the company officially changed their name to 'Coach Products, Inc.' In the mid 1970's.
Business began to pick up throughout the next years, creating Coach's mail - order business, specialty stores as well as the beginning of sales outside of Department Stores. As sales increased overwhelmingly, Coach decided to limit their sales to vendors only, but had an addition to the company - now CEO Lew Frankfort in 1979. As the eighties rolled around, Coach decided to change the company brand to 'Coach Leatherware Company, Inc.', in addition to the purchase of the Cahn's 300 acre dairy farm in upstate New York - allowing a vacation spot away from the New York City office for Coach and created a 2 hr daily commute for themselves.
The decision for the sale of the company was expected from the Cahn's, settling on the amount of 30 million dollars to Sara Lee Corporation in 1983. Keeping the name - 'Coach Leatherware Company, Inc.', the Cahn's decided to renaim there beloved company 'The Coach Farm Corporation' and continued to produce goat cheese at their farm, yet kept the office in New York for distribution purposes.
Sara Lee kept all boutiques, factories and the main store in New York, and continued the growth of the company over the years and achieved the world wide status the fashion industry has granted the designer brand of Coach. Known to be one of the more affordable designer brands, Coach customers have much to thank Lew Frankfort for as this main man is the one bridging the gap of affordable, upscale brands and impeccable style.

So us Victorian's can begin the excitement for the opening of our very own Coach store - November at Mayfair Mall. See you there!

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