10 Lessons in Success We Learned From Kate Spade

In the early stages of her career, Kate Spade started off as an accessories editor for Mademoiselle and then later transitioned into the world of fashion design. Her lively and infectious spirit was displayed in her beautiful designs and rocked the fashion world. Spade's bags were essentially the It-bag of the nineties. Her spirit, vision, and designs are what made her a household name in the fashion industry. Kate Spade was a genuine and driven businesswoman who built her brand, Kate Spade New York, from the ground up and eventually became the household name we know today. 

Last week, the fashion world mourned the loss of fashion icon and businesswoman, Kate Spade. The lessons Kate Spade has imparted about fashion and life remains as we remember her and the imprint she left in the fashion world.

Be the best and honest version of yourself.

Kate Spade believed in the importance of embracing the best and most honest version of herself. It's an aspect of life she was a firm believer of and encouraged. Spade had told Glamour, "If you're as honest and fair as you can be, not only in business but in life, things will work out. I hope people will remember me not just as a good businesswoman but as a great friend - and a heck of a lot of fun."

It's important to achieve a work/life balance.

Achieving a balance in life is a lesson we are all either trying to learn or have learned. Kate Spade learned this lesson herself when she eventually sold her business to spend more time with family. Spending time with family was important to Kate Spade, as was building the eponymous brand, Kate Spade New York. However, when the decision came, she walked away from that world for a bit to achieve balance. She stressed the importance to her in achieving a work/life balance and made the decisions she had to in order to achieve balance.

Be persistent and don't let the fear of failing stop you.

In the process of investing in her business, the fear of failure always hung over Kate Spade. "I have no interest in losing money. We've already spent $4,000, and I said that's it from me, you know, I'm not a gambler." Through persistence, Kate Spade was able to build her brand from the ground up into the multi-million dollar business that it is today.

Give energy to your ideas.

Kate Spade was working as an accessories editor for Mademoiselle Magazine when she decided it wasn't what she wanted to continue doing. Later, it was her then-boyfriend, Andy Spade that had brought up the idea for Kate to start a handbag business. The brand, Kate Spade New York, is the eponymous brand we know because of the energy Kate had put into what once started off as an idea. This shows the importance of allowing yourself to recognize the potential for your ideas fully, and give it the energy it needs to grow out of being just an idea.

Live colorfully, Be unique.

Kate Spade always lived colorfully, which was an aspect of her personality that transcended into her daily life and business. It's important to embrace your truest self, be unique, and live outside the lines. 

 It's important we learn to love and empower ourselves first.

Kate Spade expressed the importance of self-love and how we, girls and women ought to be the ones to love and empower ourselves first. It's such an important and powerful message that Kate Spade has also conveyed through her brands' spirit.

 Surround yourself with the people and things you love the most.

There are many choices we make and things in life that are within our control. The ability to choose how we dedicate our time and the company we keep is such an important choice that affects our happiness and growth. Kate Spade is a firm believer in how you should "Surround yourself with the things you love. Discard the rest." Kate Spade has lived her life dedicating her time and energy towards her passions, brand, and family life. It's important we make those choices to surround ourselves with the people and things we love most because happiness follows and you continue growing into a better person because of it.

Find a gap in the market.

 In the early nineties when Kate Spade had started her company, she saw a gap in the market. There was a gap in the market when it came to handbags, which Kate Spade recognized and she filled that gap with her elegant and sensible designs. An important lesson to learn from this and many other industry insiders and entrepreneurs? Find a gap in the market and fill it, because it is one of the surest ways to ensure your business' success.

 Don't feel like you should be confined to doing just one thing.

 Sometimes people often get into the mindset that they should pick only one thing whether it's an editor OR CEO OR designer...the list goes on. However, you should never feel the need to limit what you could achieve. Kate Spade was literally all of those things and more...and she expanded her empire because of it!

 Try leaving a little sparkle wherever you go.

One of Kate Spade's notable philosophies was present in her spirit, "She leaves a little bit of sparkle wherever she goes." It's such a beautiful quote and one of my favorites that I attempt to live by. It's making simple gestures like complimenting someone because things like that can really improve someone's day. Things like volunteering for causes you feel passionate about or helping others. Even staying true to yourself and partaking in things you're passionate about will bring a positive energy, and that happiness will be infectious to those around you. All these things are just some of the ways you can go through life leaving a little sparkle (happiness) wherever you go.


Kate Spade was a genuine being with a keen business sense that left a lasting impression in the fashion industry we know today. She will surely be missed. If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

No comments