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“Don’t rest on your laurels. The end result isn’t as important as the effort that goes into it. Jump all the way in. Don’t be afraid. And don’t worry so much.”

Fashion designer Kate Spade speaking to People Magazine in 2016. Spade (55) was found dead in her apartment of an apparent suicide on June 5, 2018.
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Kate Spade: Bio

  • Born in Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Started her brand “Kate Spade” in 1993 with her now-husband Andy Spade (brother to the actor, David Spade) – married 24 years.
  • 13-yr-old daughter Frances.
  • Once worked in a motorcycle bar in Arizona & as an accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine.
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“There were a lot of lean times — Mr. Spade cleaned out his 401K to buy fabric, and used money from his personal checking account to make payroll. During shipping season, the Spades stayed with friends because boxes of handbags were piled all over their bed.”

New York Times interview, 1999. The couple launched the brand with $35,000 & at the time of this interview the company was making millions.
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Kate Spade: Business

  • The Spades sold part of their company to Neiman Marcus in 1990s & the rest in 2006; They left their official roles in 2007 to spend time with Frances.
  • Coach bought the Kate Spade brand for $2.4B last year.
  • Spade launched accessory line Frances Valentine in 2016 & officially took the name “Kate Valentine Spade.”
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“I will say this was not unexpected by me. I’d flown out to Napa and NYC several times in the past 3-4 years to help her to get the treatment she needed (inpatient hospitalization). … She was a dear little person. So dear — so kind, so funny…I’m off to bed for a good cry.”

Reta Saffo, Kate Spade's older sister in an email to their hometown newspaper, The Kansas City Star. Saffo says her sister suffered from mental illness.
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The Kate Spade brand describes itself as "quick and curious and playful and strong" - Her sister says wanting to keep up the image of her brand kept Kate Spade from treatment. It's insight from a single source, but worth reading.

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Sources

  • ANDY SPADE (KATE SPADE’S HUSBAND) FIRST STATEMENT: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/06/style/andy-spade-statement.htmlKate was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was the kindest person I’ve ever known and my best friend for 35 years. My daughter and I are devastated by her loss, and can’t even begin to fathom life without her. We are deeply heartbroken and miss her already.

    Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives. We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. There was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn’t her. There were personal demons she was battling.For the past 10 months we had been living separately, but within a few blocks of each other. Bea was living with both of us and we saw each other or spoke every day. We ate many meals together as a family and continued to vacation together as a family. Our daughter was our priority. We were not legally separated, and never even discussed divorce. We were best friends trying to work through our problems in the best way we knew how. We were together for 35 years. We loved each other very much and simply needed a break.

    This is the truth. Anything else that is out there right now is false. She was actively seeking help for depression and anxiety over the last 5 years, seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety. There was no substance or alcohol abuse. There were no business problems. We loved creating our businesses together. We were co-parenting our beautiful daughter. I have yet to see any note left behind and am appalled that a private message to my daughter has been so heartlessly shared with the media.

    My main concern is Bea and protecting her privacy as she deals with the unimaginable grief of losing her mother. Kate loved Bea so very much.

  • Kate Spade suffered years of mental illness, sister says. Suicide ‘not unexpected’: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article212609069.html
  • Kate Spade, 55, Found Dead in N.Y.C. Apartment from Apparent Suicide: https://people.com/style/kate-spade-dead-suicide/
  • My ‘First Grown-up’ Handbag: Kate Spade Fans React: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/05/style/kate-spade-bags-death-reactions.html
  • PROFILE IN 1999 FROM NEW YORK TIMES: PUBLIC LIVES; A Cautious Rise to a Top Name in Fashion: https://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/12/nyregion/public-lives-a-cautious-rise-to-a-top-name-in-fashion.html
    ”I wanted a functional bag that was sophisticated and had some style,” she said.Using plain white drawing paper and Scotch tape, Ms. Spade made six prototypes. ”I neurosed over every single second of it,” she said. Then she called someone she knew at Women’s Wear Daily to get the name of a manufacturer, who promptly said no because she was a start-up. But he did give her the name of somebody in the East New York section of Brooklyn, who said yes.But what to call the company? Ms. Spade was still Ms. Brosnahan at the time, and somehow a ”Kate Brosnahan” bag didn’t work. She toyed with ”Olive” and ”Alex Noel” before giving in to Mr. Spade, who said she should use a name from each of the founders. Plus it sang. ”Andy kept saying the whole time, ‘Kate Spade, Kate Spade — listen to how it sounds,’ ” Ms. Spade said.