5 Lessons In Success We Learned From Kate Spade

Yesterday evening we were shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Kate Valentine Spade. A genuine career girl, she went from fashion editor to a household name and built her brand from the ground up.

Over the years, she has never held back in her quest to live her truest life; she benefited from the success of the brand she started and set to carve a path for herself with a new one, never settling for second best. Never stopping, despite how hard building a business can be. We pay tribute to her life by sharing five valuable lessons in success we can learn.

1. Give energy to your ideas

Kate had the idea to go it alone while working as an Accessories Editor for Mademoiselle magazine. She saw the natural progression of the role and realized she wasn’t interested in becoming a Features Editor of any kind. It was when her then-boyfriend Andy Spade mentioned the idea of starting a handbag business that a light went on.

She gave energy to her idea if she hadn’t Kate Spade wouldn’t be the brand it is today. Even though it was a crazy idea, they put their own money behind it and persevered. I’m sure we’ve all had a crazy idea and not even tried to chase it, but think about what can happen if you give yourself the time to realize your ideas fully.

2. Don’t let the fear of failing stop you 

Kate put her own money into the business, and the fear of failure always hung over her, no matter how hard they worked. “I said I think we should shut it down,” she said. “I’m very conservative, I have no interest in losing money, and I said, we’ve already spent $4000, and I said that’s it from me, you know, I’m not a gambler.” But she persisted, just a little bit more, and it paid off. Her brand grew into a multi-million dollar business.

3. Achieve balance

Kate Spade eventually sold her business because she wanted to spend time with her daughter. It was important to her that she knew how to achieve the work/life balance. “We had a baby in 2005…I wanted to leave on good terms; it was the perfect time to leave,” she told NPR in a 2017 interview.

This was a good lesson in walking away when it feels right to do so. For Kate, spending time with her family was as important as building a brand, and when the decision came, she walked away to achieve balance.

4. Don’t be afraid to try again 

Not one to sit back and relax, Kate started a new business Frances Valentine, and changed her name to Kate Valentine legally, as a nod to her new brand. “I enjoy it but on a different level. I put it in its own little space. Before it was its only space, now I have to put it aside and say ‘you’re here’ and my family is here and I have to divide my time which is actually easy to do despite what people think.” she said of coming back to business after ten years.

5. Be the best version of yourself

Kate was a firm believer in being the best, most honest version of herself. She told Glamour: “If you’re as honest and fair as you can be, not only in business but life, things will work out. I hope that people remember me not just as a good businesswoman but as a great friend — and a heck of a lot of fun.”

All in all, Kate was an infectious, funny woman with a great business sense. She will be missed. If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 

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Featured photo: People
Accompanying photos: Frances Valentine

Beth Macdonald

Managing Editor

I'm the Managing Editor of CGD. I'm a graduate of the Penguin Writer's Academy and have published a short story. I specialize in copywriting, digital marketing, and research.