In the past several seasons, Coach’s leather goods offerings have become a force to be reckoned with. Sure, the brand has long been popular for its reasonably priced handbags and logo-covered accessories, but as of late, its leather game has been so on-point that I can’t even begin to enumerate the times I’ve heard people say, “I’m usually not a Coach fan, but I would kill to have this bag.” Now it looks like both of the men who brought about that upward trajectory are leaving the company. Yesterday, Women’s Wear Daily reported that Reed Krakoff would be leaving his post as president and chief creative officer of Coach in mid-2014; chairman and CEO Lew Frankfort had previously announced his early-2014 departure. So what’s ahead for Krakoff, and can Coach maintain its current momentum without the executives credited with creating it?
When you consider the instant-hit status of Krakoff’s eponymous line, perhaps his departure from daily involvement at Coach (he’ll play the role of consultant at the company until his official send-off) isn’t as shocking as it first seems. Reed Krakoff is now a full-fledged brand unto itself, and WWD reports that Krakoff’s exit from Coach is said to be largely caused by his desire to spend more time developing his own company into an internationally renowned source of luxury goods, including the addition of a men’s business. Krakoff certainly seems to have plenty of room to grow.
It also seems that Krakoff, the brand, will likely not continue to grow within Coach, which currently owns it. Among the options that Coach has mentioned is selling the company off to an investor that would keep Reed on as the brand’s creative muscle, and with the success that Reed’s brand has had so far, it’s hard to imagine that RK won’t have plenty of corporate suitors who have the same eye on expansion as Krakoff does.
That, of course, leaves Coach. The brand already has a CEO in the wings to replace Frankfort but is still looking for Krakoff’s creative heir, so it’s difficult to speculate on what might come next for the company’s bags. With the accessory division’s strong performance as of late, thought, one imagines that it’s unlikely to be a dramatic shift. As a customer, what do you hope to see from the brand going forward?