Kate Spade committed suicide this week after a lifelong battle with depression. In addition to family, friends, colleagues, and employees left behind, she also leaves behind a fashion empire worth millions.
As Yahoo News reports, the value of Spade’s fashion empire is estimated to be in the range of $150 million, although these things are often notoriously difficult to pin down. Celebrity Net Worth, for example, estimates her net worth at $200 million, while The Richest posits $150 million. There’s also the matter of pinning down how much money was her personal wealth vs. how much was tied up in the value of her company.
Though the Kate Spade brand bears her name, she’d actually sold it off over the course of a decade. As Forbes reported last year, Kate and her husband, Andy Spade, sold 56 percent of the company to Neiman Marcus in 1999 for $34 million. In 2006, they sold the rest of the brand to Neiman Marcus for a reported $59 million. Now the brand is worth an estimated $2.4 million, though Kate and Andy hadn’t been involved in it for over a decade.
Meanwhile, Kate introduced a new line, called Frances Valentine, in 2016.
So how did Katherine Noel Brosnahan, born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1962, come from such humble roots to build a fashion empire?
As The New York Times reports, back in 1993 Kate left her job as an editor at Mademoiselle to launch her own handbag line, with the help of a $35,000 investment from her then-boyfriend, Andy Spade, whom she would later marry.
Almost immediately, Spade’s handbags, some of which were sewn from burlap from a potato bag maker, were a hit. Within five years, Kate’s shop in New York’s trendy SoHo neighborhood was earning $28 million per year.
As the Inquisitr’s Cristina Bermudez reported earlier this week, Spade’s “crisp silhouettes and pops of color” were just what her customers wanted. Soon, she was making a name for herself in the fashion industry.
“Spade branched out into different product offerings and began attracting the attention of celebrities, exclusive buyers, and retailers from notable stores including Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. In just three years, she was honored with prestigious recognition from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, who awarded her classic designs with the America’s New Fashion Talent in Accessories award.”
Unfortunately, Kate endured a lifelong battle with depression, and on June 5 she lost that battle, having committed suicide at the age of 55.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.