Sweetening the Purse - article Washington Post

  1. Article about Coach bags with a discussion about how Coach lead the trend of hanging charms on bags and a slight jab at higher end bags and their justification for prices

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/02/AR2007090201354.html

    Some excerpts of note:

    Coach helped popularize the idea of accessorizing one's accessories with charms ranging in price from $28 to $38. (An impulse purchase for some shoppers; an indulgent introduction to the Coach brand for others.) Although Prada has received most of the credit within the fashion industry for mainstreaming this kind of childish charm, Krakoff says his came first. "We did it three years before them," he says. "We saw them seven years ago in Japan. People were hanging key chains on bags; girls would hang little charms on their cellphones." But he stops short of being bothered. "I would sound silly saying, 'I invented the key fob.' We're really not about starting trends. I really don't care."
    Some fashion snobs deride Coach, unable to deal with the idea that a handbag so readily accessible, so vaguely democratic, could also be so desirable. They dismiss it as a starter bag -- and an ugly bag. The Web site Bagsnob.com, which offers critical assessments of new handbags, showed no mercy in critiquing Coach's patchwork bags. "I know I sound like a total snob when I say that I cringe when I have to walk by a Coach store. . . . The other day . . . I inadvertently stopped in front of a Coach store. I looked up and was assaulted by a wall to wall display of their hideous patchwork bags! I almost passed out and wanted to run but could not tear my eyes away from these deformed-looking bags!"
    Of that review, Krakoff responds: "I'm okay with that. We can't please everybody. We're here to please the customer."


    ---


    He sniffs with skepticism at labels, particularly European ones, that put a price tag of almost $2,000 on a handbag. "Knowing what it costs to make a bag -- " he begins. And then pauses. Disgusted. Some of the cost is based on status, some of it is because of small-scale production. "But we use the same raw materials," he says. He firmly believes that Coach is a luxury brand.
    "Luxury is personal," he says. "It's old-fashioned to think that it has to be made a certain way." Or in a certain country. Or by unionized labor.
    Luxury is not related to hand-sewing, he says, or a label that says "Made in Italy." "Truthfully, I look at a lot of bags, and it's not where it's made but who makes it. I think the European brands have been pushing that because it's the only way to justify $9,000 for a bag."
     
  2. Great read! Thanks BlackLadyLaw!

    You should read the article I posted on the psychology of the $14,000 handbag. The link should be in my signature.
     
  3. BlkLadyLaw, thank you for sharing this article! It was most definitely an interesting read. :tup:
     
  4. Very interesting article, Soror!
     
  5. Very interesting read. It is true that if we all found out how little is needed to make a handbag from the price we pay, we would be disgusted. Well, at least I would be!!
     
  6. Interesting. We probably do pay too much for our LVs, our CCs, and our GGs, but I think that's probably the case for almost everything we buy. For the companies, it's all about the profits.
     
  7. Interesting read, thank you for posting the article, BlkLadyLaw! :tup:
     
  8. Very interesting article! Thanks for posting.
     
  9. Thanks for sharing!!

    Great article!
     
  10. I do find the idea that we are now accessorizing our accessories funny.
     
  11. oh man this article really disgusts me! a few years back, i was doing some design work for dooney and bourke through teen vogue magazine. i was over in the factories in florence for about a week, and dooney and bourke uses the very same leather factory that coach uses, and just let me say mr. dooney was VERY P.O.-ed over this...

    "knowing what it costs to make a bag"? he says....yes...dooney and bourke and coach bags get their leather from lower grade leather factories in florence. The difference between perhaps a $400 dooney and bourke/coach bag VS a $2000 bag by MJ/Chloe/ LV is that Dooney and Bourke AND Coach both send the leather and metal hardware (which is made in italy) to sweatshops and factories in china for cheap labor. Their bags are made in China, and yah when you can pay young kids and women next to nothing per hour to mass market your product, your damn right the manufacturing costs drop dramatically, than if you have your own european factory with people who get paid a decent amount to assemble various parts (assembly line style) by hand.

    2. "But we use the same raw materials," he says. He firmly believes that Coach is a luxury brand.
    "Luxury is personal," he says. "It's old-fashioned to think that it has to be made a certain way." Or in a certain country. Or by unionized labor.

    i love how this guy is working his way around the questions:cursing: yah....the same raw materials...I.E.LEATHER/BRASS/THREAD....but people can tell the difference between good quality leather and cheap leather. Both Dooney and bourke and LV use a natural vetable tanned leather that oxidizes called VACHETTA....but the quality between dooney leather and LV leather is obviously different. i love how this guy says "It's old-fashioned to think that it has to be made a certain way." yes, living in the world we live in, luxury can now come from a european design house that comes up with it's own leather tanning process, has it's own workers that are paid well for their skills or you can have that same luxury from a mass market brand like coach that uses cheap, questionable overseas labor to make bags that are everywhere and stll cost an arm and a leg...

    Luxury is not related to hand-sewing, he says, or a label that says "Made in Italy." "Truthfully, I look at a lot of bags, and it's not where it's made but who makes it. I think the European brands have been pushing that because it's the only way to justify $9,000 for a bag

    um, yes it is! that's why you get coach bags donated to the thrift stores with split seams, and why vintage LV's from over 60 years ago are still usable and beatiful....luxury is associated with quality, and quality is from skills and not 'quality control' in a factory. He also says luxury is not related to a label that says 'made in italy, because coach bags are not! sure the leather is italian, but it's cut and assembled in china...

    i think european brands can justify the amount they charge for bags, because they use processes of leather tanning that are much more advanced than lower brands leather tanning processes. Some designer bag leather goes through 4-10 layer processes to achieve the looks they come out with. and yes, that does cost more money. Designer bags go as far as to have a mandatory amount of stitches in various areas of the bag, and that is a very tight quality issue, as well as a skill issue of the folks who manufacture it. there are so many issues that separate a chloe/LV/Marc Jacobs bag from a donney and bourke bag or coach bag....
     
  12. ^^^ I know, I cringed when I read "the same raw materials." Leather quality varies widely, and at least I have found that to an extent, you pay for what you get.

    Really interesting article. Thanks for posting, BlkLadyLaw!
     
  13. ^^^ I agree with you guys. The leather on a Balenciaga is very different from the leather on a Coach bag. B-bag leather is absolutely delicious. I am not saying Coach leathers aren't nice, but they are nowhere near the same quality as B-bag leather. The extremely luxurious leather on the B-bag justifies the price.
    I own both Dooney and LV items that have vachetta trim, and there is definitely a quality difference. The LV vachetta seems much more sturdy. The Dooney leather is much thinner. It's also worth noting that the monograms on my Dooney don't line up. On my LVs the monograms line up perfectly. Lining up the monograms perfectly means a bit more waste of materials, thus a higher cost.
    I also own one Coach item, a bag charm. The stitching definitely not as nice as the stitching on my LV stuff. Then again, I don't really expect it to be, because of the different price points.
    Don't get me wrong: I like the Coach and Dooney items I have. I just don't agree with the Krakoff's assertion that his products are on the same level as LV, Chanel, Prada, or any other European designer's in terms of craftsmanship.
     
  14. Loved your insight jun3machina! Every interview/article I've read about this Krakoff character is hilarious. I give him credit for making the Coach brand more interesting (though they are not my style, personally) but it ticks me off when companies insist that their brand is this or that - in this case, that Coach IS luxury. We, as consumers, define what luxury means to each of us, and I don't need Big Corporation to tell me. This guy probably has a fake accent too :graucho:
     
  15. Wow...cool thanks for posting.

    You know when they were talking about hanging keyfobs from coach bags, I do this too, but the last time I was in an outlet, the lady there said, "wow, I like how you hang your keyfob from your bag...I do the same thing, but everyone here makes fun of me for it.."

    So, is it cheesy to do that? I always thought it added character.