Coach's Three Tiered Structure

  1. With the introduction of the 1941 collection I have a few observations and question that I'd like to open up to a broader discussion regarding the evolution of Coach from leather goods boutique to American fashion house.

    It seems Coach has introduced a third tier to its retail structure. From what I understand, in the beginning, Coach relied on traditional marketing methods in the ways of company owned stores, spaces in large department stores, and catalog sales. I'd consider this a one tier structure. The outlet represented a second tier below the established brand to reach consumers who weren't interested in paying full price, but were nonetheless interested in the brand. With 1941, it seems as if Coach has introduced a third tier, a premium one above the original product line.

    At first I thought that 1941 was the 75th anniversary runway collection unique to his year. But it seems that Coach 1941 is more than just its runway label, even if it does encompass it, and will continue beyond 2016 under Stuart Vevers' rebranding of Coach. What makes it unique (and premium) are the leather goods' leather and suede linings and other premium details, its exclusivity to Coach online, stores, and upsacale department stores, and its orient toward the larger international fashion dialectic versus the more staid Coach label and pared down outlet offerings.

    Personally I'd like to see the outlets shrink drastically along with MFF merchandise, and I'd like to see clear labeling among the brands, so perhaps "Carriage" or something similar for MFF goods, "Coach New York" for the main line, and "Coach 1941" for the premium line. To some extent I believe they're already doing this. While I do think the factory stores are hurting brand equity, I think it's still a decent strategy to curb counterfeiting, reach price-conscious consumers, and liquidate unsold merchandise from the two tiers above it, as long as outlets aren't widely available and the MFF to FP item ratio shrinks and remains small.

    I also like the idea of a premium line that is more experimental and serves as the brand's house of design, encompasses broader lifestyle merchandise such as clothing and accessories, and reinterprets classic elements with a more luxurious feel such as ultra premium and exotic leathers. By comparison, I think the main line should focus more on the classic and functional leather goods that originally set Coach apart from the rest of the pack.

    So for instance, because I really do like how lightweight yet durable their split leather bags with nylon and fabric linings are, and think they're a great compromise between coated canvas and full grain leather, I should be able to shop the mainline for everyday bags. But consumers who like the thicker leathers of yore with unlined or leather lined interiors can shop the premium line's more classic offerings. And of course, the cosmopolitan consumer concerned with fashion and status can also shop the premium line for the latest clothing, evening bags, shoes, and more.

    So I have a few questions: Does this three tier structure appeal to you, turn you off, or are you indifferent? Do you think Coach needs to do more to differentiate among the three tiers more than they have so far? Do you think the Coach, or any fashion brand, can thrive with this trifurcated structure? How do you see this playing out in the future? Do you disagree entirely with my argument that Coach is currently attempting to put a three tier brand structure into place?

    Please feel free to address any points I've made, questions I've posed, and raise others :smile:
  2. It might be exclusive to dept.stores, Coach stores, and online for no w, but don't be surprised to see them in the outlets in a few months.
  3. I like your thoughts and I actually would embrace the new 1941 line as a premium brand under one condition: IT NEVER GOES TO THE OUTLET, IT IS NEVER INCLUDED IN THE SEMI ANNUAL SALES AND IT'S NOT INCLUDED IN PCE.

    As much as I would love to buy with PCE or at SAS to get a lower price I have to admit that as soon as they do this it knocks the 1941 line down a peg. I would like to see them have this one premier line that is never discounted.

    So that means they also have to produce less. If they make so many that the warehouse is piling up with them, they will have no choice but to put them on sale at some point.

    It's tough though because even Gucci and some other premier brands do semi annual sales. But because of that, I will only purchase from those brands during sales.

    But I would like to see some exclusivity with the 1941 bags.

    I purchased the Tea Rose Saddle bag at full price and my store manager promised me that if it ends up at the outlet that he will personally pay me the difference lol. I plan on holding him to that. ;)
  4. I too think the Coach 1941 brand bags should never end up in the outlets or regular department stores either. That provides price protection for those of us who bought at full price.

    I think that maybe they offer one sale a year on these bags offering no more than 20% off.......

    I also think they should get rid of MFF and only offer the bags from the boutiques that are at least 6 months or older in the outlets........

  5. Coach will NEVER get rid of MFF or the outlets....some of the high volume outlets are looking more and more like FP stores....same fixtures, same carpet, same cash wrap, same tv monitors....yes outlets has TV monitors at the cash wrap showing FP bags.....Outlets and MFF are the sole bread winners for Coach...

    Coach will always be on sale !!!
  6. So you think that whatever bags are leftover from a season shouldn't ever be discounted or go to an outlet? What? They should hang on to those bags forever and ever or throw them in a dumpster? Unless they only make very small quantities of a bag, there will always be leftovers and not many people who pay full price for a 1941 bag will want to pay full price for a bag that is a season or two old.
  7. I honestly don't know. What do Louis Vuitton and Chanel do - they never discount bags? I'd like to see Coach do the same thing for the 1941 bags that LV and Chanel do, follow that business plan.
  8. Based on how Coach operates one can choose to buy it now at fp or wait and get it cheaper. It's up to the individual.
  9. Very true....because it will be day.
  10. What is MFF? Thank uo
  11. This is another reason I have yet to pull the trigger on the oxblood rogue (plus no boutiques near me carry the rogue to see if it's really worth the $). My boutique swears it will never hit the outlet, go to SAS, or allow PCE but we have all heard that story before.

    It's weird though, a few months ago I was obsessed with my swaggers. But now, seeing all of these 1941 reveals the swagger doesn't feel as special to me. I view the rogue as a higher caliber of bag vs a swagger. So now I'm trying to decide if it is worth returning and selling my swaggers I have bought at 25-30% off and get a full price rogue. I rarely buy anything full price because I know there is always a department sale or pce coming up. I would be comfortable paying $795 for a rogue if I knew it wasn't going to be deeply discounted at Macy's or hit the next SAS at 40% off. When it comes to outlets though I don't mind a bag being there as long as it's not a huge stock #. Typically the deletes I get from FOS are beat up store displays that I end up returning. I would not want a beat up rogue even if it meant I got it at 50% or more off.
  12. mff = made for factory

  13. Why do you view Rogue as high caliber than Swagger...???
    I own 4 Swaggers and the quality is very high....Rogue is a very nice bag and I will get the larger size...but I don't think it is high caliber..

    so the Swaggers that you have purchased, you have never used them?
  14. This all day, i was in Boutique & factory within a few days of one another and the factory as per usual crammed.. with people buying.. and many tourists by the bag full, typical weekend at the factory store. :lol:
  15. #15 Feb 25, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
    Just a few thoughts, and a trip down memory lane:

    1) Customers wishing the outlets away isn't going to do it. Said wish has been made by many people, many times, over the years I've been here. A look at the data, however, shows more outlets have opened over that time, than disappeared. Indeed, it's been boutiques that have been more likely to close, (at least based on that list of store closings somewhere in this subforum).

    2) Many people, many times over the years, have wished that the MFF would disappear. (Note, I personally have many MFF bags that I love dearly, so I'm certainly not going to dismiss MFF.) Not only has it not happened, but the number of MFF imitations of boutique bags have actually increased. We also have some of the same leathers and *colors* in MFF, as we do in boutiques right now. (Just one example, they have the same color seaglass, and the same pebbled and crossgrain seaglass leathers in particular, in both boutiques and MFF literally right now.) Some lines have even moved from boutique to MFF (Madison Kelsey, Phoebe, etc.).

    3) Coach has "claimed", whether through news articles, or quotes from executives, or even just quotes from Sales Associates, that things would "be a certain way", or "change a certain way", and I can barely think of one case where the statements actually panned out.

    Phoebe's ... not valid on PCE ... then they were valid ... since then SAS and outlets ... now they actually *are* a MFF bag. (I literally :lol: out loud when I type that.)

    Legacy from five years ago ... some were not valid on PCE ... then were valid on PCE ... then "they'll never go to outlet" ... then they did ... then MFF came up with some very similar versions.

    Boroughs ... not valid on PCE ... then they were valid ... then on SAS and outlets (and I got a few through both routes and love them dearly) ... then MFF actually made their *own* Boroughs.

    PCEs were supposed to go away. Well they did, for a couple months, until they came back. Supposedly there's another one coming in a week or two, for which I already have a small purchase planned. Indeed, the last PCE even went public after a few days -- broadening PCE even while the execs were claiming PCE was going away (ie. literally opposite from what the execs had been claiming). Similarly, the semi-annual sale was supposed to be brief, and only twice a year. Well it was, for the first three. This last autumn/winter though .... we went from a PCE, to the PCE opening, then it morphed within a week or two into a "Winter sale", which *then* morphed after a couple weeks into the actual SAS, which then went on for its own series of changes. ..... What was long claimed to be "No PCE's and only brief SAS's twice a year," morphed into what must have been three months worth of "sales". :lol: No lie.

    Oh, and I almost forgot .... for a while the execs were saying that the department stores would no longer be able to reduce the prices on their Coach offerings. Coupons would no longer work. Department stores could not put them on clearance. That *was* the claim. Well that apparently never worked out, because Coach is still going on clearance, the coupons still work on clearance, and they still do occasional coupons that work on department store full prices.

    I realize that the obvious counter to all of this is, "But things are different *now* ... things will be different *now*." But my point is simply this --- Coach has been saying things for years, that almost never come to pass. For years, we've heard, "Things will change *now*." ...... Really? Well why "now now", as opposed to "last year's now". Or "the year before's now". .... See that boy over there, talking about a wolf?

    If I look back over the last ... what ... six years? ... the only real change I've seen is that a lot of items no longer go to outlets, but go to the *online* outlet instead. If you have an account in the online outlet sale, the variety of boutique deletes available to you, at outlet prices, has actually *increased*.

    In other words, except for more deletes going to the online sale, than used to go to brick-and-morter outlets, I'd say this below pretty much sums it up ...