By Vicki M. Young
Coach Inc. has gone from a monobrand company to a group of American accessible luxury brands — and it’s changing its name to reflect the shift.
The company now will be known as Tapestry Inc.
Victor Luis, the firm’s chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that the idea of a name change was talked about a few years ago, but that when the company in July acquired Kate Spade, it “changed things pretty dramatically.” He added that with the change in the structure of the company, “We wanted a platform where each brand retained its distinct personality and positioning without creating any confusion.”
Coach, with the help of Carbone Smolan Agency, chose Tapestry after considering “many, many names,” Luis said.
Coach isn’t the first company in the fashion industry to change its name. Ironically, its newest baby Kate Spade was once Fifth & Pacific, and before that it was Liz Claiborne Inc. And European luxury goods conglomerate Pinault-Printemps Redoute also changed its name twice, first to PPR before becoming Kering.
Coach’s new corporate name goes into effect on Oct. 31, and shares of Coach will then trade under the new symbol “TPR” on the New York Stock Exchange.
“What we like about Tapestry is that the name is reflective of the values that we share — the idea of heritage and craftsmanship, and of a piece of art that is [both] one and reflective of different threads and colors, like our brands and different employees. It is a wonderful metaphor for us, with great room to grow that is not limited to any one category or any one geography,” Luis said.
The ceo said Tapestry also reflects the values that the company’s brands share: Optimism, innovation and inclusivity. “Those values differentiate us from many traditional luxury brands,” he said.
One concern at the time of the July acquisition — and when the company began earnestly evaluating its options — was the risk that consumers would think that Coach’s acquisition of Kate Spade meant either the brand would be sold in Coach stores or that Kate Spade would be re-branded as Coach, he said.
And from a corporate culture standpoint, the ceo said it was important that the company have its own identity without any confusion with the brands under its umbrella.
There may already be confusion over the name change. Coach saw its shares fall 2.8 percent to close at $38.87 Wednesday following disclosure of the planned name change, and some individuals took to tweeting their displeasure.
Paul R. La Monica @LaMonicaBuzz tweeted a sarcastic reference to Carole King and her second album called “Tapestry,” while the one from Courtney Reagan @CourtReagan said, “Doesn’t this negate the point of heritage, legacy etc. in high-end branding?”
Luis took the comments in stride, noting, “This is just a moment in time….The name change is not about Coach, nor Kate Spade, nor Stuart Weitzman. We are protecting the individual identity of the brands through a corporate name change.”
As for investors, Luis said the savviest and best of investors would be less focused on the corporate name and more on the business of each brand looking for any measure of growth or profitability.
Jim Fosina, founder and ceo of Fosina Marketing Group, said that the name change “signals to the stock market and the fashion industry that [the company’s] future is more about assembling a network of fashion brands that will make the overall company and its financials dominant in the fashion industry.”