How Kate Spade New York Uses Social Media To Sell Handbags

kate spade instagramAn image from Kate Spade’s Instagram feed.

Photo: Courtesy of Kate Spade New York

On the walls of Kate Spade New York’s offices, photos of colours, shoes, and prints hang for everyone to see.The staff has shared inspiration this way or through email for years. So when a member pitched Pinterest to Kyle Andrew, the SVP of marketing for Kate Spade, the then-unheard of photo-sharing website seemed like a natural extension of the brand.

More than many of its competitors, Kate Spade New York has embraced the world of social media to welcome customers and let the “voice” of the brand speak.

Fans of the brand can friend, follow, like, or what-have-you Kate Spade on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, or check into their stores on FourSquare and even occasionally download music from a Spotify promotion.

“When we inherited the brand from Kate and Andy five years ago, we were very fortunate that it already had a voice,” said Andrew of Kate Spade, which is now owned by Liz Claiborne. “It was very natural and authentic for us to enter social media because we always had a voice. Our brand has always spoken.”

Search for Kate Spade New York on any social media platform, and it’s easy to see what’s important to the brand: patterns, colours, fun food, and classic New York moments. .

“We started putting photos on Instagram of fun drinks or cupcakes we had at office parties, and our customers love that,” Andrew said. “They just want to be a part of it.”

Andrew sees social media as the new way of marketing. Most of the tweets, Tumblr posts, Facebook updates, and pins aren’t even of products you can buy on But the non-promotional updates help build customer loyalty and understand the message the brand wants to convey.

There is also the element of instant feedback that the social media sites provide. When the customers don’t like something, Kate Spade knows instantly.

“We’ve seen increase in traffic from social media sites to our website, especially from Facebook, and we are always delightfully surprised when they respond to non-commercial messages and they are engaged in that,” Andrew said. 

For affordable luxury brands like Kate Spade, the future of social media lies in corporations putting more and more resources behind marketing the new digital way. Reaching customers through social media isn’t a side project for marketing teams anymore, Andrew said. It’s the new way of selling a product.

“Social media has been such a great tool for luxury brands,” Andrew said. “It helps the customer feel like they are a part of the brand. Social media just helps tell the story so many different ways.”

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