April 28, 1941: Coach, Inc. Founded, or a Tale of Premier Designer Purses!

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A Brief History

On April 28, 1941, the company that would become Coach, Inc. maker of premium designer leather goods was founded.

Digging Deeper

The Gail Leather Company in New York City made top quality leather products by hand.  In the manner of the day, most products were typically brown or black throughout the 1940’s and into the 1950’s. (Note: This researcher could not find an exact date for the founding of the company, even after corresponding with Coach.  Thus, the April 28 date is arbitrary, although 1941 is correct.)

The strong and supple nature of “broken in” baseball gloves was the inspiration for processing leather that would wear well with age, getting stronger and more supple.  The high quality products caught on, especially once designs started using a variety of bright colors and including various pockets and compartments.  The characteristic silver toggle hearkens back to the snaps on a convertible’s roof.

Every silver lining has a cloud, and in this case the “cloud” is counterfeiting.  Known as “knock-offs,” counterfeit purses and related items are the number one most counterfeited item in the United States (according to MSN.com).  CNBC reports that counterfeiting is a billion dollar business!

How does the consumer protect himself/herself?  The internet has dozens of websites detailing how to spot fakes and avoid getting scammed.  Even YouTube has videos to tell you how to verify the genuineness of a Coach purse.  Of course, Coach also makes billfolds, wallets, briefcases and a variety of other premium leather products, so buying from a reputable dealer is probably your best protection.

Although not even close to being the most expensive designer purses, Coach purses are of the highest quality and may well outlast other brands that cost more.  The typical $100 to $400 price of a Coach may well be a lifetime investment.  A lady I know (we can call her “Mom”) has had Coach purses for 40 years and the oldest ones are nearly like new.  Only minimal cleaning and leather care is all it takes.

Coach has grown to 12,000 employees and has revenues of well over $3 billion per year.  Still headquartered on West 34th Street in New York, the company even puts their name on wristwatches and eye-wear along with all the other men’s and women’s accessories.

Question for students (and subscribers): What designer labels do you like best, and why?  How about the ones you like the least?  Share your opinions in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see Coach’s website here and to spot fake purses, see…

Stewart, Briana.  How to Spot a Fake Designer Handbag: Stop Being Ripped off by Scammers: Learn How to Spot a Fake Designer Handbag for 1 mile away.  Bull City Publishing, 2013.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.