Yes To DIY Masks

27th June 2017

I say Yes To cute suits, DIYs and random acts of dancing – how about you?!

Excited to introduce the new DIY Powder-To-Clay Masks from one of my favorite natural skin care brands, Yes To Carrots!

HEY ! PRESS PLAY

Here I’m saying yes to coconuts for dry skin and cucumbers for sensitive skin, two skin-issues I face come summer! You can also boost these masks with natural ingredients found in your kitchen like bananas for vitamin C or honey for smooth skin.

GIVE AWAY
For a chance to win an epic YesTo mask prize pack..
1 – view this video on instagram
2 – leave a comment saying what you say “yes to”
3 – tag a friend for extra entriesScreen Shot 2017-06-27 at 2.28.09 AMshop Yes To DIY Powder-To-Clay Masks here

SHOP THE VIDEO & OTHER YES TO FAVS BELOW


YES TO Yes To Cucumbers Wipes x 30 • $6.50
YES TO Yes To Coconuts Ultra Hydrating Paper Mask • $6
Yes to Cucumbers Micellar Cleansing Water • $8.99
ModCloth Soleil It on Me Swimsuit Top in Palms in XL • $54.99
ModCloth Summer in the Sizzle One-Piece Swimsuit in Emerald in 16 • $59.99
Bershka Tie Front Button Crop Top • $29
Yes to Coconut Ultra Hydrating Melting Cleanser • $9.99
YES TO Yes To Cucumber Calming Paper Mask • $6
Yes to Coconut Cleansing Wipes • $5.99
Key West Ruched Swimsuit • $315
Dolce & Gabbana – Ruched Printed Halterneck Swimsuit – Forest green • $495
Women’s La Blanca ‘Island Goddess’ One-Piece Swimsuit • $79
Yes to Cucumbers 2-Step Eye Kit Buh-Bye Bags & Dark Circles! • $3.99
YES TO Yes To Coconuts Ultra Hydrating Crme Cleanser 118ml • $13
YES TO Yes To Cucumbers Face Mask • $19
Yes to Coconut 2-Step Lip Kit Pucker Up! • $3.99
Yes to® Cucumbers Eye Makeup Remover Pads – 20 ct • $3.99
YES TO Yes To Coconut Protecting Hand and Cuticle Cream 85g • $13
ModCloth Soleil It on Me Swimsuit Bottom in Palms in S • $44.99
Women’s J.crew Scallop One-Piece Swimsuit • $70.80
Lauren Ralph Lauren Beach Halter One Piece Swimsuit • $61.88

See more videos at #colormevideo

Thank you to YesTo Carrots for sponsoring this post

Color Me Clutch

16th June 2017

Photo Jun 10, 5 26 55 PMI’m all about two-tone everything — manicures, outfits, iPhone covers and now clutches!Photo Jun 10, 5 36 05 PM

As a firm believer that everything is better with a double dose of color, I love how pairing two unexpected (or even expected) colors together really helps to amp up an outfit or just a single piece! SO I’m super excited to announce to that I’ve partnered with GiGi New York to help them launch and develop a new clutch style! Today I’ll be chatting all about this “Color Me” approved clutch; why it’s a different style direction for me; and how to style it for day. Plus I’ll sweetened the deal and share my favorite Pizza Place in NYC!Photo Jun 10, 5 27 56 PM

Most people make the mistake of thinking of a clutch as a dressy evening item, but day clutches are totally a thing!!! You can rock a clutch with denim, a tee shirt, sneakers or all three and still style it in a fun and playful way. I love how I added this GiGi New York clutch to an otherwise average outfit to take things over the top! Photo Jun 10, 5 33 13 PM

It’s all in the details — so let’s talk a little more about this crazy cute clutch. It takes my (now) signature two-tone style that you see frequently in my #colormemanis and amps it up to a more sophisticated level. I have a bunch of new product lines and cool collaborations coming up this year (get excited) starting with the lipstick I designed for Birchbox (shop it here) and even touching on tech accessories like the iPhone covers I’m launching next month (stay tuned). One thing that is consistent in a lot of my branding and products is the diagonal two tone stripe similar to this ribbon effect we see here on the clutch. Usually, I do this diagonal dip with bold colors, — the idea is that it looks like you had a popsicle that you dipped in some kind of candy coating like at Pop Bar … but for this clutch, we took a girlier, softer approach to showcase that side of my style as well.Photo Jun 10, 5 30 09 PM

Since I’m obsessed with pink and red together, I had to make sure we introduced this fun combo to the mix. The red is inspired by my go-to cherry lip and the pink is a color we’re seeing everywhere right n! Photo Jun 10, 5 37 26 PM

You can dress this clutch up (I’ll show you how next week) or down as I did here today, and that’s just one of the many reasons I love it! I’m also kind of obsessed with the knot detail. As you know, another part of my signature style is a bow — something I wore in my hair all spring and often like to add to my outfits. Instead of going so literal with an actual bow, we did a unique twist on the ribbon effect by adding a cool knot. This way, even if you aren’t super girly or would usually stay away from bows, you can still rock this style.Photo Jun 10, 5 29 26 PM (1)

In addition to being available online, you can find this cute clutch at any of the below locations:

    1. Peacock’s Plume 248 Craven St, New Bern, NC 28560 
    2. Julian Gold – Midland 2101      W Wadley Ave Midland, TX 79705
    3. Julian Gold – San Antonio 4109 McCullough Ave San Antonio, TX 78212
    4. Skaneateles 300 2  West Genesee St

Photo Jun 10, 5 33 11 PMOH and as for Pizza? You can find the best in the City at Bleecker Street Pizza in Greenwich Village, but Prince Street is also a very very verrrry close second.Photo Jun 10, 5 38 25 PM

Last thing – I’ve sent out a few of the clutches to my favorite blogger friends, and can’t wait to see how they style it! Stay tuned!Photo Jun 10, 5 29 10 PM

SHOP THE CLUTCH:


Shop the rest of the look:
Shoes (look for less here)
Tee by Daisy Natives
Jeans (also love these for under $100)Photo Jun 10, 5 35 09 PM

Thanks to GiGi for sponsoring this post!

Flamingo Thangs

14th June 2017

IMG_8730Hey pretties! Blush has been trending like crazy, so I though we would round up some of my favorite light pink & flamingo things at every price point, blush I’m sharing a dress thats on serious sale. IMG_8724Is there anything more feminine than light pink? I feel instantly girly when I wear this pretty hue and it’s quickly become a staple in my wardrobe. It’s always in rotation, from my favorite blush bag to my go-to pink pumps!

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When I stumbled upon this flamingo dress I knew I had to have it … and now it;s up to 60% off, wee! It’s Red Valentino, one of my favorite designers because they walk that line between girly and flirty with just a sprinkle of edge!IMG_8723

I styled this dress with a pink belt and pink pumps, before finishing with a pink bag because more is more right? right!IMG_8725

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Magic Kingdom!

12th June 2017

IMG_8398Its no secret I’m a disney girl through and though. I mean polka dots, churros, dole whip? what’s not to love! So today I’m sharing two easy outfits to wear to the park this summer!

 Summers in Florida are NO JOKE! You have to remember to dress appropriately, and hydrate! So we’re all about shorts, flowy fabrics and things that breathe while spending a full day at the park all while channeling my favorite disney character, Minnie Mouse!IMG_8401

Magic Kingdom!
It’s not secret that Magic Kingdom is the queen of all Disney Parks! It has everything you think of when you dream of Disney, from rides to characters and lets not forget eats! For a day at MK I took one of my favorite dresses, tucked the top in and converted it int a skirt! Then paired it with fun floral ears, a white bow top and a Mickey patch (that I adhered with double stick tape). Because sneakers are key to a successful and comfy day at the park, I rocked a pink pair to finish the look!IMG_8400

For my second Magic Kingdom look, I double up on this Minnie-esuqe print for a fun patterned look. I kept things classic with sequined minnie ears and  infused a bit of army green into this look with Nike sneakers and a matching crossbody!IMG_8397

Magic Kingdom will Always have my heart, but there are a bunch of fun things you can do outside of it. Tune in tomorrow to read all about it and see a few more park worthy looks!

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Shop both looks:

Hot Pink Jumpsuit

8th June 2017

IMG_8068Hello hot pink!  IMG_8069    I love wearing an obnoxious color, because everyone stops and stares. It’s not always for the right reasons, some people are thinking “I would never wear that color” but most people are into it … and hey even if they aren’t I feel awesome in it, and that is all that matters!

Today I’m talking about one of my favorite hot pink pieces, this darling ruffled jump suit that I can’t get enough of. In this post – I’ll share 3 reasons why you need it in your wardrobe AND share my favorite East Village brunch spot! So get ready because this post is jam packed!IMG_8067

Three Reasons why you need this jump suit, or something hot pink in your wardrobe!

1 – Its the easiest outfit ever! You don’t need to accessorize, just pull it on and you’re out the door. Mine is slightly too big so I added a belt and a rainbow clutch to finish the look, but honestly the jump suit doesn’t need much to complete a look.

2 – It makes a serious statement, and an even better ice breaker – I wore this hot pink pretty to a dinner to a blogger dinner a while back. Every girl was wearing neutrals and I stood out in my obnoxiously pink outfits – but thats what I wanted! At an event like that, everyone is already well dressed so I had to bring some color to help me stand out from the crowd.

3 – Its comfortable! Have you ever been out to dinner or on a date and suddenly (after too much pasta) your jeans don’t feel right! Well you’ll never have that problem with this jump suit, because its so comfortable that it’s basically pajamas!IMG_8074IMG_8070

So I do love this jumpsuit but the fit isn’t perfect. I bought a tall size on accident and being that I’m 5 feet tall, that wasn’t wise. As you can see the suit is a little long. I ended up getting it tailored at the waist and the hem after these photos we’re taken, but wanted to show it for you as is incase you wanted to purchase.

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Finally, you can see I’m rocking a little post brunch pooch in these photos because we had just eaten at Sweet Chick in the LES! I had the biscuits and gravy and maple bacon (only available on weekend brunch- but the mac and cheese and chicken and waffles are also rave worthy! If you’re in the area give it a try – but be prepared to wait a bit, usually about 45 min unless you come after 3pm!

SHOP THE LOOK


Ruffle Jumpsuit with Culotte Leg • $79
Tall ASOS TALL Ruffle Jumpsuit with Culotte Leg • $79
Satin Jumpsuit with Assymetric Ruffle • $111
Leather belt with pearl Double G • $650
Constructed Rainbow Clutch • $295
The Perry Slip-On Leather Mules • $149

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LWD – Little White Dress

6th June 2017

IMG_8009 IMG_8010  As you know by now, I’m all about the LWD (Little White Dress) and I actually like them better than the traditional LBD! But that doesn’t mean that your little white dress can stand on its own!IMG_8007

Today we’re taking an out of the box twist of the LWD and showing you how to style this summer staple and still stand out!IMG_8003IMG_8012

1 – Start with the silhouette! Find something thats classic with a twist, like this knotted shirt dress. The shape is simple but that tied waist detail really makes it a unique piece! Plus its super flattering, yay! I also love the slight color pop inside collar for something fun and unexpected.

2 – And a pop of color. The easiest way to spice up a white (or black dress) is with a pop of color! Yellow or teal or go-to color pop hues for me, I also love what a candy apple red can do for an otherwise simple look! Look to your shoes or bag (or both) for easy way to inject color into your look.

3 – Take it one step further! After you’ve already added your one POC, add a second layer of color for an event more unexpected twist on this classic. I like to follow the 1:2 rule, where since I have two pops of yellow, I added one pop of teal.

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My dress is a splurge, so I’m sharing a few simialr LWD options for under $100 below!

But if you do want to invest in the dress I’m wearing, you won’t regret it! It is a fit and flare waist and the perfect length, complete front buttons and a flirty detail. Overall, it’s one of my favorite dresses I own!IMG_8008IMG_8005

SHOP THE LOOKFullSizeRender

photos taken at 16 Vanderbilt ave in brooklyn

Foundation Favs

23rd May 2017

Let’s talk foundation!IMG_5672(wearing Pore PrimerHello Flawless Powder)

It’s no secret that I’m not a makeup guru – I usually apply my makeup in 5 min or less, I don’t know how to contour without looking like snookie (the old snookie) and I always wear way too much highlighter, so I end up looking like a unicorn … a fact I’m totally okay with. Despite my makeup flaws, I’m pretty confident in my foundation choices so today I’m sharing my three favorite foundations & why!
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(wearing no makeup)

Everyday makeup
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(wearing Pore PrimerHello Flawless Powder & 
Hello Flawless Foundation Oxygen Wow)

)A few months ago I was looking for a new foundation, so I walked into sephora and said “I’m looking for a new foundation” … the sales girl told me “well, Beyonce uses this one” and directed me to Benefit Cosmetics Hello Flawless collection.  I have no doubt that Beyonce does not use this foundation, but I appreciated her sales technique so I bought it anyways! A year  and a half later, it’s still my favorite powder foundation. Along the way I picked up the primer, concealer and foundation all from benefit in associating colors and they’ve become part of my daily makeup routine in various stages. Most days, I start with benefit pore primer and a little bit of moisturizer. If I have dark circles or blemishes I’ll use boi-ing full coverage concealer. Most days, I’ll skip the foundation all together and just use the boi-ing concealer in medium where I need it with a bit of moisturizer (pictured at the bottom of this post). When I’m looking for more coverage, I’ll finish with the Hello Flawless Powder (pictured at the beginning of this post) and when I really want to lay it on, I’ll use the Oxygen Wow foundation before I apply my powder (pictured above).

Benefit Pore Primer
Boi-ing Concealer in Medium
Hello Flawless Powder in Toasted Beige 
Hello Flawless Foundation Oxygen Wow in Toasted Beige 

That Dewy GlowIMG_4285
(wearing hydro boost foundation)

I’m usually a matte face girl, where I don’t want any shine. But sometimes I want more of a dewy, natural look that leaves your skin looking glowy, hydrated and fresh! In that case, neutrogena’s hydro boost in honey, is the perfect partner. It’s so light and refreshing, but leaves you with a flawless coverage without feeling thick or greasy. When I need extra coverage, I’ll pair it with the hydro boost concealer in medium. Their hydration-infused weightless water-gel tint plumps and boots skin for 24 hours without setting into fine lines. Somehow, its actually better for your skin than wearing no makeup at all, and leaves your skin feeling smoother even after you take it off. Its a great product for summer, because it gives you that natural look with makeup you can wear all day!

Neutrogena hydro boost foundation in honey
Hydro boost concealer in medium

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(wearing Camouflage Color Corrector &
Hourglass foundation stick)

When I have break outs or dark spots that I want covered, I have to opt for a more heavy duty make up thats going to give me full coverage. I got a facial a few weeks ago that left me looking spotted like a lady bug due to the extractions (ps if you need a good facial gal in NYC, Elm Spa is THE BEST I’m never going anywhere else, she’s so fabulous). I had an event that weekend that I needed to speak at, so I wanted to make sure I could hide the spots until they healed. I tried my thickest foundation and concealer, to no eval – so once again I wandered into Sephora. We tried a few foundations, and landed on hourglass seamless foundation stick in golden. It did a great job of covering the spots, but still could see them through the foundation. To solve this, we added Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Color Corrector in color 3 red/orange to hide any spots!

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Color Corrector
Hourglass seamless foundation stick in golden

FullSizeRender 2(wearing Primer & Boi-ing Concealer)

Shop the foundations:

Whats your go to foundation? Leave a comment and let me know! Can’t wait to read!

Who Run the World? – 2 Blogging Questions Answered

12th May 2017

IMG_9652One day, women will run the world. We’re not there yet, so I’ve dedicated my life to accelerating that process.

Last weekend I had the honor and privilege to speak at Create & Cultivate – a conference focused on inspiring, educating and empowering women in business and entrepreneurship! It was my first time speaking, and I left feeling humbled and inspired, so I wanted to talk about some of what I learned and the lessons I shared.

IMG_9648I’m perpetually passionate about inspiring women and girls to carve their own path, and walk to the beat of their own drum. It’s no secret that things are harder for women (they’re also harder for minorities, people with disabilities and people with diverse backgrounds) and it’s clear now more than ever that we can’t ignore that fact. I’ve always known my path would be longer, windier and probably more up hill than the journey of a white male, but to me that just meant I had to run faster, work harder, and find my own finish line. Instead of trying to compete with men in a “mans world” I created my own; well actually a series of worlds, the latest being a cotton candy colored one called Color Me Courtney. Many women have followed suit, creating their female owned and operating businesses resulting in more Girl Bosses than ever before – and the world is better for it, but we still have a long way to go.

Okay, okay, I’ll step down off my feminism soap box for a second to talk more about the actual conference, and building a business in the blogosphere specific to 2 topics: how to make money and what’s next for the industry. IMG_9645

Dolla Dolla Bills Y’all
“How do you make money as a blogger” something so many newbie bloggers ask me. Let me start by saying if you’re blogging to make money with the intent of making it a career, I don’t necessarily think this is the space for you. I started blogging as a resumé booster to help me step into the corporate fashion world, and as a creative outlet. Others started because they felt alone in college & wanted to express themselves, and some just stumbled upon it because they loved fashion or food or whatever – these are all reasons to blog, but money isn’t. The second you start doing it only to make money, you should reevaluate, because your content will suffer as a result. I’m not saying you can’t make money as a blogger, I make more than I ever thought I would and probably more than I would salary wise if I had stuck to my corporate career even with an MBA in my pocket, but I would still blog (obviously not full-time) even if I didn’t make a dime.

The intention behind the content you create is quite clear in what you produce, but still, girls gotta eat right? If you’re starting out, the easiest way to make money is affiliate marketing. Sign up for Reward Style or Shop Style or any other affiliate marketing program, and use that as a means to see some sort of income. For me, affiliate marketing is just a small part of my pie, mostly because I wear & sell a lot of affordable pieces that result in small commissions. I recently sold out a dress, selling close to 500 units, because of its $25 price tag with 30 cent commission payout, so it didn’t really move the needle. Instead of switching to only expensive pieces, I decided to use that metric to share with other retailers as proof of concept. I was able to go to the brands I wanted to work with and say “hey look, I sold out this dress, here are the numbers to prove it, this is why you want to work with me, and this is why I’m worth X amount of money to you”. That really resonates with brands, because then they know you’re worth your rate.

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Video & Stop Motion Content
One of the questions I get a lot from other bloggers and also got on the panel was about video. Everyone knows that video is the next frontier and its what brands are looking for in terms on content creation. In the next few years, it’s estimated that 80% of the branded content we view will be video related, so naturally it’s all we’re currently talking about. So many girls ask me “should I start doing video” – and if thats the question you’re asking me, the answer is no. You should be passionate about every aspect of your content, especially if you’re looking to explore a new avenue. There’s a difference between being strategic and being relevant, and choosing to follow the money isn’t always a great strategy.

When I decided to dabble in video, I wanted to forge my own path, because thats what I do! Instead of trying to become a youtube beauty guru (I can’t contour to save my life), I focused on what I know best – fun! And thus, stop motion videos were born. I became one of the first to do stop motion videos with magic, whimsy, education and an added element of fashion. I would use it to everything from styling one dress multiple ways to sharing infused water recipes and even cover DIY halloween costumes. These became fun, engaging and unique ways to create this kind of content with a color me twist.

And now, even as some people begin to mimc the magic we’ve made (because it was only a matter of time) I have become one of the clear pioneers here, so although their repetitive efforts are a form of homage and flattery, they aren’t really something I’m threatened by. If you find something you like that someone is doing content creation wise, it’s okay to be inspired by it – but I wouldn’t recommend copying it. I’ve watched content creators make this mistake and find that once you start, it’s hard to stop and even harder reclaim your reputation as an original.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying I won stop morion videos, I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last – but I worked hard to build it as an integral part of my brand, so now as other fashion bloggers try and do the same, I think it’s quite transparent, but maybe that’s just me. What I am saying, is that I think your success as a content creator will always come for originality and hard work, not from impersonation.

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I’ve never been worried about competition, not because I think I’m the best blogger or video creator or dresser, but because I know I’m the best Courtney, and that no one can be a better me than me. I’ve create my brand to evolve around my personality, the positives and the negatives, so there really isn’t ever any competition. If a brand wants to work with me, there is no substitute. It does make me polarizing, either you like me or you don’t but I know that Color Me Courtney isn’t for everyone, and I never intended it to be. Instead, it’s a bright spot on the web where we cover everything from business tips, to fun food, to crazy colors, to body positivity to confidence and everything else in-between. I am my brand, and my brand is the core of my business – so everything I do has to revolve around staying true to it. IMG_9642

Shop the look:

I got a bunch of other questions about blogging, stay tuned because I’ll keep answering them for you in a series of posts!

Mom & Me & NYC – 5 things to do with your mom in the city

10th May 2017

IMG_9831Aren’t moms the best?  IMG_9743 Mine sure is and she’s not materialistic at all so shopping for her for mothers day can be a challenge. I’ve learned that she likes the simple things, her favorite flowers, hanging out with Waffles (my dog) and spending time together in one of her favorite cities – New York! So today I’m sharing 5 five things to do with your mom in NYC.IMG_9715IMG_9787

The Highline –  Since I’m a downtown girl, we visit the high line often but its still fun to take my mom here when she’s in town. The High line is a railroad turned park suspended in the sky – giving you an epic view of the city and a rich history all at once. We’ll often walk the highline for a bit and then eat at Chelsea Market, a spot with various shops and restaurants. IMG_9730

The Met –  It’s no secret that there are a lot of museums in NYC, but my favorite one to visit is the Met. My mom is obsessed with history, art, culture and interior design, so she’s always entertained at the Met! To to mention, they have an amazing rooftop this time of year with one of the best views of the city.

Historic Home Tour – Merchant’s House Museum is the cities only 19th-century family home that has been preserved intact, both inside and out. It once belonged to prosperous hardware merchant Seabury Tredwell and the furnishings, decorative objects, clothing and personal memorabilia on display are all original. We’ve yet to go, but I know this is something my mom would love as we used to tour homes (old and new) all the time growing up. Mount Vernon and Morris-Jumel Mansion are also tours I would love to check out

See the Chrysler Building – Of all the amazing buildings in the city, my mom loves the Chrysler building. I found a few rooftop bar situations that would grant us an amazing view of the building. Thinking of taking her there at sunset next time she’s in town for Sangria (for her not me) and apps (okay, that one’s for me!). Both the Upstairs at the Kimberly and the BAR will give you an awesome view of my moms favorite building.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens – Growing up, we loved visiting the botanical gardens in Arizona, but since living in NYC I’ve yet to check out what Brooklyn has to offer in this department. In the spring, the Brooklyn Botanical gardens looks particularly beautiful, so I would love to take my mom there next time she’s in town. Another option to bring my mom closer to mother nature, is to enjoy a leash free morning in central park with Waffles!

Uber has changed the way we get around in the city. We can do so much more when she’s here because of Uber and the connivence that it provides. That’s why this year, my mom is getting a gift card to Uber and a IOU for a fun activity next time she’s in town – so we can skip the subway and jet around to one of the above five ideas in style.FullSizeRenderIMG_9814

If you’re stuck on what to give you mom, give this a try! I promise she’ll love spending time with you more than anything you can buy at the mall. Gift cards are available for purchase online at Uber.com and amazon or in-store at Best Buy and Walgreens.

Love you mom!
Happy Mothers day :)
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Thanks to Uber for Sponsoring this Post

Coach Bought Kate Spade – but it’s Okay

10th May 2017

FullSizeRender 2Coach just bought kate spade – but don’t freak out, read this instead.

As some of you may know, I had a career working in corporate fashion before Color Me Courtney became my full-time gig. My latest role was producing handbags in product development at Coach. Before that I had various roles working merchandising, production, store operations and on a retail level at a variety of brands – including kate spade. As a result, I now have a unique insight into the industry and specifically on this current situation that I wanted to share – hope you enjoy!

Oh and before I go any further, I wanted to say that I am not speaking as a representative for kate spade or Coach, I’m just sharing my opinions based on research, experience and observation. 

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Breaking News – If you keep up the fashion side of the business world, you probably heard that Coach bought kate spade yesterday for 2.4 billion dollars! If you’re a tried and true ksny fan, you might be upset. Learning that your favorite brand has been bought is a scary thing, you might feel betrayed, unsure of the future or terrified that your go-to shop just disappeared. I’ll be honest, my first reaction was surprise with a bit of panic, so if you felt this way you’re not alone!

It’s no secret that kate spade is one of my favorite brands, I wear their stuff all the time – where you hardly ever see me wearing Coach. I respect both brands immensely, it’s just one is more my style than the other.

Before I tell you why you should not stress over this purchase, I’ll give you a little background on kate spade.

SHOP KATE SPADE
for under $100

The History of kate spade – SO ksny was founded by you guessed it, Kate (Noel Frances Valentine Brosnahan) Spade in 1993 – yep thats her full name. She who set out to design “the perfect handbag”. Since I was 3 at the time, my first memories of kate spade came in middle school, when I remember my mom wanting a bag and later in high school when Charlotte complains of not being able to fit a tampon in her kate spade purse on Sex and the City.

In 1996 the first store opened, and later Neiman Marcus Group purchased 56% of the Kate Spade brand in 1999, they would go on to acquired the remaining 44% in 2006. So before you get scared that kate spade wont be the same without the actual Kate Spade, know that that ship sailed long ago and the brand you know and love know isn’t necessarily run by someone named Kate.

In 2006, Neiman Marcus sold the brand to Liz Claiborne Inc for $124 million, and it was later renamed to Fifth & Pacific. At the time they owned Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand Jeans and Jack Spade as well. This is where I found and fell in love with the brand – I would stalk kate spade online from my Arizona bedroom, and all of our NYC (and San Fran trips) were surrounded around visiting a store (or two). FullSizeRender 6

In 2007, Deborah Lloyd (previously at Banana Republic and Burberry) became president and chief creative officer of kate spade, bringing an added sense of fearless sophistication. Deborah, and later CEO Craig Leavitt (2014), launched clothing and jewelry collections, quickly followed by the introduction of bedding, legwear and fragrance. This more closely resembles the Kate Spade you now know and love … and once again, the creator Kate Spade wasn’t driving the ship.

I started working for Kate Spade at the store level around 2012 while I was in grad school getting my MBA, in a charming San Francisco store. There I made life long friends, including my current bestie Emily who started working for the brand almost 4 years earlier. She really saw the introduction of clothing and early growth of the brand, and had clothes form some of the original collection – since we were both OBSESSED she shared all of these stories with me.

Around this time (2007-2014) the ksny you’re now obsessed with started to take off – and this kate spade was really Deborah’s vision. Deborah Lloyd has a really impressive resume in the fashion space, she’s done some incredible things for brands along the way, but I think she found her home at kate spade. Having met Deborah three times, and low-key cyber stalking her during my ksny days – I can share that she’s poised, graceful, feminine, chic and strong – all things that I see in the evolved kate spade today. Kate herself, however is a little quirky, curious and fun – also great qualities I see in the brand. Deborah really did a fantastic job of taking that whimsical heritage, staying true to Kate and driving the brand into the future to become what we see now.

SHOP CUTE KATE SHOES

Let’s talk about Coach – So although kate spade is a brand that truly will always have my heart, Coach has a piece of it because of our history together. I had the pleasure of working at Coach during a brand transformation, something I’m really very thankful for.

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Brand Transformation – A few years back, Coach really pivoted, changing its product structure, target market, price point, value and total brand identity. It was a really challenging and unique time in the organizations history, and SO COOL that I got to be at the center of it – developing handbags that would ultimately help shift this organizations perception.

Aside from evolving Coach’s own brand, they company never wants to find itself in the financial lull that it did a few years back – so part of thier new brand strategy is to diversify their portfolio. This is crazy smart! No fashion brand is going to be on top all the time, even epic houses like Prada and Gucci go through peaks and valleys (Gucci is totally having a peak right now) – but these brands can survive for a variety of reasons – with diversification being one of the driving factors.

Take LVMH, which owns Celine, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and more along with houses outside of the fashion sector. So Celine has a lull, maybe Givenchy is hot resulting in an equilibrium balance – smart right. Coach is aiming to create something similar as they become a global powerhouse in that affordable luxury and luxury market. To achieve this, step one was to rebrand Coach and step two was to grow and expand.

SHOP COACH FAVS

In 2015 Coach paid $574 million to purchase Stuart Weitzman, at the time I was still working in product development at Coach so I became very interested in the change. We all wondered how would this affect us at a corporate level, and the answer is it kind of didn’t. We got a Stuart Weitzman employee  (yay) and kept our jobs. At the time, we were told that this acquisition would be mutually beneficial, resulting in shared core copentenczies (Coach was outsourcing our shoes, and with SW we could potentially move to make them in house, while SW was struggling in the handbag department that Coach excels in) but companies would be kept seperate. And this rang to be true, the biggest change we saw in house on my level is two higher ups moved over to Stuart Weiztman time including one of the handbag designers resulting in a slight reorganization of teams that kind of had something to do with me me – but to be honest, we reorganized so much internally as a result of our ever changing brand transformation, so this was nothing new at Coach.

I’ve since left Coach, but watched both brands from afar to see if this has continued to be true, and it has – both brands operate as diverse organizations with supplemental income streams. Most importantly Stuart Weitzman hasn’t changed much at all.

So what does this mean for kate spade? – I’m not sure if the plan for kate spade is different than the Stuart Weitzman one, since I left over a year ago to blog full time but Coach has stated that intend for kate spade to maintain their brand identity.

I will share this, when I worked at Coach although we would review sales numbers of Kate Spade, the merchandizing teams would continually claim that kate spade wasn’t a competitor – they didn’t see them that way because they believe they have different customers. And hey, I see that – I shop at kate spade monthly and love 90% of the things the make, I shop at Coach maybe quarterly and love 10% of the things the make. Most bloggers and celebrities that Coach hires don’t wear any ksny, and vise versa – and thats okay, they’re different brands.

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So many people think brands merge when they’re bought and that is usually never the case. If I had to guess, ksny will continue to operate as a seperate organization, with some shared competencies. Having worked for both brands, I can share that they both operate differently with similar yet unique structures – and I don’t see any reason for them to merge.

One Change we might see has to do with focus. Coach is a deeply rooted leather house founded in 1941 with some of the highest quality standards in the industry. Although kate spade also excels at creating leather products, they were founded as a nylon brand in the 90’s and therefore have a different history and understanding. As a result, if anything we might see a slight increase or change in leather standards at kate spade, but I doubt the aesthetic will change much.

So if you feel like you lost your best friend in kate spade, don’t stress – she’s not going anywhere I firmly believe this brand (and the magic associated wit it) is here to stay.

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SHOP THE LOOK

S/o to my friend Brittani Hon, she posted that she was sad about this purchase on Facebook, and ultimately inspired this post.