The Coach Collector
Jamie M Shire
The Coach Collector
Everyone has a collection of something, whether they realize it or not. Many people casually collect items as they live their daily lives, picking up a series of this or that as they happen across them. Some will spend considerable amounts of time and money scouring the world for specific pieces they must have in their collection. A few of us have dismissed the idea of collecting until a friend opens up a kitchen cabinet and announces “WOW, that’s quite a collection of coffee cups you have there!” At this point, one of two things usually happens. Either 10 coffee cups immediately get thrown away, or ...view middle of the document...
Using the new, high quality cowhide to craft their items with, Coach quickly became recognized as a leader in high end leather products. During the 1960’s, Coach partnered with Bonnie Cashin, a well-known fashion designer of the era. Cashin’s work not only revolutionized the design of the existing product line, but she also introduced many additional items for Coach such as shoes, eyewear, pens, and key fobs. Her work brought the company out of a niche market and introduced Coach to the mainstream. Business continued to stay strong throughout the 1970’s and ‘80’s with mail order, specialty stores, and partnerships with major department stores feeding consumer demand. Soon, though, Coach was faced with a dilemma. Supply was not keeping up with the public’s desire for their high quality products. Coach made the decision to restrict sales to only hand selected vendors, rather than expand availability by cutting costs in production in order to create more products faster. This move not only cemented Coach’s standing as a producer of high quality lines, but also created the future collectability of their products. Today Coach retains its prominent standing as a producer of the fine leather handbags and wallets. In addition, they offer an extensive array of women’s and men’s products such as luggage, watches, fragrances, business accessories, and even pet products.
Now that you know a little more about Coach, let me help you begin your own collection. Collections can begin in various ways and for many different reasons. My husband, for instance, collects vintage cameras and film projectors. He considers each piece he owns a work of art, which I assumed was the reason he began acquiring them many years ago. I learned, though, that the reason he initially began collecting them runs deeper than I imagined. His grandparents passed away when he was rather young, depriving him of that special relationship. What he did have, however, was a rich narrative of their lives through an extensive amount of photographs and 8mm films. Years of watching home movies of African safaris, weddings, graduations, and simple life moments helped him form a relationship with his grandparents by seeing how they lived. These experiences also sparked an interest in how they chronicled their life, the tools that they used. Thus, a lifelong interest was born in the cameras and projectors of their era.
My initial and continued interest in Coach came from a deep family connection as well. My mother and I have always been very close, and like many mothers and daughters, we have experienced differing opinions about many things in life. One of the things we share a passion for and we know will always provide lighthearted bonding time, though, is shopping for our Coach. My mother introduced me to the company so long ago when I was a very young 20. I had just received my first credit card and it was searing a hole in my pocket. I needed to hand that piece...