Celebrators of National Handbag Day got quite a scare this week.
Tuesday’s unofficial holiday was over by the time luxury brand Coach announced on Wednesday that it is changing its corporate name. The move is designed to better include the two other brands Coach owns: Stuart Weitzman and Kate Spade.
Consumer outrage quickly followed the announcement, but it died down a bit after shoppers realized they could still buy Coach bags — only the corporate name was changing.
Three years ago, Coach announced its intention to grow beyond the Coach brand, acquiring Stuart Weitzman, an upscale shoe brand, in 2015 and Kate Spade & Co., a maker of handbags, apparel, shoes and accessories, over the summer.
Coach has been Coach since 1941, when it began as a family-run workshop in Manhattan with handmade wallets and billfolds. The company announced three years ago that it would reinvent itself — evolving from a “monobrand specialty retailer to a true house of emotional, desirable brands.”
The Wall Street Journal reports:
“Coach bags, accessories and stores will continue to carry the brand name. The change to the parent company’s name is part of a strategy by Coach Inc. Chief Executive Victor Luis, who has set out to create an American luxury conglomerate modeled after LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE and Kering SA, home to Gucci, Balenciaga and other European designer brands.”
Luis said in a statement that the name change will take effect Oct. 31.
“We searched for a name to reflect these values while also expressing the cultural diversity of our people and our brands for today and tomorrow. In Tapestry, we found a name that speaks to creativity, craftsmanship, authenticity and inclusivity on a shared platform and values. As such, we believe that Tapestry can grow with our portfolio and with our current brands as they extend into new categories and markets.”
Business network CNBC reports the name change was met with negative reactions:
For some, the new name reminded them of the 1971 Carole King classic that now shares a name with the fashion house. For others, the name sounded “musty” or “old.” A spokeswoman for King declined to comment.
“When I think of Tapestry the first thing that comes to mind is my college dorm room, where I hung tapestries,” said Ariana Moshref, a 23-year-old in San Francisco.
“I feel so strongly against this — who can I call about it?” said Kathleen O’Leary, 35, in New York.
O’Leary was soothed to know the new name was just for the corporate parent and not the Coach brand itself. Still, she said the new name “annoys” her.
The name change didn’t seem to wow investors either; shares of the company declined almost 3 percent to close Wednesday at $38.87.
Coach Inc. will also change its ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange from “COH” to “TPR.”