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Kate Spade: 'Being truthful pays off in business'

Kate Spade: 'Being truthful pays off in business'

Kate Spade risked her first collection at Barneys being a disaster by pulling all the bags off of the shelf so she could fix a problem.

The American handbag designer launched her eponymous label in 1993, and it’s since become a fashionista’s favourite.

After landing a contract to supply bags to U.S. department store Barneys New York, Kate nearly faced a career low when some of her designs weren’t up to scratch.

“Don’t be afraid to be transparent,” she advised Cosmopolitan U.K. readers when sharing her life rules. “Your reputation is everything and it should be built on truthfulness. Years ago, when I first delivered bags to Barneys, a friend phoned and said, ‘Don’t panic, but the lining is falling out of the inside of the bag’.

“I called the Barneys buyer who said, ‘let’s just wait and see if we get returns’. But to me, waiting for people to buy a product that wasn’t perfect and hoping they didn’t notice felt deceitful – I marched into the store, took them all off the shelves and worked overtime to fix it.”

The move paid off and since then the partnership has been a strong one, with Kate revealing Barneys is one of her biggest clients.

Another of Kate’s rules is to “say yes, smile, and figure it out later”. She learnt how to be resourceful while working at Mademoiselle magazine as a fashion assistant, after she was asked to do something she had no idea how to do.

“When I said, ‘I’m new – how do I do that?’ (my editor) replied, ‘Don’t ask me, figure it out on your own’,” she recalled. “So I soon learnt it’s OK to ask for help, but you have to be resourceful - and then work late until everything is perfect.”

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