The Coach brand was founded as a family business in 1941. Working out of a workshop in Manhattan, the company's six original employees made billfolds and wallets by hand. In 1946, New York businessman Miles Cahn joined the company and helped establish Coach as a recognizable brand. Cahn and his wife Lillian bought out the brand's original owners in 1961 and started to introduce new manufacturing processes that would make Coach's leather stronger, softer, and more flexible. Using this new technique, the company expanded beyond wallets and became known for its luxurious handbags.
The company was acquired by the Sara Lee Corporation in 1985, and it began to diversify its product line. In an effort to garner a reputation for more than just purses, Coach started making other accessories for both men and women. It wasn't until 1992, however, that the brand launched its first apparel collections. Sara Lee decided to spin off Coach into its own company at the turn of the century, and Coach, Inc. had its IPO in the year 2000. Since going public, the brand has continued to grow and thrive in several different categories. Coach currently operates more than 1,000 retail stores around the world, and has essentially defined the "accessible luxury" category for consumers on five continents.
All of the women's apparel made by Coach is runway-inspired, and the brand's ready-to-wear collection appeals to an array of different tastes. Jackets range from functional and attractive trenches and leather jackets to statement pieces like fluff jackets and patterned coats. The brand's tops also include both traditional and quirky options. Blouses, sweaters, and cardigans are relatively straightforward, but Coach also makes graphic tees that feature bizarre characters created by animator and artist Gary Baseman. Dresses and skirts are made from materials like denim, lace, and leather, and they are designed to pop out with their bright colors and bold prints.
Beyond regular apparel, Coach has always been best known for its wide range of accessories. You'll find scarves and shawls that sport unique designs, as well as several options that display the signature Coach logo. Shoes are available in many different styles, including pumps, heels, flats, sandals, sneakers, boots, and booties. Even though Coach has successfully diversified its options over the last few decades, handbags, totes, wristlets, and wallets continue to be among the brand's top sellers, and they are world-renowned for their exceptional quality of craftsmanship. Other popular accessories include watches, sunglasses, jewelry, notebooks, key rings, and more.
Coach has positioned itself in a unique way--especially when compared to other popular luxury brands. Many of its stores are located in relatively modest markets across the country that other similar brands have no interest in trying to infiltrate. Coach has truly earned the moniker "accessible luxury" because it offers class without being pretentious. The selection of apparel from Coach is relatively limited. Most options are very exorbitantly priced, and many of them might be a little too trendy for the average consumer. Other categories, however, are more relatable. Coach shoes, for example, are designed to be stylish and comfortable, even if they are pricey. Of course, handbags and other leather accessories have been at the heart of Coach's product line for almost 75 years, and the brand has gotten the construction of these pieces down to a science. On the whole, we give Coach 4.5 stars out of 5.