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Coach Craftsmanship

Coach is famous for its amazing and unique craftsmanship – in leather goods. Wallets, clothing, shoes, luggage, these are all expected. But fragrances? There is craftsmanship involved there too, and Coach knows how to find people who are equal to the task of finding the right scents to compliment the already divine scent of leather.

From Humble Leatherworkers…

Coach had a small beginning in 1941 in a small Manhattan family workshop. There were only six people working there at the time, and they called themselves the Gail Manufacturing Company. These six had leatherworkers in their families stretching back generations, so they knew just how to make leather goods people would want.

In 1946, the Gail Manufacturing Company hired Miles and Lillian Cahn. The Cahns also had skills in leatherworking, but they had something more – heads for business that would take this little New York company farther than they’d ever imagined.

By 1950, Miles Cahn was head of the company. They were doing very good business selling the small leather goods they’d been manufacturing by hand, but Cahn had experience at making women’s handbags, so he expanded the company produce those, as well. He established the Gail Leather Products, Inc. name in 1961. These handbags filled a need – they were not nearly as expensive as the high-end handbags so many women wanted, but they were much better quality than the cheap knockoffs most women were forced to buy. Cahn made sure they only used the best possible materials, and used his expertise to develop methods to keep the leather soft yet strong. To help with design, he brought in designer Bonnie Cashin in 1962.

Cashin brought a whole new dimension to the handbags produced by the company, adding color, pockets, and other innovative features. Soon, they were producing goods that had nothing to do with leather, like keychains and pens. Shoes became a Gail product under Cashin’s direction, and Gail Products Inc. became Coach Products, Inc.

The Coach name spread rapidly after that. No longer confined to New York, they began to sell their products via mail order. Department stores started to pick up Coach wares. Coach entered partnerships with various specialty stores and vendors to sell their crafts.

Coach passed into the hands of food giant Sara Lee in 1985. The new owners aggressively expanded Coach’s reach, opening specialized Coach stores outside the New York area, and marketing to department stores. Coach has officially become a nationwide brand.

In 2000, Coach became a publicly traded company, no longer in the hands of Sara Lee. There are over 500 Coach stores across North America today, and a subsidiary company in

Japan, called Coach Japan. Even if there is no Coach store nearby, there is certainly a department store selling Coach products in the vicinity. They have truly come a long way from six people making leather products by hand in Manhattan.

Finely Crafted Fragrances

When they decided to craft fragrances, Coach went to one of the most respected names in the business: Estee Lauder. Together, they launched the self-named fragrance, Coach, in 2007. The president of Coach did not want to just have a perfume with the company name stamped on it. He wanted it to be something different. The perfume developed as a result has a classic floral-fruity opening of lily, violet leaves, guava, and mandarin, but the floral essences of the heart (mimosa, genet, and jasmine) are laced with a touch of honey. The smooth and sweet base includes woody tones, amber, iris, and vanilla.

The fragrance Poppy, launched in 2010, is unique as well. It begins with mandarin, freesia buds, and fresh cucumber, moving into a sweetly floral heart of gardenia, crème brulee, pink water lily, jasmine, and red candied rose petals. The base is a playfully sultry mix of vanilla, cedar wood, marshmallow, and sandalwood. This is certainly a fragrance of its very own.

Poppy Flower is the sequel to Poppy, with more romantic fruity and floral notes than the original. There are vague citrus notes in the opening, surrounded by black currant, litchi, and wet ivy. A touch of sweetness remains in the heart in the form of sugared raspberries, which is balanced by floral essences of water lily, peony, rose, and jasmine. The dry down notes are sandalwood, amber wood, musk, and apricot skin.

Much More Than Leather

Coach has one thing in common with those six craftspeople who worked so hard in Manhattan decades ago – a commitment to quality goods, no matter what those goods are. Their gifts and accessories, from footwear to watches to scarves to jewelry to fragrances are all of the highest caliber, no matter which of the 500 Coach stores in the world one might care to visit.

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