Andrew Spade is a fashion designer who co-founded Kate Spade and Jack Spade. Born in Birmingham, Michigan, he attended Arizona State University, where he met fellow future-fashion designer Katherine Brosnahan. Together, they launched the handbag design company Kate Spade in 1993. The couple married the next year. They created the design company Jack Spade in 1996 to fill the perceived market void for stylish and practical men's accessories, and the company officially launched in 1999. In February of 2009, Andy openend a new store on Great Jones Street, in Manhattan, called Partners & Spade. He resides in New York City.
Andrew Spade: Oh yeah. I believe in the rule that, you know, you can be anything you wanna be. And that if you follow . . . I’ve always believed that everyone has a talent--everyone I know. And I was not very good in school. I was . . . I realized later that I had a focus problem which a lot of people have, which they don’t know at the time. But I remember thinking to myslef, "but I have this other side to me." And my younger brother’s the same way – that if I really go after that, then I don’t have to worry about being good at all the other things. And it was something I realized when my brother went into comedy. He couldn’t organize his checkbook. I mean, and a lot of people will get stumped by that and keep trying to make themselves better at the things that they’re not naturally inclined to do. And we said, “I’m not going to be able to do this.” So I moved to New York. “I won’t be able to manage my checkbook. I’m not making enough money to do it. I’ll live on pizza and beer. But I’m gonna go for doing the best with the talent that I have, which is solving ideas in advertising.” And everything else was a mess. But as I built that, the other things took care of themselves. And if I tried to spend all of my mind – or a percentage of my mind – and put it into, “Oh let me see if I can figure out this math problem. Figure out if I can solve the way that, you know, I can break down my budget and do X and Y,” it just would be a waste of an opportunity. The cost would be too high. I had to just do what I did. My younger brother did that with comedy. He said, “Look. I’m not gonna be an accountant. And I’m not gonna be, you know, a C-rated real estate guy. I’m not gonna be a bad . . .” I mean we all could have been “mediocre” at a lot of things. But I think we said, “But I’m really inclined to do this. If I could find a way to do this, I could be very good at this.” And I think a lot of people get . . . I don’t think they get to do what they want to do because they don’t . . . they can’t figure out a way to follow it. Maybe they’re not encouraged. My mother encouraged us to do that, to go with what we really felt . . . we felt passionate about and what we could do naturally. And that’s easy. Your life is . . . you don’t even feel like it’s work. You’re just doing what you do naturally rather than trying to, like, go to law school. Which is fine. It’s just I couldn’t spend the time in the books. But that’s it.
Recorded on: 7/12/07