Ever since Bonnie Cashin revolutionized the handbag design, Coach, Inc., has been a hallmark of quality, a leader in style, and a status symbol unto itself. Prior to 1961, Coach bags were already sturdy, durable, and practical, employing the same leather processing that gave baseball gloves their suppleness and rich, deep color. This new style, spearheaded by Cashin, was an immediate success, and Coach, Inc., began the journey that would make them a household name in fashion and style.
As the word spread, and more and more people began asking their friends, “Where did you get that bag?” the Coach factory stepped up to meet this new level of customer demand. With the hiring of Cashin, and the rebranding of the Coach design, the company realized a success that the original founders had never thought possible. The world had begun to see Coach as a leader in fashion and a prime example of new American style.
Seeking to cement their image in the eye of the public while simultaneously increasing market profusion, Coach diversified their stores into Coach flagship stores for full priced merchandise (also known as boutiques), and Coach outlet stores, where top quality, brand name Coach products are sold at deeply discounted prices.
So what is the difference? The selection of merchandise in Coach outlet stores can often differ dramatically from selections in flagship stores or boutiques. Where many outlet stores sell off season, irregular, or discontinued merchandise from their usual product lines, Coach actually manufactures separate lines for its factory stores. So while shoppers might not be able to find that exact model of bag they saw over the shoulder of their favorite celebrity, they can still find official Coach products at often radically discounted prices. In fact, due to the sharp delineation of product lines, some faithful customers of Coach outlet stores enjoy knowing that their Coach bag is unique from the flagship line, helping them to stand out among owners of an already standout product.