‘People Are Brands’: What Happens When a Namesake Leaves a Company

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Susan Scafidi was quoted in a CBS News article about companies named after their founders and how that affects brand identity.

Soon after fans of Kate Spade learned that the designer had died in an apparent suicide on Tuesday, stunned customers remembered the handbags they purchased after their first big promotion, or the linens they were given for their first home, or the onesies in which they dressed their babies.

Many wondered how the Kate Spade label would fare without Kate Spade.

“Any time there is a transition, whether planned or unplanned, it’s an invitation for customers and investors to consider whether the brand is still the real thing, whether it’s still got it,” said Susan Scafidi, founder of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School. “Having the name on the label makes it that much more of an open question and that much more of a risk.”

“When the namesake leaves the company, she also leaves behind her name, and … that is at best confusing and at worst quite painful.” – Susan Scafidi, founder of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School.

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This article was also published in the New York Times.

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