Kate Spade was born Katherine Noel Brosnahan on December 24, 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1985, after earning a degree in journalism, she went to work for Mademoiselle magazine in New York City. She would spend five years at Mademoiselle, eventually becoming a senior fashion editor and head of accessories, before leaving in 1991 to put her creative energy toward designing her own line.
She launched her own brand of handbags in 1993. The company grew to include several retail outlets as well as selling its products through high-end stores. Kate Spade now offers products in a range of categories. While she sold the business to the Neiman Marcus Group in 1999, she has remained active within the brand.