The life of Lilian and Miles Cahn reads as a success story. It exudes the realization of the American Dream, transcending generations and borders.
In 1933, Lillian Lenovitz, born and raised in Satorauljaujhely, in present day Hungary, immigrated to the United States to join her family. A consistent honor student, she moved to Manhattan to study acting, and later met Miles Cahn, a veteran of the Second World War. In the 1960s, after realizing that the business of working for other people was no longer fitting them, they bought the small family-run workshop in New York City where they used to work that produced wallets wholesale. They renamed the company Coach Leatherware.
The original concept was simple—producing handbags from a special leather, which was then used to make baseball gloves. They were intended to be casual, not dressy but sturdy, and something one would wear for all seasons. In fact, one of their early creations was inspired from Lilian’s childhood. The pioneering large tote design was intended to be a shopping bag but out of leather. It was in reminiscent of her family’s struggle to survive the Depression, when together with her siblings they would use shopping bags to deliver the noodles their mother would make.
Today, Coach continues to produce shopping totes and other handbags that have become ubiquitous accessories in the wardrobe of well-heeled women globally. The intricate integration of the dual roles of fashion and function in the handbags have become the company’s relevant brand value, which consequently increases patronization from loyal customers, myself included. After all, everything they produce is an emblem of timeless beauty.