Karen and Lonnie Kane marry in September and launch Karen Kane out of their Studio City Garage in December.
Karen Kane’s first collection is shipped – Spring 1980 consisted of 15 pieces of coordinated separates. First month sales totaled just $1,200 and things looked bleak.
One of Karen’s early silk-screen designs caught on in stores and sales improved drastically. After just one year in business, the company reaches $1 million in sales. Karen and Lonnie would never look at a zebra the same again.
After adding a few sweaters to her line, Karen decides to make their addition permanent and adds a sweater division to Karen Kane. They have remained a staple of each season’s collection since.
Karen and Lonnie give birth to their first son, Michael. Concerned about balancing their business life and their family life, they decide to combine both by bringing him to work each day. While it was an unconventional idea in the start, Michael would continue going to the factory each day after school until the age of 16. (He still goes there everyday – today, he’s the company’s Director of Marketing).
For the first ten years of business, Karen designed 5 seasonal collections a year – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Cruise/Pre-Spring. To streamline the seasons, she altered the company’s production schedule to result in the calendar you see today – 4 seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Holiday.
In response to growing sales, Karen Kane opens an official corporate showroom in New York City. It is still located in the same space today, in the building just below Times Square.
Lonnie and Karen’s second son, Robert, is born. Driven by the desire to simplify her life (and her closet), Karen launches “Lifestyle” – a collection of simple clothing for women with complicated lives. A small division at its start, Lifestyle makes up the majority of the Karen Kane items you see in stores today.
Karen Kane moves into its new corporate headquarters in Vernon, just south of downtown Los Angeles. This facility includes 130,000 square feet of space to house the company’s design, screen printing, research, pattern making, cutting, shipping, production, and customer service departments. In the years following Karen Kane’s move to Vernon, the city would earn the nickname “the capital of denim” and become one of the most important centers of clothing manufacturing in the United States.
Karen is honored by the Fashion Industry Guild as a nominee for “California Designer of the Year.”
Karen Kane opens its first outlet store in Camarillo, California. It would be the first of several that are now open across Southern California and Arizona.
After receiving many requests from some of her customers, Karen is inspired to launch “Karen Kane Women’s” – a division for women with fuller figures.
Lonnie is honored by Apparel Magazine when he gets selected as their “CEO of the Year.”
Karen launches “Karen by Karen Kane” – a collection of casual knits designed to complement Lifestyle for women looking for more relaxed, comfortable fits.
Karen is honored at the Dallas Fashion Awards when she wins the award for “Best Modern Wear Line”.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, KarenKane.com re-launches as an online lifestyle & shopping destination, allowing customers all over the world the opportunity to experience Karen Kane.
For the first time in its history, Karen Kane is featured on the cover of Women’s Wear Daily, the authoritative voice of the fashion industry.
With a long history of manufacturing clothing domestically, Karen Kane is invited to attend the White House and join an exclusive group of business leaders for President Obama’s forum on “Insourcing American Jobs”.
Karen partnered with her alma mater, The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, by challenging the school's Advanced Design students to create the "perfect" little black dress. The winning students' dresses premiered on the runway at FIDM's Debut Gala before being sold at department stores nationwide.
Karen Kane welcomed a new, modern look for its in-store shops at major department store locations. The first stores opened in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Charlotte, and Dallas; future locations are planned nationwide.
Karen Kane launches her first-ever jewelry and hat collections. They’ll arrive in stores for Spring 2015.