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Coach Handbags was founded in 1941, as a family-run workshop in a loft on 34th Street in Manhattan, with six leather workers who made wallets and billfolds by hand.

In 1946, Miles Cahn and his wife Lillian joined the company.Miles and Lillian Cahn were owners of a leather handbag manufacturing business, and were knowledgeable about leatherworks and business.

By 1950, Cahn had taken over the business. During the early years, Cahn noticed the distinctive properties and qualities of the leather used to make baseball gloves. With wear and use, the leather in a glove became softer and suppler. Attempting to mimic this process, Cahn created a way of processing the leather to make it stronger, softer, and more flexible, along with being deeper-toned in color, since the leather absorbed the dye very well.

Lillian Cahn suggested to Miles that the company supplement the factory’s men’s accessories business by adding women’s leather handbags. The “sturdy cowhide bags were an immediate hit.”