Dooney & Bourke started in 1975 when Peter Dooney and Frederic Bourke launched their namesake in South Norwalk, Connecticut. The duo started off with two introductory products: surcingle belts, which were popular due to their unique vibrant colors and stripes, and classic suspenders.
In 1981, Dooney & Bourke branched out into the handbag business with the release of the Tack Case and the Equestrian Bag, both made from bridle leather. Along with their original distributors such as Nordstrom, Brooks Brothers, and Saks Fifth Avenue, they opened The Company Store in Norwalk, Connecticut which sold among other things Dooney & Bourke Merchandise. In 1983, with the development of their famous All-Weather Leather (AWL) bag, the first AWL handbag collection was released featuring a duck logo with a russet leather trim. A new outlet was opened on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California in 2003. In 2006 and 2007, the "Emma Bag," a small oval sized bag named after Emma Roberts, was created. In 2007, Hayden Panettiere, an actress on the NBC television series Heroes, designed a new bag for Dooney & Bourke