From Supermodel to Spokesperson to SuperPreneur!
By Nissa Larsen | Apr. 7, 2014 | SBO Editor
Kathy Ireland first entered the worldwide spotlight as a supermodel in the 1980’s. In 1993, she founded a brand marketing company called Kathy Ireland Worldwide (kiWW) leading her to a partnership with Kmart designing her own clothing line. Since then kiWW has grown exponentially offering creative solutions with products for the home, office, baby needs, weddings, jewelry, and more. Kathy is also known for her public speaking engagements supporting many charitable organizations close to her heart such as Toys For Tots, Make-a-Wish, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Recently she has partnered with Worldwise, a leading consumer pet products company, to develop a line of solution based home décor for pets that are both friendly and unique to the market. Her partnership with Worldwise is a combined interest in both pet wellness and pet advocacy that she hopes will bring more attention to pet adoption. kiWW has revenues topping $2 billion and is recognized as one of the country’s most successful marketing and design firms.
Q: What first got you interested in the world of brand marketing? Fashion is one of my passions. We find fashion and great design in every area of our lives. Fashion without commerce, is still an art form, however. Andy Warhol advised designers to be marketers. That was inspiring.
KATHY’S PASSION FOR HER PETS
Kathy Ireland is committed to making the world a better place for pet owners and their beloved four-legged friends.
Join Kathy on Facebook:www.facebook.com/kathyirelandWorldwide.
Follow Kathy on Twitter:www.twitter.com/kathyireland
Q: What is the single most important piece of advice you could offer to someone looking to market their own brand? Believe. It’s not how often you get knocked down, that matters, it’s how often we get back up.
Q: Have there been any obstacles that have challenged you and the building of kiWW? Of course. People saying no. People saying you’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. It’s never been done. Love your product, but who needs you? Everyday we fight battles. There are wonderful people in the world. There are people who enjoy attacking others. We cannot allow other human beings to define us. Some people try to diminish others…don’t let anyone put you in a box. Don’t let your circumstances, your age, the way you look or anything else, keep you from living your dream.
Q: Why is pet adoption so important to you?We are committed, because we believe in making the world a better place. There are needless deaths every year of animals, who could easily become pets and live a beautiful life with the families who love them. Our partnership between Worldwise and kiWW has evolved powerfully and naturally. Our shared interest in pet wellness is also important, and led our team to become passionate pet advocates. We’re working together to raise awareness of the great benefits of pet adoption.
Q: What are your design inspirations? I find inspiration everywhere! Travel around the globe is the foundation of our Style Guides™. We are greatly influenced by our brand aesthetic. We have the ability, with over 45 partners, to design innovative, fashion forward, solution based designs that are chic to casual. Our four promises are Fashion, Quality, Value and Safety™.
Q: What sets your pet products apart from others on the market? kathy ireland Loved Ones™ is inspired by our own beloved pets. We all love to bring comfort and luxury to our pets. We have wonderful, intricate design offerings such as prints and patterns, with accent leather trim lining for strong structure. Our construction is very important. Our offerings are longer lasting; better able to sustain family playtime, as well as, extra wear and tear.
Q: Who most influences your designs? I’ve been blessed with extraordinary design mentors. My first design mentor was my Mom. My Dad gave me a great work ethic. Elizabeth Taylor taught me to be bold in life and in design. I love her and I miss her.
Q: With so many business endeavors, what do you think has been your greatest accomplishment? Getting back up when people knocked us to the ground. Honoring my priorities of faith, family and being of service to others through our work.
Q: You are a spokesperson for many causes. What is it that keeps you so motivated to speak out? Thank you. I’m not a spokesperson for anything. I’m an advocate and a voice…each of us can make a difference. That difference is motivating.
Q: Where do you see kiWW headed in the future? We don’t have limits. We’re still a baby brand.
Q: What helps you unwind from your busy schedule? Spending time with our family. Taking my dogs Sparky, Gracie & Delilah for a day at the beach. Surfing, hiking, biking.
Q: If you could be any animal, what would it be and why? A Kangaroo! Kangaroo moms are never far from their babies. •
Nissa Larsen is a Contributing Editor. Follow Nissa on twitter @nisnice