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Kathy Ireland on Building a Multibillion Brand Under the Radar

TUCSON, Ariz. — Kathy Ireland pivoted from fashion model to selling socks in a move that earned criticism from some, but she’s having the last laugh as sole owner of a $2 billion business.
The chair, chief executive officer and chief designer of Kathy Ireland Worldwide capped the University of Arizona’s Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing’s annual conference Friday with a talk on how she grew her company into the 26-year-old behemoth that includes apparel, accessories, home, pet products and FinTech. There’s also interest in entertainment. But it all started with a commodity product she was asked to help sell.
“I was an aging, pregnant model at my kitchen table and, to tell you the truth, I was offered the opportunity to model this pair of socks,” Ireland said of the business’ start. “We didn’t even know if they were going to use my face but it was a job and it was a time when not a lot of job offers were coming my way…so we started with a pair of socks. Some said it was counterintuitive. Some said it was stupid.…We wanted to build a real brand. Something that was not dependent on any little smidgen of celebrity I might

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Via:: https://wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/kathy-ireland-on-building-a-multi-billion-brand-under-the-radar-global-retailing-conference-2019-1203100210/