Kathy Ireland might be a former model and she might have been featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for 13 consecutive years, but nowadays the stunning 48-year-old makes the most headlines for her $350 million fortune and furniture empire.
Kathy Ireland might be a former model and she might have been featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for 13 consecutive years; but what the stunning 48-year-old makes the most headlines for is her $350 million fortune.
That's right. Kathy Ireland has an estimated net worth of $350 million, according to a recent profile by Forbes' Dorothy Pomerantz. Ireland is the majority owner of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, which sells more than 15,000 products and $2 billion at retail. Celebrity Net Worth has listed her as the richest supermodel in the world, beating out the likes of Gisele (who has a lingerie collection and a flip-flop line) and Cindy Crawford (who has her own skincare line).
The mother of three is dedicated to helping other busy moms. That is why she does not sell clothing anymore as much as desks, beds, ottomans and bookcases. Ireland rakes in more money each year than the Queen of Homemaking, Martha Stewart. Ireland sold $2 billion at retail last year, according to Forbes, compared to Stewart's paltry $900 million.
Kathy Ireland is a renaissance woman - beautiful, savvy and exceptionally down-to-earth.
She was discovered in 1980 at the tender age of 16. In 1989 she hit the cover of Sports Illustrated and instantly became a sensation. In 1993, Ireland was approached by John Moretz, a marketer who eventually bought Gold Socks, who proposed starting her own sock line. Ireland agreed to the use of her name on the socks, which sold at K-Mart, and they flew off the shelves.
"She's the girl next door who happens to be beautiful," Moretz told Forbes. "That forms an emotional bond with the consumer."
"I wanted to make it clear to them that I didn't want to just put my name on it," said Ireland. "An endorsement wasn't interesting to me." So Ireland offered up her name along with her contribution of design and promotion. She made royalties off every pair sold.
In 1998, Kathy Ireland decided to expand into the furniture business after Warren Buffet told her that fashion is fleeting but furniture remains unchanged.
So the former supermodel dedicated herself to a brand founded on "finding solutions for families, especially busy moms." This is the company's motto to this day.
Kathy Ireland is a modern marvel. Though she might seem like one of many beautiful celebrities who delve into branding to make any extra buck, she does not just slap her name onto everything but the kitchen sink.
No. This former Sports Illustrated cover girl actually cares about her customers and relates to them.
"It's heroic for a busy mom to go to a store," said Ireland. "If she goes to a retailer and she has a bad experience she's mad and rightly so."
She is modest about her multimillion-dollar company and mogul status.
"We have a long way to go," she said.
Click here to read Kathy Ireland's full profile in Forbes.
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