KATHY IRELAND

Chairman, chief executive officer, and chief designer of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, former supermodel

ALAMY; Contour/Getty Images; GETTY IMAGES

EDUCATION

San Marcos High School, Santa Barbara, Calif., class of 1981

“I finished high school by the skin of my teeth. But I look at failure as education, and in that respect I’m very well educated.”

WORK EXPERIENCE

1967

Door-to-door salesgirl of painted stones

“I was 4 years old, and I sold rocks I painted from my wagon. It was before mace, so people used them as self-defense.”

1974

Delivery girl, the Santa Barbara News Press

1980

Model, Elite Modeling Agency

“I grew up on the beach. We didn’t wear shoes in the summertime, and I learned really quickly you can’t do that in New York City.”

1984

First of 13 straight Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue appearances

“After graduation my classmates went to Disneyland, and I went to Rome and started modeling from there.”

“I was exposed to pervs for the first time. I’m not a violent person, but I slugged a photographer once. I walked off a few jobs.”

“I learned a lot by watching Jule Campbell, the editor of the swimsuit issue, navigate a real male-dominated business.”

1985

Microbrewer, SLO Brewing

“This was in the ’80s, when microbreweries were just coming on the scene. I learned that I didn’t have a passion for beer.”

1988

Cast in the B-movie Alien From L.A.

“It was based on Journey to the Center of the Earth, and I play Wanda. My mom cries every time she sees it. Other people cry, but for different reasons.”

Plays a football kicker in the movie Necessary Roughness

1992

Founder and CEO, Kathy Ireland Worldwide

1999

Nebraska Furniture Mart, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, becomes the first retailer to offer KIWW’s home designs

Warren Buffett invited me to compete with him in his newspaper toss contest for the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting. He and I both had paper routes, so we often share paper route stories.”

“We started our brand with a pair of socks. It was a really small budget, and I was an aging, pregnant model working at my kitchen table.”

Elizabeth Taylor was a mentor. She was so intentional with everything; she caused me to look at life and business with a new set of eyes.”

2012

KIWW is valued at more than $2 billion

Co-hosts the Oscars red carpet telecast on ABC

“We design and market everything from apparel to jewelry, flooring, furniture, lighting, candles, children’s items, and baby items. And [we’re in] publishing.”

LIFE LESSONS

1. “If the customer expects a paper on the driveway, put it on the front porch.” 2. “Your business needs to be your passion.” 3. “Don’t let them see you cry.”

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