Kathy Ireland, Founder, CEO and Chief Designer of kathy ireland Worldwide®, interviewed by Moira Forbes, President & Publisher of ForbesWoman
Treating people with fairness and integrity is a top priority for Kathy Ireland, Founder, CEO and Chief Designer of kathy ireland Worldwide®, who believes in “people over profits.”
“My dad worked in labor relations,” Ireland said. “So how people are treated has always been at the forefront of my mind.”
This philosophy is her company’s approach to everything: “What I fear the most — what keeps me up at night — is the ‘hows.’ How are things being done that I can’t see?” She is dedicated to ensuring that the company’s more than 15,000 products are produced with integrity at every step.
That isn’t easy. Early on, this philosophy meant they grew very slowly. They chose vendors with excruciating care, even having each link in the supply chain sign a human rights agreement. Later, she discovered that being a larger company means more leverage to make real change.
Even as the business expands into new lifestyle markets, integrity remains the cornerstone of Ireland’s brand — a brand built on trust and consistency.
Founder, CEO and Chief Designer of kathy ireland Worldwide®
Kathy Ireland is the founder, CEO and Chief Designer of kathy ireland Worldwide® (kiWW®). Kathy founded the company in 1993 with the initial mission statement of “… finding solutions for families, especially busy moms™.” The company and its mission have expanded to include “… finding solutions for people in love™” and “… finding solutions for people in business™.” kathy ireland Worldwide® offers designs in home, office, fashion, weddings, fine jewelry and more. In 2012, a cover story in Forbes magazine reported that kiWW® sells “some 2 billion in retail” and calls Kathy “Supermodel … Supermogul.” License Global magazine names kathy ireland Worldwide® the 25th most powerfully licensed brand. According to Fairchild Fashion Media, Kathy Ireland is one of the 50 most influential people in fashion. She was also named by UCLA as one of the Top 10 Women’s Health Advocates in America and is an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (LHD) from California State University, Channel Islands. In addition to kiWW®, Kathy is the author of six books and supports many nonprofits, including the YWCA, the Dream Foundation, the Providence Educational Foundation, 911 for Kids/AEFK, the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
President & Publisher
Moira Forbes is the President & Publisher of ForbesWoman, which was launched by Forbes Media in 2008. This multimedia platform includes a robust website, a digital community, and a variety of content-rich forums and events. By examining the unique experiences of professionally successful women, ForbesWoman sets the agenda for discourse on the topics that matter most to them. She is also the host of Success with Moira Forbes, an online video series featuring candid, one-on-one interviews with today’s top women. In 2010, Moira founded the Forbes Executive Women’s Board, an organization dedicated to harnessing the collective power of women in business to drive sustainable change. She serves on the board of Key4Women and is also an active member of such organizations as The Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society and 85 Broads. Moira graduated cum laude with a BA in Art History from Princeton University and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Program for Leadership Development. She is married to an orthopedic surgeon and lives in New York City.