Corrections or additions?
This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the July 10, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Kathy Ireland: Model Turned Celebrity Entrepreneur
Cross Dale Carnegie with a super model, sprinkle in
some specific Christian doctrine, and what you get is
author of "Powerful Inspirations: Eight Lessons That Will Change
Your Life," a 184-page hardback published by Doubleday for $19.95.
She began Kathy Ireland Worldwide (KIWW) with a line of socks and
parlayed it into a billion dollar business that markets home furnishings,
flooring, and accessories for women. Unlike another celebrity supplier
to K-Mart, Martha Stewart, Ireland has managed to keep herself scandal
Ireland offers her personal and business advice on Thursday, July
11, at 7 p.m., at the Somerset Marriott in a seminar sponsored by
the Friends’ Health Connection. Cost: $25. Call 732-418-1811.
At the age of four Ireland started a rock painting business, pricing
paperweights at a nickel, in comparison with her sister, who charged
a dime. "I could work very quickly and still turn out beautiful
rocks. From early on, I understood that I needed to give people the
best possible product for their money."
When she took a paper route, a job that was supposedly for boys in
those days, her father admonished that if the customers expected their
paper on the driveway, then put it on the porch. "That was the
foundation of my learning to under-promise and over-deliver."
As she tells it, she never made top dollar. "I had a really good
start and was able to work as often as I wanted, but I was never the
highest paid or the top choice in the business. It was an interesting
time in fashion because the super-model era was just beginning with
beautiful girls like Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell,
and Claudia Schiffer, all of whom were just starting out. I knew that
I had a finite amount of time before I would be quickly replaced by
the up-and-coming stars."
Then she had a skiing accident and was out of work for months. "I
was not as prepared as I should have been. Since the accident, my
approach toward powerful financial wisdom is simple. `Live slightly
below your means, and you will always have enough money to live.’
"I was much more financially responsible when I had less money,"
she admits. "When the larger paychecks started coming in, I stopped
planning for my future in the way that I used to. I stopped taking
money off the top for my emergency fund. It was easy to forget the
Her other lessons:
ones for life.
will not protect us.
them interesting are the autobiographical revelations of a model turned
actress turned entrepreneur. At every turn she struggled with her
conscience: whether to be photographed topless (no), whether to continue
with a brewery contract (no), and whether to use the Lord’s name in
vain in an Edward Albee play (the words remained unchanged but the
character was rewritten so the words would seem like a prayer).
Celebrities are frequently importuned, which makes her advice on handouts
valuable. Her dictum: "Help others to the degree you can afford.
When it comes to loaning money be discerning and don’t be afraid to
say no. This doesn’t make you a bad person. If you do decide to loan
someone money, be sure that it’s money you can say goodbye to."
— Barbara Fox
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