Kathy Ireland Worldwide, as noted in a Success magazine article, is now a $1.4 billion marketing and design firm, with more than 15,000 products.
As chief designer and CEO of her company, Kathy Ireland has advice on a number of business topics, which she shared in the article.
Obstacles: “They’re there, all the time. There’s just no getting around it. There will be moments when I’ll have a little pity party and, hopefully, those are just moments. And then it’s moving on: ‘How are we going to get through this? And let’s look at it as an opportunity.’
“Every time we have had a serious challenge, looking back, it was an opportunity for great growth that would not have happened had we not had that challenge. So I welcome challenges today. I really do. Consider it pure joy, that’s how I feel about challenges.
“They give us character. They help refine us and give us strength and make us better. And if we’re not having challenges, we’re not trying hard enough. We’re not pushing. We’re not growing.”
Personal Branding: “Recognize that you are your own brand— whether we like it or not. And every experience is a lasting brand impression. And the question is, ‘What kind of a brand are we? Are we reliable? Are we innovative? Are we loyal?
“Do we consider showing up to work 10 minutes early being on time? Or are we perpetually late? Do we bring our personal [life] to work with us? Are we negative? Do we have a hard time getting along with others?’ And if we need to make a change, that change ought to happen right away.”
Time Management: “There are only 24 hours in a day—we’re never going to get any more. We don’t get extra Brownie points for staying up all night working on a project. We’ve got to work smart. Protect your time. Protect those priorities.
“Protect your family and your needs. And it takes planning. With our team, we like to plan our calendars 18 months in advance and, doing that, there are always daily changes. That just happens all the time. But at least if we can get a grip on the calendar, then we can figure out what’s truly important.”
Philanthropy: “I don’t know that anyone wants to feel like they are a charity. But investing in people [is important]. I refer to it as social entrepreneurialism. I spoke at the U.N. this past summer  with a group of young people from all over the world on social entrepreneurialism. There are so many opportunities, whether local or global, to change the world.”
Goals: “I like to write things down, to make lists. When I have a goal, I want to have a plan. A clear plan and a strategy. Our son, not that long ago, shared with me — he’s 13 years old — that he’s going to want to buy a truck. So we talked about it.
“I basically asked him four questions: ‘How much money do you want? What are you going to do once you have it? How are you going to get that? What is your timetable?’ And that’s something we all have to do when we have a goal, otherwise our dreams are forever going to remain a dream.”
From Success magazine.
[Photo from facebook.com/kathyirelandWorldwide]
In our conversation, she commented:
“I can’t say I knew as a child that I was going to be involved in home furnishings or apparel, but I was very interested in design, and art.
“My mom is always telling the story of when I was ten years old, and she came home and I was standing in the driveway with a contractor. I had just looked in the yellow pages and called this guy to come over.
“I was tired of sharing my bedroom with my sister, so I wanted to see how much it would cost to convert the garage into a bedroom. I had a paper route, so knew I was going to be having some income. But the job was going to be about twenty thousand dollars,” she adds, laughing.
From my interview with Kathy Ireland.