From Supermodel to Socks

From Supermodel to Socks? 

Do you remember Kathy Ireland? 

She was a supermodel in the 80s and 90s. She appeared in 13 consecutive Sports Illustrated magazines, gracing the cover multiple times. When she was asked to do Baywatch, she chose kid watch instead, and by 1993, she had founded a personal brand and licensing company with her first product being a pair of socks.

She is the ultimate brand girl. 

In 1993, a pair of socks bearing her name sold 100M pairs, which was the catalyst for her forming Kathy Ireland Worldwide, her brand marketing and licensing firm, which she still owns in its entirety today. 

By 2015, her career in business had generated over $450M in personal wealth. As of 2021, this supermodel turned mogul is running a multi-billion dollar business, which has made her one of the wealthiest women and most successful former models of our time.

Here are three things you can learn from Kathy Ireland that may very well apply to you too: 

  1. Her personal brand and reputation were foundational to her success.  If you research her, you will find her reputation is squeaky clean.  While she is a smart and shrewd business owner, she is kind, likable, and reputable. 

What about you? Is your personal brand paving the path for your success?  Are you showing up regularly, building relationships, adding value, and ensuring that your own brand grows stronger each year?  If not, what could you be doing differently?

  1. She played the long game. Ireland is in her 60s now, 61 to be exact, and has built her business fortune over the last 3 decades. She has faced business challenges like many and has been able to weather the test of time. 

What about you? Are you playing the long game, or have you fallen for get-rich-quick schemes on the internet? Do you even know what the long game of your business looks like?  If you want to have a business and brand that spans decades, you need clarity, goals, and strategy. 

  1. She picked great mentors. She credits Warren Buffet for his mentorship and his guidance is why she entered into the home furnishing market. 

What about you? Do you have a mentor, business advisor, or mastermind group that can challenge you to play a bigger game and step into greater possibilities for your business? If not, now might be the time to consider how this could transform your business.

No one does it alone. Kathy Ireland didn’t. 

Her entire brand was based on partnerships that created leverage for her company. Too many entrepreneurs think they have to do everything on their own, and women are especially shy about asking for help and investing in themselves.

If you want your business and your brand to last for many years to come, take a page out of Ireland’s playbook.  The three things she did are applicable to you as well.

Want to hear more? Tune into my podcast She Talks Business so that you can learn how to master, market, and monetize your business.


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Lisa Larter Bio Image of Lisa x400

Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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