By  on May 7, 2012

If American men only know of Kathy Ireland doused in sunshine and water, and wearing a tiny yellow bikini on the 1989 cover of Sports Illustrated, they don’t talk to their wives and girlfriends enough.

In perhaps what is one of the industry’s most unlikely career trajectories, Ireland has gone from being the California girl of men’s fantasies to building a $2 billion brand with her name attached to more than 15,000 stockkeeping units, ranging from windows to panties, carried at more than 50,000 stores — all with the promise of simplifying women’s lives.

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