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1963 Kathy Ireland is born.
1974 Her first job: Paper route.
This story first appeared in the May 7, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
1980 At 17, Kathy is discovered by Elite models. She signs in 1981. She would appear on covers for Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Fitness and other magazines, and in campaigns including Bulova, Fruit of the Loom, Caress Soap, Budweiser, Cheerios and Baked Lays Potato Chips.
1984 First of 13 consecutive appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, with three times on the cover.
1989 Kathy is on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, which remains the magazine’s best-selling swimsuit issue.
1990 Ireland comes to management company Sterling Winters.
1992 Ireland turns down modeling assignments and a series regular role on “Baywatch.” She takes a $50,000 personal loan to start her company, Kathy Ireland Worldwide, and hires Jon Carrasco from Sterling Winters to serve as creative director. She would buy Sterling Winters in 2001.
1993 Partners with Moretz Sports and the KIWW brand launches with a pair of athletic socks that she designs, using moisture-wicking technology. KIWW accepts an offer from Kmart to sell apparel on a non-exclusive basis.
1994 Ireland’s son Erik is born.
KIWW expands apparel collection at Kmart to include swimwear, activewear, accessories, sweaters and more. The brand becomes Kmart’s bestselling “young fashion” line.
Her philanthropic efforts kick into high gear, as she becomes the founding ambassador to the Dream Foundation, which grants wishes to terminally ill adults; she begins HIV/AIDS activism working for AIDS LA.
Ireland becomes a certified fitness instructor and starts producing fitness videos, forming Sterling Winters Company Studios.
1995 Ireland begins giving fitness information on ESPN, supporting her athletic wear design program.
1996 KIWW launches its Web site, kathyireland.com with the decision not to sell product but to use it as a broadcast/informational channel.
1997 Ireland becomes chair of March of Dimes WalkAmerica and opens neonatal intensive care units around the country.
1998 Ireland gives birth to daughter Lily.
She signs a contract to launch home goods at independent retailers.
1999 Home products are purchased by the Nebraska Furniture Mart (a Berkshire Hathaway company) which remains a major account.
Ireland is named Woman of the Year from the National Association of Women Business Owners.
2000 Ireland becomes the first female and first designer to host the LGPA Tournament. It is the first of three she will host. She launches a golfwear collection.
The company produces “Once Upon A Christmas,” which is now syndicated annually in more than 80 countries and was the highest rated made-for-TV movie on the ABC Family Channel.
KIWW licenses ACafe by Chef Andre for cooking and entertaining products, and signs with Berkshire Hathaway Shaw Industries for products in carpet, area rugs, ceramic flooring tiles and hardwood.
2001 KIWW acquires Jardin JduJ, a garden design company directed by landscape designer Nicholas Walker. Jardin wins the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show Gold Medal.
“Twice Upon Christmas” premieres at the White House with First Lady Laura Bush.
2002 Ireland becomes Ambassador of Hope for City of Hope. She releases her book “Powerful Inspirations: Eight Lessons That Will Change Your Life.”
KIWW licenses Pacific Coast Lighting for indoor and outdoor light fixtures.
Kmart files for bankruptcy.
2003 Ireland gives birth to daughter Chloe.
After Kmart emerges from bankruptcy, KIWW parts ways with the retailer and launches home products in independent distribution channels. It licenses the Alta division of Hunter Douglas for custom window coverings and Martin for home and office furniture.
Ireland begins a program to establish home-based businesses for single parents. She is named Mother of the Year by the National Mothers Day Association.
2004 KIWW receives its first Good Housekeeping Seal and licenses Hannah Candle Co. for home fragrances for her brands ACafe and Jardin.
Ireland is the highest-ranked woman, ahead of Oprah Winfrey, on Inc. magazine’s list of Top 10 Celebrity Entrepreneurs.
2005 KIWW earns its second Good Housekeeping Seal and launches mattresses by Therapedic International.
Ireland publishes three children’s books: “An Angel Called Hope,” “Mona’s Favorite Words,” and “What Do Mommies Do.”
2006 KIWW partners with Hallmart for bedding.
Sixth fitness video, “Core” is released.
2007 Home products earn third, fourth and fifth Good Housekeeping Seals. KIWW licenses Minka Aire for ceiling fans.
Ireland addresses the United Nations’ Youth Assembly on social responsibility.
2009 KIWW makes License Global Magazine’s list of the most powerful licensing brands in the world. During this year, it licenses cabinets, fine jewelry, home shelving, bedroom and dining room furniture.
Kathy Ireland Weddings hosts more than 100 weddings at its licensed Oasis Estates and retreats annually.
Stephen Roseberry is named president and chief operating officer of Sterling and Winters and Kathy Ireland Worldwide.
Ireland publishes her fifth book, “Real Solutions for Busy Moms: Your Guide to Success & Sanity,” in English and Spanish.
2009 Ireland’s sixth book, “Real Solutions For Busy Moms Devotional: 52 God-Inspired Messages For Your Heart” is published.
2010 KIWW ranks 28th on License Global Magazines’ 125 most powerful licensed brands in the world.
Ireland hosts the Oscars Red Carpet on ABC to the highest ratings in history wearing jewelry designed by Elizabeth Taylor and from her own collection.
She receives the Lifetime Achievement award from the CEO Roundtable, a Humanitarian Award from Jewelers for Children and becomes the Ambassador for the Make a Wish foundation.
KIWW licenses LaJobi for infant to child furnishings, Bush for office furniture and Rogaska Crystal for crystal ware. The company partners with Window World and sells $400 million in replacement windows annually, incorporating baby-and-animal-safe innovations.
2011 KIWW licenses furs with American Legend and launches a best selling designer collection from the Fur Vault at Macy’s; partners with Bauhaus, a La-Z-Boy company, for upholstery, and Lloyds of Chatham for additional upholstery. She signs with Panties Plus for intimate apparel and launches Kathy Ireland for Mon Cheri bridals.
Chef Andre contributes recipes to Janet Jackson’s New York Times Bestseller “True You.”
Nicholas Walker is the centerpiece of the Architectural Digest tribute to Elizabeth Taylor for designing the Elizabeth Taylor Garden, and Ireland receives the Design For Life award for battling HIV/AIDS.
2012 Marking 20 years since planting the seeds of KIWW, Ireland’s bridal collection is named the exclusive designer for the Festival of Brides at Disneyland.
Between Las Vegas Furniture Market and High Point, KIWW reaches 20 showrooms in the home industry.
The company will announce its partnership with Gorham, a Lennox company, for fine table glassware and flatware.
Ireland is slated to address Googleplex as a keynote speaker.