Through the Lens

{magazine cover} How Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Kathy Ireland Became a $350 Million Mogul

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With a net worth of $350 million dollars, Kathy Ireland makes an additional $2 billion dollars off her retail empire. Ireland, 48, started in modeling at age 17, setting herself on the fast path to become one of the ’80s most popular supermodels. Starting in 1984, she graced the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for a whopping 13 consecutive years.
This swimsuit model doesn’t sell swimsuits, and while many women may still associate her name with a clothing line at Kmart, she barely sells clothes anymore, either. The bulk of her success comes instead from the kind of stuff that has likely never seen a celebrity’s name adorning it: ceiling fans, flooring, mattresses. And above all there’s furniture: desks, end tables, media centers, beds, ottomans and bookcases. There are area rugs, carpets and headboards. And lots and lots of windows. One of the biggest pieces of the Kathy Ireland empire is her namesake vinyl and plastic replacement windows, which purportedly insulate heat inexpensively; a retail outfit called Window World moves $400 million of them a year. Read more
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