Season 2, Episode 1; Intentional Influence Podcast:

How Shoulder Pads Started an Empire: Interview with Shapewear Pioneer Kathleen Kirkwood




Listen to the Episode Below (01:19:30)
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In this Intentional Influence Podcast episode, Melissa Murray talks with Kathleen Kirkwoodshapewear pioneer and founder of Kirkwood International Inc., the longest running private company vendor on QVC, about her entrepreneurial journey, reinvention, and breaking the glass ceiling.

Kathleen Kirkwood, a former Ford model, began her entrepreneurial career in 1983 where she designed the original clip-on shoulder pad, Pints of Pads®. Pints of Pads® truly captured the 80s’ fascination with shoulder pads and soon Bloomingdale’s was offering Pints. When Oprah called to have Kathleen on the show to discuss women in business, business soared.

Shortly thereafter QVC TV discovered Kathleen, where she boasts a 17-year track record of growth, new products, and millions of fans (QVC is seen in over 90 million homes in the United States.) Her status as the longest running private company vendor on QVC attracted the attention of CNBC and Kathleen was chosen for a reality segment on Squawk Box.

Now almost 30 years later, Kathleen continues to revolutionize the shapewear industry with her innovative products, while also being a pioneer for women entrepreneurs. Kathleen was recently awarded the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certification and the Baldwin Humanitarian award for her Bra Recycling Agency (B.R.A.) initiative.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The importance of reinvention for entrepreneurs
  • How to make millions with one great idea
  • Why investing in one product, rather than a collection, can grow your business faster
  • Why joint ventures and strategic alliances can help your cash flow
  • Specific advice for approaching national companies within a large industry
  • Why a design patent may be more beneficial than a patent
  • How to avoid the “avalanche effect” with your products
  • The importance of making your story easy to tell so the media continues to call
  • How investment pieces in your wardrobe can boost on-screen confidence
  • How Kathleen successfully merged a shapewear business with a waste management business
  • Appearance is power: How dressing intentionally gives you confidence
  • Kathleen’s personal tips for gender neutralizing the workplace
  • Why being a women owned business an catapult your income

Additional Resources

In this episode we mentioned several resources:

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This episode of Intentional Influence is sponsored by G&A Legal, who provides brand protection and intellectual property services including copyrights trademarks and patents. G&A Legal helps protect your important business assets including your names, logos and inventions.

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