My Pet World: Kathy Ireland extending her passion for fashion to pets
"It was a blessing to be mentored by this amazing women," Ireland says. "She taught me about business, about design and philanthropy. Back in the 1980s, when the HIV-AIDS epidemic was little understood, she became the fearful Joan of Arc of AIDS."
Ireland adds, "People may not know how much she loved animals. She and Richard (Burton) would go to Africa, and she would drive people crazy by getting out of the jeep while on safari. She would sit and just wait for the lions to come by, and she's watch them." While Ireland concedes that sitting in the middle of the savannah waiting for lions may not be advisable, Taylor was not afraid.
"Animals of all kinds are very perceptive; they pick up on people's cues and they can sense if people are afraid, aggressive or loving -- which is exactly what Elizabeth was. They know when a person comes from a place of love."
Ireland's new Loved Ones collection features several pet beds she designed. The Cuddle Cube Pet Bed allows a pet to sink into their cushy bed without the bed losing structure. The Quilted Bed with Lounge Mat has a quilted bed base and reversible mat inside, even enabling the owner to match the bed style with the sleeping pattern of the pet. The Pillow Hideout Bed has a hood that allows the pet to snuggle inside or hide a favorite toy.
"For all of our products we deliver on value, quality and safety, " Ireland says. "And it's important that the products can be used in real life, not be destroyed by the pets or children who spill something on them. They're all washable." She knows the importance of this factor as a mother of three (ages 11 to 19).
"Our products must be child-friendly, including our pet products. Kids are my favorite people," says Ireland. "Precious beyond words and they teach us so much. We want kids to be involved in most of our designs. Our own children and the children of our team members help us in the design process and are members of our focus groups."
Likewise, the new Loved Ones products have been pet-tested. The collection includes leashes, collars and other pet accessories. All are available wherever pet products are sold.
With over 15,000 products to her credit, there may be nowhere left on the planet for Ireland to excel.
"No, you won't see me in space," she says. Ireland also has six books to her credit, and is now toying with the idea of developing books and other projects around Gracie and Delilah.
Steve Dale welcomes questions/comments from readers. Although he can't answer all of them individually, he'll answer those of general interest in his column Send e-mail to PETWORLD(at)STEVE DALE.TV. Include your name, city and state. Steve's website is www.stevedalepetworld.com; he also hosts the nationally syndicated "Steve Dale's Pet World" and "The Pet Minute." He's also a contributing editor to USA Weekend.(c) 2014 DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.