Kathleen Kirkwood was an entrepreneur and fashion designer and company founder who often appeared on QVC. She died in November 2021 at the age of 62 in New York, friends say.
Kathy Levine, a former QVC host, wrote on Facebook on November 5, 2021, “We called her the Queen of Shoulder Pads, The Undercover Agent at Q with her beautiful camisoles, and the ecological green machine with her dedication to recycling through her Bra Recycling Agency (B.R.A); but I called her friend. Kathleen Kirkwood passed away after a short illness.
Levine added, “A tireless worker, a wonderful sister and daughter, a passionate dog mom, and a most beautiful friend, Kathleen loved her Starbucks cappuccino and brain-storming different business ideas. Her mind never stopped noodling how to create clever new items, and how to make a difference in the world.”
Kirkwood’s exact cause of death was not immediately known. Her sister, Joann, posted on Instagram on September 27, 2021, “My sister needs prayers today please pray for her😇She always has a fighting spirit so I hope she’s fighting now! I love you Kath a leen❤️”
Kathleen Kirkwood Started the B.R.A. Recycling Agency in 2010 & Was Also the President of Kirkwood International Inc., a Fashion Innovations Company
Kirkwood was the founder of the B.R.A. Recycling Agency, a company that created a process to recycle bras, with portions of the company’s profits going toward breast cancer research. She started that company in 2010 and had been the president of Kirkwood International Inc. since 1983, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Kirkwood said on LinkedIn, “Created Pints of Pads in 1983, a ‘clip-on’ shoulder pad. Selling boutiques and High-End Dept stores. Received Invites from AWED and NFTE to speak on women entrepreneurship, and appeared on Oprah in 1989 in her segment women-in-business. Steve Jobs, from Apple, visited Ms. Kirkwood’s office in 1992, and shared packaging resources and small business tips that have marked Kirkwood ‘s product and packaging marketing, ever since. Discovered by QVC in 1992 and featured on CNBC Squakbox for longest running (privately held) vendor on Qvc. Currently on QVC weekly, with a collection of camisole and intimate apparel solutions, with visits to QVC London.”
Kirkwood said about the B.R.A. Recycling Agency it is “creating a solution to landfill and waste of intimate apparel, especially polyurethane foam bra’s and pads. Half-a-billion bra’s are sold each year, so a recycling solution has been a passion. The bra’s are turned into carpet cushion, courtesy of Leggett & Platt, and Kirkwood works with a printing Underwriter to support the recycling MAILING ENVELOPE and COLLECTION BINS. Currently a program for the Girl Scouts and soon to be on the New York City Department of Sanitation recommendation page, for recycling.”
Kirkwood promoted recycling and other green initiatives on social media. She also worked with the Girl Scouts of Nassau County, according to her LinkedIn, “Launching a green PROGRAM with Tips on Entrepreneurship. Event will feature filming the Girls creating PSA messages of ‘why we should recycle’, and learn how to recycle a bra. The Girls will be offered a G.S. PROGRAM designed for Troupe leaders, to collect bra’s for recycling in their communities, helping reduce waste and landfill. The recycled bra UNDERWIRE will be sold for a donation to breast cancer research.”
Kirkwood Went to High School in Hartsdale, New York & Worked for a Clothing Company in Paris, France, Before Starting Her Own Business
Kirkwood, who lived in New York City, according to her Facebook page. She graduated from Maria Regina High School in Hartsdale, New York, in 1978, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Kirkwood started her career working as a showroom salesperson at Gil Aimbez Static, according to her LinkedIn. She then worked as a sales executive at Philippe Adec in Paris, France. She wrote on LinkedIn that she sold, “a collection of jeans and sportswear from Paris, to better-UPSCALE boutiques and specialty chains, in the United States and France.”
In 1983, she founded her own company. She wrote on LinkedIn her company creates, “fashion innovations such as the patented COOKIE-CAMI, the shoulder pad solution Pints-of-Pads, Undercover agent blouse, Dick Trac-ease and Bust-ease. There are solution projects that are licensed, including GLOW PROTECTION, a sweat blocking tee for MEN and WOMEN. MANAGE trademarks, I.P., website sales and partnerships with manufacturer’s and factories.”
Fellow QVC Personalities, Fans & Others in the Business World Paid Tribute to Kirkwood on Social Media
Kathy Levine added in her Facebook tribute post, “We shared 1000 laughs on air and off. Too young, gone too soon. Rest in peace dear friend, and your friends will keep your light shining bright in your memory.”
Kirkwood’s friend, Kate Michaels, wrote on Facebook, “Blessings to one of my close friends, Kathleen Kirkwood, or as we used to call her, KK. She was a fire-y, get it done, kind of woman who had such a good heart and did so much. She made shoulder pads famous (!) And then donated/recycled them as well. We were friends for so long, talking every day before I knew she was some famous home shopping guru and queen. She kept me on my toes and was never afraid to call a spade a spade…she made so many incredible changes in her life and met all her difficulties with love and grace.”
Michaels added, “Now she is our loving, wonderful, dynamic angel… God bless you, KK- and thank you so much for being a part of each of our lives. You are an inspiration!”
A QVC fan wrote on Facebook, “So sad to hear of Kathleen Kirkwood’s passing. She was on QVC for a long time and I had missed her recently.”
Lidia Cortina Karras, a friend and fellow entrepreneur from New York, wrote in an Instagram tribute to Kirkwood, “R.I.P my dear beautiful friend Kathleen. We prayed so hard for you to still be here with us 🙏🏻 I guess you were sent up above to work your magic there like you did here on this beautiful 🌎 you cared so much about! This photo below makes me think you are happy now and at peace. You see, you are already up there getting to work. You taught me so much!”
Cortina Karras added, “Every time I have a piece of garbage to throw and want to just throw it in the trash I will have you in my head saying to me ‘Lidia, now is that really where it goes??’ ♻️♻️♻️ Queen! You have taught me so many lessons about business, climate change and what it’s like to be a really good friend! When I had no time to go to you for lunch because I was at work you brought it all to me with the China silverware and of course your very healthy food…🥰 Montauk will never be the same with out you. You were truly one of the most beautiful people inside and out. I am truly saddened to not have more time with you. I will treasure all the good times we had. R.I.P my very dear friend 💔🥰💃💫🌼💐”
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