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LOCAL STORIES

June 4, 2023 at 5:34:46 PM

How Covid restrictions pushed a plan into action

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How sitting at home unable to travel made a dream a reality !

Published on:

June 4, 2023 at 5:34:46 PM

Ignite Business Insider shares the stories of businesses that are making an impact in their local markets. We highlight their stories in order to inspire entrepreneurial growth and to let readers learn more about businesses across the world that are growing and scaling.

Featuring

Kathy Connolly

Owner

KCC Cashmere Limited

Thank you for taking the time to sit with us and share your story. Can you share a little bit about you and your company?

As I live in Tuscany and spend time in both Italy, France and the UK I decided after a 40+ year career in beauty, to combine my love of Europe, photograph, travel, fashion and sales into a small fashion accessory business searching for unique, exclusive pieces to offer my clients on a worldwide basis.

A question so many people are interested in, is how you got started. Can you share a little bit about what you were doing before this, and what that moment was like for you when you decided to start this new journey?

I was fully employed up to and including day one of Covid, when overnight all five of my consultancy agreements literally blew up ! Living in Europe and traveling monthly to the USA and Canada in this role, I was grounded to my one bedroom apartment in Nice wondering what on earth I was going to do next ! Wasn't ready for the "retirement" phase of life, way too much energy for that, so took a hard look at my small fashion business that was about 10% of my annual income and decided to put my heart and soul into making this my full time business and using my contacts and love of fashion into growing it to the next level

Let's take a little bit of a detour, and rewind the clock a little bit. What did you want to be as a kid? And how did that influence the person you are today?

Happy ! How crazy an answer is that ? Happy and Busy. And that is exactly where I am today ! Didn't have any serious career goals. Mother was a nurse. Father was in the Navy - didn't want any of that but loved travel and new places, new people, so selling came easily and I made a career out of that for many years working in the corporate world for some prestigious cosmetic and fragrance businesses where I learnt the tools of the trade. Sales isn't for everyone, but it worked for me !

Have you fully let go of that childhood dream? And where do you see yourself going in the next ten years?

Forward. No big plans. I like the phrase "You want to make God laugh? Tell him you've made plans"! Enjoy life, have fun, make new friends, earn some money..travel and life the life you've always wanted .......

Now, I have found that with successful people, there is always someone pivotal as either a mentor, parent, teacher, or someone that you look to for advise, that helped set you on this path. Could you share who that person was? And what impact that had on the person you are today?

An interesting one. I had a relative. Who shall remain nameless as he has since passed on. But when meeting him after several years of not seeing the family, he declared my lack of serious educational degrees would amount to my "not amounting to anything". Those were the only words I needed to hear. It shot me forward and I left him and the family in my wake..sometimes you need a negative to turn into a positive !

What was one take away that you learned from that person? And how did it translate into your business today?

That nothing can stop you if you are determined and want it badly enough. No higher education is going to making you a success in life. You need to do that for yourself.

When we work with businesses, we focus a lot on their "Why?". What is your "Why"? What is the driver behind your company, and why you and your team wake up each day and give it your all?

Because fashion is fun. My husband describes me as a "fun seeking missile", so each day I look forward to posting new finds on Instagram, looking for new and fun fashion accessories and finding the joy in the business I have created.

Let's dive deeper into your products and services. You already gave an overview, but how do your products or services help your customers? And what makes them different from your competitors?

Having the ability to get to places such as Florence, Lucca, Milan, Aix in Provence, Paris, London and other spots in Europe gives me the opportunity to find for my clients new, creative, unusual, one of a kind items that they won't find anywhere in their local stores and malls...its a small business, but I take that very seriously and try to provide them with as much diversity as possible.

Let's unpack that even further. Let's pick one aspect of your business. What makes it so unique? And how does it change you or your customer's experience?

Again where I live and the flexibility I have to cross from one country to another finding designer items, high end, and mass items with a difference - its a unique experience, and bespoke and my customers love that.

Let's dive into your customer's journey a little bit. Can you share with us, how do your customers discover you and your brand? What are their next steps? And what is the experience you would like to see your customers go on, when working with you and your brand?

I was fortunate enough back in the day to be able to be part of a wonderful showroom where I exhibited my products twice yearly at the annual shows and I met wonderful customers who are still shopping with me today. I try to find out what they are looking for individually and if I can provide this service of bespoke shopping for them, that is something I love to provide.

Let's rave about your customers for a minute. Can you share a story about one of your clients or customers, that either touched your heart, or made an impact with you and your team?

That's too tough..too many of t hem and too many stories to tell. Most of my clients work in design and know what they are looking for, and provide me with lots of details so working with them is a pleasure, fashionable ladies who know the world of fashion intimately

Everyone likes an inside scoop. What detail or secret about either you, or your company, is something most people might not know?

That its all done from home in a small stone cottage high in the hills of Tuscany - 37 inhabitants, but greatly connected by airports and train stations to take me where I need to go !

Final thoughts. What feeling or benefits would you like your customers or clients to take away when working with you and your team?

That we will strive to find what they are looking for in a timely fashion and at the best price possible

Last question. How can people find out more about you and your company?

By following me on Instagram @couturecashmere or by visiting my website at kcccashmere.co.uk

Thank you so much for sitting with us and sharing your story.

Thank you Joseph !

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