Sunday 1 February 2015

Sales rise at Orla Kiely after Kate gives label royal seal of approval

Gordon Deegan

Published 05/10/2012 | 05:00

Kate Middleton wearing a dress by Irish fashion designer Orla Kiely at an engagement in Oxford last April. The £162.50 (€202) 'Birdie' print dress instantly sold out

ORLA Kiely's fashion empire -- helped in no small way by Kate Middleton -- continues to expand with sales increasing by 19pc to £9.4m (€11.6m) last year.

While sales rose, pre-tax profits at the Irish designer's company Kiely Rowan plunged 57pc to £178,306 in the 12 months to the end of March.

The designer -- best known for her quirky stem prints -- runs the firm with husband Dermott Rowan.

During the year, the designer's business received a boost from Kate after she wore one of Ms Kiely's designer dress coats. The brown, dove-patterned garment sold out within minutes of Kate's public appearance last February after "an absolute frenzy" on the Orla Kiely website.

Other celebrities to sport Ms Kiely's distinctive fashion-wear include Hollywood stars Kirsten Dunst and Kiera Knightley.


Ms Kiely's products are sold in more than 30 countries and, according to Ms Kiely's and Mr Rowan's report attached to the accounts lodged with the UK's Companies House, they "are satisfied with the improvement shown in the year ended March 31 despite the hard economic conditions".

During the year Orla Kiely continued its expansion, opening up a flagship 2,300sq ft store in New York's Soho district last November followed by another store opening in Taiwan.

The accounts show Ms Kiely and Mr Rowan received a joint pay package of £311,667 last year.

In addition, the two directors own the Orla Kiely brand name -- the fee paid by the company for using the name during 2011/12 came to £94,279.

The two also received rent of £100,000 from the company during the year.

Irish Independent

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