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How Success Happened for Style Icon Kym Gold, Co-Founder of True Religion

Success came about for a few primary reasons for Kym Gold but none more important than her pure grit.

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Donavan Frieberg

With enough grit and hustle to mistake the Malibu-native for a New Yorker, I bonded immediately with Kym Gold, the cofounder of True Religion jeans. I wanted to understand the psychology behind a woman who sold that denim empire for just south of 1 billion dollars. 

That’s billion with a “b.” 

After a few minutes of getting to know her, I wasn’t surprised to learn that this 30-year style veteran had the audacity to hatch her sixth company in the middle of the pandemic, a new home fashion brand called Style Union Home. After years of using fabric as her canvas, she simply reapplied her business acumen to clay, something she hadn’t a clue about until the inspiration to create a luxury line of ceramic kitchen, entertaining and pet ware bit her. 

Related: How Success Happened For Drybar's Alli Webb

It’s never surprising to hear about entrepreneurs who came out of Stanford, were funded and skyrocketed to success, but Kym is an entrepreneur who has gone through some real stuff and speaks candidly about it all. She talked with me about her two marriages and frustrations about being the only female on an all-male board of directors. Hearing the real-life stuff that led to such explosive success is inspiring. She gave me the straight dope on the fallout of missing family dinners and the debt that forced she, her husband and three young boys to live in a hotel, while Neiman Marcus rejected their laughing Buddha logo brand. Undaunted, she pushed forward and well, the rest is history.

It started early for Kym; at the age of 18 when she marched into the garment district of downtown Los Angeles, knocking on doors of manufacturers asking to buy their seconds for pennies on the dollar. She turned around and sold them on the Venice Beach boardwalk, raking in $50,000 a month, then purchased a duplex and flipped it in a week for a $75,000 profit. 

Now, that’s moxie. 

I am always curious to hear what this kind of success feels like and when asking Kym about it, what she told me was surprising. I assumed that as one of triplets, she developed her drive from a need to differentiate herself from her sisters, but Gold seems to be driven to simply create. She shared with me that she doesn’t plan great successes, but unabashedly just follows what she loves. When, and if, that leads to a feeling of not-fun versus good feelings, she just moves in another direction. 

In this interview, Gold discusses her feelings about how entrepreneurship seems like an over-used title. It was refreshing to hear her share why she feels that a true entrepreneur can only call themselves this after really earning it, and specifically while risking their own money. 

I just loved hearing about the stuff she went through and the matter-of-fact, approach she has to life and business. After hatching so many companies, Kym really has her priorities in order and explains why business failure might be hard, but it can’t break her heart, nor kiss her at night before bed. This great attitude, however, hasn’t stopped her from working at an intense pace. Her friends say she works like she’s broke. She just calls it passion.