We had the good fortune of connecting with Irene Kwong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Irene, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind our brand success has been our consistent and unwavering dedication to our customers. Our desire to always go a step beyond whether it is in product quality/value or communication (customer service, engagement, transparency, request for feedback) has been important in earning both the trust and loyalty of our customers. As a business, we understand that we wouldn’t be where we are now without our customers. We treat them as we would family – with respect, kindness, and love. By being open about our operations in the company (including any setbacks or challenges that may affect them), providing consistent and true-to-brand product releases, and engaging our customers on our social media channels, we want to ensure our customers feel happy, safe, and seen.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I had always dreamed about a career in art and design – but for the longest time, had difficulty seeing the inherent value in my art and vision. I have always wanted to translate the wonder, whimsy, carefree spirit, and beauty of childhood into a more sophisticated and grown-up space – I didn’t see this anywhere else and wanted to put this ‘spin’ on products that could be used and appreciated well past the age of 21. In order to do this, I felt like I had to be at the helm of my own operations – I created simply gilded to bring all of my ideas to life. I would definitely not consider building my business easy – I don’t have a formal business education and had to learn everything on the job. It was however, a journey that I will never regret. I have met so many gracious and generous souls that have become lifelong friends and grown so much as a person. If anything I would like the world to know that it is never to late to pursue a dream or passion. I want others to be inspired to connect to their own inner child and to tap into the creativity and wonder that lives inside of us all.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In McKinney, there is always something happening at McKinney Square – from Live music to cute restaurants (I love HARVEST which is a farm to table new American restaurant!) and shopping, there are tons of options to keep you entertained. The Historic town Farmer’s Market in Chestnut Square is adorable and a great way to spend a Saturday morning! If you are in Frisco, the new plaza features lots of unique Asian offerings and shopping – from Shabro (one of my absolute favorite hot pot spots!) to the grocery store that houses special restaurants and dessert shops (like Beard Papas!) – your belly will thank you later.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Thank you to our wonderful community both at simply gilded and within the planner world! Also thank you to my star sisters in planning that have loved and supported me through all the ups and downs.
Irene Kwong (product photos) — @tohidraselphotography for pictures of Irene and photo holding washi tape.