Kym Gold, Trailblazing Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur, Kym Gold. Photo courtesy Kym Gold

Kym Gold was already a successful businesswoman and designer with three fashion companies under her belt when she and her then-husband Jeff Lubell co-founded True Religion in 2002. The marriage ended in an acrimonious divorce after 20 years and the brand sold for almost a billion dollars in 2013. Gold was ousted from the company with a multimillion dollar settlement before the big sale.

In part, due to a larger downturn in retail across the board, True Religion filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July. The company hopes to remain in business following financial restructuring.

As busy as ever, Gold also flips houses and produces documentaries, movies and reality TV shows, yet still found time to write an inspirational book, Gold Standard.

“I wrote the book because I was tired of women being bullied in the boardroom and having my ex-husband say I had nothing to do with True Religion when I designed all the ranges,” Gold said. “I wanted to write a book for women who have been through a bad divorce and not received the credit they deserve.”

Gold, an identical triplet, was raised in Malibu where she and her siblings spent their childhood running along the beaches. Her parents were comfortably off, rather than rich. It’s important to Gold that people realize she is a self-made woman who earned her own money by working hard. When she married her first husband, Mark Burnett, he wasn’t the reality show mega-producer he is now (Survivor, The Apprentice, The Voice).

“We were married at my parents’ Malibu home by a rabbi,” Gold said. “We were both very young and Mark was just a boy from London who loved the Malibu life.”

The marriage lasted five years and they remain friends. There were no children, but their subsequent offspring are pals. “One of Mark’s children has the same birthday as one of mine,” she said.

Gold recently sold her Malibu home for $19 million and built a house in the hills of Encino to be nearer her sisters. She raises her three boys there, preferring to retain fond memories of Malibu. ”It’s not the charming place I grew up in. It’s overcrowded now. Locals can’t even get into Nobu.”

Gold was invited to join “She Tank,” a panel of outstanding successful women investors who listen to pitches from female entrepreneurs as part of L.A.’s “Live Love Thrive” women’s empowerment conference. Funding, mentorship, contacts and resources were offered to the selected few.

During the conference, Gold received the prestigious Trailblazer award. “I was honored to receive the award and be on the “She Tank’ panel,” Gold said. “I think it’s the duty of people who have the resources to give back.”

The founder of the “Live Love Thrive” conference, Catherine Gray, said, “Kym was given the Trailblazer award for being a cutting-edge, successful businesswoman who helps other women and female business owners thrive.”

Gold’s mantras in business are: “I’m never looking for a ‘No,’ always looking for a ‘Yes’,” and, “First to be first, not first to be second.” Her biggest accomplishment, she says, is being mother to three young men, aged 20, 23 and 24.

Happily engaged to actor Marlon Young, Gold grows her own fruits and vegetables and works out daily in the gym she built in her new home. She’s currently in talks to turn her life story into a TV series and is especially excited about a documentary she’s producing (directed by Lysa Heslov) about women veterans, called “Serve Like a Girl.”

Gold and Gray share a vision to have greater numbers of women in positions of influence. “Once we have more women in the House and Senate,” said Gray, “and more women at the decision-making table in every industry, the planet will start to change for the better.”


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Claire Fordham

Fordham worked for the BBC, ITN and Sky News in the UK and wrote a weekly anecdotal column for Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper, The Sun. She currently writes regularly for Huffington Post, The Malibu Times and the Messenger Mountain News. See "A Chat with Claire Fordham" on this website under Podcasts.

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