The “Kate Effect” strikes again for a Yukon jeweller, who is still fielding orders for a pair of bronze earrings the Duchess of Cambridge wore for a day of engagements in Carcross on the recent Canadian Royal Tour.
Shelley MacDonald, who is originally from Nova Scotia but based in Whitehorse, opened her online store in 2014, and said she’d only made 51 sales between then and 28 September, when the Duchess was photographed wearing the earrings.
Now she’s made more than 540 sales.
Call it another example of the “Kate Effect”, a boost to designers when the Duchess of Cambridge wears one of their designs. It started with her blue Issa engagement dress and has continued to this day, with designs selling out almost immediately once the Duchess’s outfit has been identified.
Newsweek once estimated that the effect could be worth around £1 billion to the British economy.
Shelley MacDonald had only made the one pair of bronze, Ulu-inspired earrings, when they were purchased by Natasha Archer, the Duchess’s stylist and wardrobe manager.
In August, the chief of the Carcross-Tagish First Nation, Andy Carvill, asked that all shops be open on the 5th as people affiliated with the Royal Family would be visiting. A man and woman stopped into MacDonald’s boutique, and the woman bought the earrings.
“I looked up Kate’s stylist online…and it was actually her who purchased them from me,” MacDonald says.
MacDonald was in Iceland when the Duchess was in Canada, and received a request to purchase a pair of the Ulu-inspired earrings. Then the requests started pouring in, and MacDonald figured out what had happened.
“For two weeks, it was just 14-hour days answering people’s messages.”
The earrings are inspired by a multi-purpose knife that Inuit women traditionally use for cutting hair, meat and fish, but it’s not an exact copy of the Ulu.
“It’s very important not to take an actual object and recreate it, so I changed it and made it to fit with my designs.”
Back in September, shortly after the Duchess wore her earrings, MacDonald spoke to the CBC, saying, “This is every designer’s dream, is to have the Duchess wear anything of theirs.”
“It’s quite an honour to have her wear one of my designs. I’m kind of speechless.”
MacDonald has fielded orders for over 400 of the Ulu earrings. She’s even had to hire an assistant to help with production.
“I still wake up and I’m like, ‘Is this really happening right now?’ And then I look at my bench and I’m like, ‘Yes, this is really happening.’”