Irish designer Orla Kiely has received a massive boost from exposure such as Kate Middleton sporting her retro “Birdie” dress earlier this year. Kiely’s sales grew by 19 percent in the last year to a huge  $15.4 million.

Middleton has proven herself to be a major fashion influence worldwide, making beige pumps a must have for the last year, and her sporting Kiely’s woolen, dove-patterned winter dress at a royal engagement in Oxford, England, gave the Irish fashion hero a major boost.

Another excellent habit of the Duchess of Cambridge is that she shops from the high-street rack and Kiely’s dress costing just $263 caused a frenzy in stores.

She also wore another Kiely dress, a grey dress with a pleated skirt and black embroidery. This had a similar effect on sales.

Kate’s sister Pippa has also been spotted wearing Kiely creations including a cardigan at Wimbledon tennis Championships this summer.

When Kate opted for a grey dress with a pleated skirt and black embroidery embellishment for another public event, it had a similar effect on sales.

In the past year Kiely has opened a flagship store in Soho, New York City and another in Taiwan.
However despite their apparent success the pre-tax profits at Kiely’s business failed to turn around. In fact, they fell 57 percent  from $686,495 to $289,187, in the last 12 months, ending in March 2012, reports the Evening Herald.

Despite this the power couple Orla Kiely and her husband Dermot Rowan, said they were “satisfied with the improvement shown in the year ended March 31 despite the hard economic conditions.

“The directors hope that turnover will continue to increase, partly due to further overseas expansion in the US and Asia and also due to an increase in the number of retail outlets.”