Bethenny Frankel Used Reality TV To Create Her Multi-Million-Dollar Brand
First Published: April 22, 2011 1:42 PM EDT Credit: Getty Premium
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- She’s “skinny” and smart, and now, Bethenny Frankel has opened up about how she used reality television as a vehicle to build and market her lucrative Skinnygirl brand.
The bold brunette — who recently sold her diet-friendly cocktail empire for a reported $120 million — hails from humble beginnings. She originally called a 700 sq. ft. Manhattan apartment home prior to signing on for “The Real Housewives of New York,” but after experiencing mild success as a contestant on the short-lived “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.”
“I didn’t know where I was in my life,” Bethenny said of her pre-“Housewives” reality, in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I was still taking the subway to events because I couldn’t afford the $20 for a cab.”
Following her initial reality TV stint, Bethenny accepted a position as a spokesperson for Pepperidge Farm, but was eager to make her own low-calorie brand dreams come to fruition.
When approached by Bravo to join “RHONY,” she turned the network down for two months — scared that the series would “ruin” the beginnings of the brand she was struggling to get off the ground,
Bethenny said she eventually realized a reality show could be the perfect vehicle to garner press for her ideas, and agreed to do the show after careful consideration.
“I went on the show single-handedly and exclusively for business,” she told the mag. “I knew it was a risk and I had the most to lose, because I already had a platform. When I went on the show, no one was going on for business, no one had done anything.”
Bethenny developed an idea for a low-calorie cocktail, but had trouble selling the idea to the liquor business – a challenge the mogul mom was able to overcome with a little time and some elbow grease.
“No one was interested,” she told the mag, of the discouraging response to her Skinnygirl margarita mix. “Instead of giving up, I said, ‘I want this, and I know other women will want this, so I’m going to make it.’… Now, every company I pitched this idea to has either tried to buy Skinnygirl or has copied it.
“I created a sub-category that never existed,” she later added. “I wasn’t an expert — I was just another person bothered by a 700-calorie margarita.”
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