Bethenny Frankel of Real Housewives of New York has made her mark on more than just reality television. Launching Skinnygirl brand in 2009 and then selling it for an estimated $100 million in 2011, according to People, Frankel has proven herself as a savvy entrepreneur. The guest investor on ABC’s Shark Tank has offered advice in the past to aspiring business owners on how to achieve success in today’s competitive marketplace.
Keep going despite rejection
According to Forbes, Frankel’s idea for the Skinnygirl brand was initially rejected by liquor companies, and even publicists. She advises entrepreneurs to stay the course even in the face of rejection. “I just ended up doing it myself. I focused on moving the product and it sold. People can lie, but the numbers don’t lie.”
Frankel had to stand down critics again when she started her Skinnygirl Jeans product, where she was told the messaging may turn consumers away. “They said things like, ‘That isn’t going to feel inclusive’ and ‘Bigger girls won’t like it.’ And then they get it.”
Following her own instinct, the reality star created the product to be offered to a range of sizes, saying the brand “means unleash your skinny girl. Everybody, size 18 or 22, is a skinny girl. It’s all how someone feels. It’s a state of mind.” Her Skinnygirl Jeans launched in September.
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Broad on Broad Street 💙 I can’t wait to show you all the @skinnygirlbrand spring and summer looks we’ve been working on…and very soon I’ll have the chance! I’ll be back on @hsn tomorrow at 9PM EST & Friday at 9AM & 12:30PM EST to show you all the fresh #Skinnygirllooks for the warmer weather! Make sure to tune in to shop all our amazing #Skinnygirljeansstyles.👖🔥 . . #SpringJeans #SummerJeans #SpringWardrobe #SummerWardrobe #HSN #VacationLooks #VacayStyle #SummerBreak
Know there will be sacrifices
In 2016, Frankel spoke to Time on the give-and-take of being a business owner, especially for women trying to launch a company. “Women need to have a real understanding of how much work it takes to start a business before they dive in. If you have two kids and are without the means to get help taking care of them, it might be a lot harder for you to get things up and running,” she told Time. “I couldn’t have done the work of Skinnygirl without the resources I have now, and without the time and drive of people around me. It’s much more challenging if you have more responsibility in your personal life.”
Frankel spoke of her own experience juggling motherhood with launching a brand. “Having a daughter means that if there’s a school play or if my daughter is sick, then I’m home with her,” she said. “The last time my daughter was sick, I stayed home and canceled everything, and the one meeting I had was here at the house. But I’ve earned that right and flexibility because of where I am now. In the beginning, that wouldn’t have been possible.”
The Skinnygirl founder advised entrepreneurs to be flexible with their time, and be willing to change plans. “Today I had multiple shoots and meetings so I stacked them all. That means tomorrow I can go out to the Hamptons with my daughter and just be a mother. You have to be able to shift when you need to,” Frankel told Forbes.
Be the new kid on the block
Rather going into an already crowded space, Frankel recommends creating an idea that no one else has thought of yet. “I’ve gotten into trouble when I listen too much to what partners or retailers say that people want. No one knew that they wanted a bottle of ready to drink low calorie cocktail,” she said of her Skinnygirl brand. “I came up with that idea because I thought it solved a problem … That’s when you’re excited and say, ‘Wow, I have this idea and no one’s doing it.’”
If the idea has been done and you still want to compete, Frankel says to make sure your spin is the best of the bunch. “Ten people could have the same general idea, but it’s the person who executes it the best who wins,” Frankel told Time. “Make sure that you can get in and out first and fast enough, that you can line up good press and marketing. You have to own that idea and make it happen first without someone else coming in first and doing it bigger and better than you.”
Fans can see more of Frankel when Real Housewives of New York starts its next season on Bravo TV!
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