I had many jobs in my post-college life: selling signs, designing flyers for small businesses and doing everything I could to avoid getting a real estate license. Everything was a hustle, at one point I worked at a private label nutraceutical company. We made custom blends vitamins, minerals, adaptogens and other general woo. What we did was called contract manufacturing or private labeling. Private labeling is when the name of the product is under the retailer instead of the manufacturer. It’s why you see the same products on Amazon and other retailers under different name brands. Contract manufacturing is the next level from private labeling where you customize the specialty of that manufacturer.
Please tell me that everyone doesn’t think that George Foreman grill was invented by the former boxer. To think that in a parallel universe that the George Foreman Grill is known as the Hulk Hogan Grill. Foreman originally made 40% of the profits for endorsing the grill that has sold over 100 million. At the peak of the grill’s sales, he was making $4.5 million dollars a month. He eventually was paid $137.5 million to license his name in perpetuity.
Around the time I got into the private labeling game, I became a loyal watcher of the Real Housewives. In the past decade of watching the women in multiple cities, we have seen them throw party after party for businesses that never come to fruition. Real housewives historians will remember ground-breaking businesses like Alexis Couture, Sonja and her toaster oven cookbook, Carole and Adam’s Reluctant Vegan cookbook, Kim Z’s Wig Line, the Maloof Hoof, She by Sheree joggers, Vicki’s Vodka, New Jersey’s BLK water, Kyle by Alene Too, LVP Sangria, Lisa Rinna’s dusters and Cynthia Bailey Eyewear.
The most successful of the housewives businesses is undisputed. Bethenny Frankel sold the rights to her Skinnygirl liquor line to Suntory Jim Beam for reportedly $100 million that included multi-year payments and retention of her options to license her brand to non-liquor products. Her parents may have paid for her college education, but that doesn’t mean she was immune to having a troubled childhood. She graduated NYU, moved to Los Angeles to give acting a shot, became Paris Hilton’s nanny, capitalized on the short-lived pashmina craze, came up as the runner-up on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart edition and then debut on the first season of the Real Housewives of New York as the only one that wasn’t a wife. Remember Bethenny Bakes? That’s ok she’s got bologna, chocolate, low-cal drinks and now jeans.
“It’s a formula,” Frankel says of the brands she launches with strategic partners. “They’re the expert, the formulator, manufacturer. I’m the marketer, the media person, the face–and we each know our roles.”– Bethenny in Forbes in 2011
People wonder why Bethenny decided to come back to the Real Housewives of New York after a few seasons away building her brand and an attempt at a talk show produced by Ellen. But that’s why she did it, to boost her brand. Bethenny has been transparent about her licensing agreement. She aired her brand summit, inviting business-challenged Sonja to watch. There she talked about her limited run licensing deals and partnerships.
But the new incarnation of Skinnygirl is, for the most part, a brand-licensing business, in the tradition of Kathy Ireland and Martha Stewart. “I control the intellectual property,” Frankel says. Manufacturers create the product and pay a fixed royalty rate to license the Skinnygirl name—and the image of the skinny woman. In a typical contract, the licensee pays Frankel between eight and tenNew Yorker 2011
per centof the wholesale revenue. Her agent, Perry Wolfman, at C.A.A., manages her licenses and seeks out new deals.
When she’s focused on her business, she’s a narcissist, self-obsessed – when she tries to connect with the women, she’s intense and emotional. Is she perfect? No, but I began to sympathize with her a lot more when I saw Ramona looming over her and screaming about Bethenny’s “fake tits.” Bethenny is by no means immune to lashing out as well. We have seen her flare up when she felt like someone was trying to downplay her success, hard work or encroach on her brand. When Dorinda’s boyfriend John accused her of ripping off Skinnycow Ice Cream, criticizing Kristin’s nail polish name as bad branding, which may have been true but also unkind and unnecessary when Sonja decided to announce the launch of a business called TipsyGirl and Bethenny came on strong with branding guru terms: cheater brand!
Ramona is leading the charge against Bethenny this year as a woman who doesn’t support other women! A quick rundown of Ramona’s “support for her fellow women.”
She calls out Bethany for having “fake tits” as if she didn’t have a breast augmentation as well. When called on her hypocrisy, she states, “she got them at 30, I got mine at 55.” Somehow in Ramona logic, getting fake tits after you get your AARP card makes them not count.
She supported single mom LuAnn from her divorce with the Count by calling out that her husband left her, that they had an open marriage and calling her a “weekend mom.”
She supported Jill Zarin at her Kodak event when she said “So you know I’m a business person, so I want to ask you a question…Why are you affiliated with Kodak? ‘Cause they’re a little antiquated as a company.”
She supported Kristen by throwing a cup at her face then blaming the woman for provoking her because she splashed her with water.
Needles her friend LuAnn (whom she used to call “LuMan” unaffectionately) by constantly reminding her that she used to date her now ex-husband, Tom, in the days after her quick engagement.
“Lost a dress” when appearing on Bethenny’s show only for the lost dress to appear later in an Instagram photo
Supporting Bethenny’s new Hampton’s home by dismissing saying it was “on the highway.” Yeah not bad for a home on the highway(2018), accused her of sleeping her way to the top(2017), asked her if her six-year-old daughter knew her mom was in a “soft porn” (2017), saying she was a famewhore who’d end up aloneduring a casual daytime stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge (2010).
Supporting being a guest in Heather’s Berkshires home by saying: “Who goes to the Berkshires? Nobody goes to the Berkshires! The average price in Heather’s area is $300,000. The Berkshires is more for people who, well, can’t afford the Hamptons. Does she have a tennis court? A pool? I don’t like humble. I like nice. I like luxurious.”
Anytime Ramona is criticized using LOGIC and ACTUAL THINGS THAT HAPPENED she is stricken like a Tennessee Williams day player with a case of the shitty childhoods. This can be cured only if there is a man for her to flirt with or a party to attend. Never forget the freakout in the Berkshires that was only cured by a private plane trip to the Hamptons to hang out with Molly Sims.
Ramona has an impressive career and she’s VERY RICH BITCH. She can lift herself up without tearing everyone else down. Ramona ran her own business RMS Fashions that sold excess inventory to discount stores like TJMaxx and Ross. She told the Observer in 2008 that it was “very lucrative.”
She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, with a B.S. Degree in Business. Ramona started her professional career thirty years ago as a buyer for Macy’s, and then created her first company RMS Fashions, Inc. Her businesses include Tru Renewal skin care, True Faith Jewelry, Ramona Singer Collections on Amazon and most notably, Ramona Singer Jewelry for HSN.Ramona’s Bio from Fullscreen Direct
Ramona is out there counting. Despite her selective forgetfulness like wandering away with nice stuff and then appearing in it later with not an ounce of shame. She can remember how many date she went out with what man in the tri-state area. She’s counting your tits.
Onto the former ward of Bethenny, Paris Hilton. Licensing her name for products, especially perfume is how the quasi-heiress is really making her money. Her perfume partnership with Parlux Fragrances had grossed $2 billion as of 2014. Paris has been at the perfume game for over a decade now. The same company manufactures and distributes fragrances for Rihanna, Jessica Simpson, Sofia Vergara & Jay-Z as well as fashion lines Jason Wu, Vince Camuto and Tommy Bahama.
Private label includes those hundreds of Instagram boutiques featuring the same clothes that can be found on AliExpress for one-third of the price. They tend to be drop-shipped from the manufacturer. With a Shopify store and a few plugins and a lot of marketing know how you can make a little money with an Instagram boutique with clothing that will take 2-3 weeks to get to your clients via China Post drop shipping.
Kylie Cosmetics, the brand that landed Kylie Jenner on the cover of Forbes, controversially as the “youngest self-made female billionaire,” is made by ColorPop cosmetics, something that beauty sleuths were onto for a while because of their formulation similarities. Colourpop’s market and Kylie’s market overlap but Kylie has the built-in audience. There is a significant price difference, but they’re paying extra for the Kylie-aspirational brand. I know grown adults with the Kylie lip kits. It’s a cultural zeitgeisty impulse purchase, you’re buying color trends curated by Kylie, you’re buying a part of the Kardashian adjacent dynasty.
Back to the housewives. Never forget Gretchen Rossi’s original line of PVC-laden suburban Ivanka Trump Lover looking purses. They now look more like trendy Forever 21-style bags and are described as “Full Grain Vegan Leather” with 14K plated hardware. Is that why they’re around $179 ? For around that price you can get a decent nylon satchel from noted brand Longchamp or for half that price comparable vegan leather bags from some curated brands at Nordstroms.
RIP Gretchen Christine Beauté her private labelmakeup brand that was exposed due to a failed business partnership. Her brand Gretchen Christine International has been bought by an unnamed major beauty brand because of her special relationship with God, so suck it, haters.
I feel more of a connection to Lynn Curtin Cuffs and her identity as a true “maker” as I saw her glue gun them herself.