These days there’s no ‘normal’ route to success. Not only do we live in a world of instant gratification but we live in a world of easy access to people’s lives. As part of generation Instagram, our addiction to and love for reality tv has only grown stronger over the course of the last few years which, combined with the increasing popularity of side-hustles and entrepreneurship has produced a lot of celebrities making the most of newly accessible platforms to build their businesses.
And so we enter into the generation of reality tv stars turned entrepreneurs.
A.KA The Royal family of reality tv.
In 2017, it was speculated that the net worth of the women of the family sits at a collective $122.5 million. However, that was before the recent news broke of youngest, Kylie Jenner’s success who, as predicted by Forbes, is on track to become the youngest self-made billionaire. Her wealth sets her ahead of Mark Zuckerberg who became a millionaire aged 23. The 21 year old has successfully built a $900 million fortune in cosmetics in less than three years so like ’em or loathe ’em, it may be time to learn from these unstoppable women.
Between the five of them, they’re no strangers to entrepreneurship. Not only do they have the hugely successful TV show but until recently, the three oldest sisters – Kourtney, Kim and Khloe – owned clothing store, DASH – the same clothing store we watched them launch, develop and on occasion, almost kill each other over early on in the show.
Kim explored her entrepreneurial spirit through her social media skills when in 2015, she launched Kimojis – her own range of emojis that feature cartoons of her famed derriere, contoured face, love of selfies and of course, her famous ‘ugly crying face’. Then came her most lucrative exploit yet, KKW Beauty which currently accounts for a large portion of her $350 million net worth.
Khloe flexed her entrepreneurial muscles when she launched her denim line, Good American, garnering success by addressing a market need that had long been ignored and offering sizes 0-24 within her range. The brand is inclusive of sizes overlooked by mainstream brands who had previously excluded plus-sized women flocking to Good American and uncovering a new market.
Kris Jenner, Kardashian-Jenner matriarch, skilfully brought her family to a lot of the prominence they now thrive on when she made their first ever business decision on their behalf and put the entire family front and centre on tv. Over the years she’s combined motherly instincts to protect with her often underestimated business mind to turn all potential scandals into opportunities. She found a way to grab every potential opening for her kids and follow it through to successful execution.
The hidden talents of The Hills
It’s hard to believe the it’s been over ten years since MTV graced us with The Hills. The series offered arguably one of the most important introductory crash courses to life in your twenties and living it up in Los Angeles. Now, ten years on the girls that taught us never to turn down Paris, that boys are never worth the drama and that wearing combat boots to the beach is never an acceptable fashion choice, have all blossomed into inspiring women, living their entrepreneurial lives to the fullest.
Blogger, chef, wellness entrepreneur, podcast host, oh and of course, reality TV star – you name it, this girl’s impressive CV covers it. This reality TV star turned entrepreneur may have started her career on The Hills but since then she’s worked hard to achieve and maintain a wide range of success. Off the back of The Hills heartbreaking end in 2010, Lo launched her blog, The Lo Down by Lo Bosworth, a health, wellness and lifestyle site where Lo encourages her readers to live their most authentic lives.
In 2015, Lo launched into the podcasting world with BFFs Jilly Hendrix (who also held a cameo role in The Hills) and Greta Titelman. During the still thriving podcast show, the three women gather around to answer listener questions and interview guests, tackling relationship issues, career concerns and taking on all of the female topics we’re all a little too embarrassed to approach. It’s a lot like having a heart-to-heart with the big sisters you’ve never had.
Then came Love Wellness, her feminine hygiene company that launched in 2016. The brand boasts a range of products from pH-balancing wipes, cleansers, moisturisers and infection-halting supplements, all of which are contained within chic and discreet packaging.
Similar to her previously mentioned co-star, LC has come a long way since her reality tv star beginnings. She’s written several books, launched a lifestyle blog, a clothing line with Kohls and online stores. One of these stores, The Little Market, sells fair-trade goods from women artisans and entrepreneurs and features items from 40 groups and 17 countries including Kenya and Guatemala and is currently in its fifth year of business.
This reality TV star turned entrepreneur even found herself on the Forbes 30 under 30 list back in 2016.
We should have known the same ruthless and driven attitude that landed her a role as LC’s rival and replacement would also bring her success in the business world. Once the cameras stopped rolling so did Kristin’s involvement in the drama and instead she shifted her focus to becoming a businesswoman.
Her first business venture took shape as a collaborative shoe line with Chinese Laundry which proved a huge success in Nordstrom and for the Chinese Laundry brand. She then made the leap into solo entrepreneurship with her jewellery and lifestyle brand, Uncommon James. In less than a year since launching, Cavallari has built a team of 15 employees and has just opened her first brick and mortar store in her current hometown, Nashville, Tennessee – the opening of which is due to air on the season finale of her own E! reality tv series, Very Cavallari.
Earlier this year the star turned entrepreneur released her first cookbook, True Roots, a recipe book that reflects on how she eats on a daily basis and went on to score her third place on the New York Time Bestseller list.
The Real Housewives Business Moguls
In between wreaking havoc at each other’s dinner parties, some of Bravo’s Real Housewives have been busy launching businesses over the years. Technically, not all of these businesses were launched following (or during) their participation on the shows. Some existed prior to their Real Housewives days, however the show’s exposure certainly helped their businesses grow.
Queen of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Lisa Vanderpump and her husband, Ken have been successful restauranteurs since long before they first took to the reality tv scene while previously based in their native UK. Upon moving stateside the pair now run three successful restaurants in Beverly Hills – Sur, Villa Blanca and Pump. Now to be added to the already extensive list is Lisa’s more recent business venture, West Hollywood bar, Tom Tom, created with Vanderpump Rules stars, Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz earlier this summer. Which brings us to Vanderpump Rules – Lisa’s own spinoff show from her days on the RHOBH, that follows the lives and drama of her staff at SUR while Lisa looks on as their boss and matriarch.
Not bad for reality tv fame.
Bethenny launched her Skinnygirl cocktail line during her time on the Real Housewives of NYC. She joined the show as an underdog, recognising the power that this platform could have in catapulting her to financial freedom, all while struggling to make ends meet just to be on the show. The show gave her free PR to take her business to the next level which later led to Frankel selling the brand to Beam Global in 2011. Upon selling, she retained the intellectual property for the name ‘Skinnygirl’ meaning she was able to build the brand through other horizontals, making the most of the marketing spend and support Beam Global was putting into the Skinnygirl cocktails. Frankel’s Skinnygirl line now includes hummus, dips and salsas, nutrition bars, supplements, shapewear and even a children’s book.
Regardless of your opinions on reality tv, these women are clued in and have found a way to turn viewers into customers over the years. Clearly they’re doing something right.