Bethenny Frankel reflects on her business empire, Skinnygirl's future: 'I like that blood, sweat, tears'
The entrepreneur, who has a net worth of a reported $80 million, wrote a new book titled, 'Business is Personal: The Truth About What it Takes to Be Successful While Staying True to Yourself'
When it comes to leading a thriving business, Bethenny Frankel is keeping it real.
The entrepreneur, philanthropist, author and producer, who introduced the Skinnygirl margarita to the "Real Housewives of New York City," is sharing her no-nonsense advice in a new book titled "Business is Personal." It shares her strategies and how they worked for her over the years and how they can jumpstart new dreams today.
The 51-year-old’s Skinnygirl margarita, a low-calorie pre-made cocktail, launched a thriving product line that she sold in 2013 for a reported $120 million. She has a net worth of a reported $80 million.
Today, the star hosts the podcast "Just B With Bethenny Frankel" and leads BStrong, a disaster relief initiative that partners with Global Empowerment Mission.
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Frankel spoke to FOX Business about why she wrote her latest book, the most important advice she would give to someone ready to start fresh and how she feels about the term "Skinnygirl" in 2022.'
FOX Business: What inspired you to write "Business is Personal" now?
Bethenny Frankel: I usually write when something's pouring out of me, there's something I need to share. I've become a serious business person. I've succeeded, I've failed. I've been through a lot. Now I have a story to tell that is very accessible and digestible. And, as Gayle King said, it's for anyone who is just starting and wants to start a business. It's just good, real, practical advice to get on the road and start a business.
FOX Business: What's the biggest mistake you feel people are making these days in their careers and how can they avoid it?
Frankel: Well, the biggest mistake people are making is being afraid of making mistakes and being under the impression that they have to know everything.
You'll learn from every step you take. You'll learn from every mistake you make. You've got to get on the road to know which direction you should be going in and whether you should be switching directions. You can't know if a recipe works until you start playing around with it in the kitchen. Things will happen.
FOX Business: Early on in your career, you wore two hats that would surprise some people today: a nanny to the Hilton sisters and an assistant to film producer Jerry Bruckheimer. What was the biggest lesson that you took away from both of those roles?
Frankel: The details, organization, the importance of following through. The small things are all important. The details are important. Less so with Kathy [Hilton] and [her daughters] Paris and Nicky, than with Jerry Bruckheimer. He's meticulous. It was just different. With her, I was taking them to and from school and just helping out. He was running a major empire. A little different.
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FOX Business: BStrong has done a lot of work this year involving the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Could you recall that moment when you first realized, "I have to get involved?"
Frankel: It's like everything else. It's the same thing as a business. You see something, it inspires you, you want to get involved, you want to build on it, you have an idea. That's how relief work started for me from the very beginning, where I just saw something and decided to help and then developed the skill set. Then I saw the next thing, and I decided to help. And then I built it bigger.
Now, this is a 125 million-plus effort in Ukraine, Poland and Hungary, and it's because you just keep building. You're not supposed to know how to do everything the first time. That's why I say people get stuck in the process. That's why I say you have to just get on the road and try something.
FOX Business: If someone were to sit down with you and say, "After the last two years, I want a fresh start, but I don't know where to begin. I don't know what to do exactly. I just know I'm ready for it," what would you tell them and why?
Frankel: There’s no perfect process. You have to get on the road. You cannot be stuck in a business plan. It may not be working. You have to shift your course. If you can't get through the door, you go through the window. It's like the ocean. You could go out there and think you're going to surf all the waves, and then it's flat. All of a sudden, a big wave can come in. But you have to be prepared for when that wave comes in and not just thinking about what's not coming. You could go out there and it could be very, very rough and you got to just survive. Every day is different.
FOX Business: What's exciting you today as an entrepreneur?
Frankel: After having done this for so long, the validation — that I'm on the other side of this. I can tell everybody that it takes hard work, it takes one foot in front of the other every day. I've been through the dumpsters, I've been through the garbage and I like that blood, sweat, tears. I like the grit. I like knowing that it's paid off. It's not something you did for one day.
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You do something one week that's successful, then you do something next week that's a failure. Then you do something two weeks later, that's successful, then next year or something else. It's those layers that build a career. It's those layers that mean if you do one bad thing, it doesn't take you down because you've done so many good things because you have street cred, you've got experience. It's the institutional knowledge. I like this moment of being able to explain to people how it's possible for them.
I'm doing what I want to do now. I don't need to do anything now. I'm not hungry in any way whatsoever, except to do what I'm doing very well. That's my only goal. I get to help other people now and explain to them, but I don't have any big ... I'm not trying to be anything. I'm not trying to get anything, do anything. I'm happy with my process.
FOX Business: Reality TV certainly helped in introducing the world to the Skinnygirl margarita, which led to a successful brand. Do you think reality TV helps or hurts businesses in 2022?
Frankel: Reality TV is an extension of social media at this point, and it can hurt a business because everybody's so vocal and making things viral or could be a viral failure. It's also like the ocean, you can't play games with it. You can't think it's going to be a guaranteed success.
You have to have something to back it up, but that exposure could also come back and hit you like a boomerang. Also, it doesn't have to move the needle that much either. If you have a good brand and if you have a good work ethic, then you'll be successful whether you have reality TV or not. It just might take a little longer.
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FOX Business: How are you addressing the possibility that the term "Skinnygirl" can be seen as negative, especially in the body-positive space?
Frankel: The Skinnygirl brand was started with a low-calorie cocktail, and it allows people to indulge and not feel guilt. That's the same thing with the salad dressings and the popcorn and the preserves being low sugar. I'm absolutely fine with the name in food. I think it's a great name for food and shapewear, too.
Where it gets tricky is in swim, which I'm launching. I specifically named that brand Bethenny because I don't want the word Skinnygirl associated with swimwear because it's such an emotional purchase. Anybody who's read my books knows that I think diet is a four-letter word and that you should never discuss, "I was good, I was bad." My entire platform has always been about allowing and indulging, just having a better relationship with food.
FOX Business: What do you hope readers will take away from your book, especially those who want to revamp their careers?
Frankel: Take a fresh look at it. Think about what moves you, what motivates you. Start with that and start doing it. If you have to moonlight because you have bills to pay and you have security, then you moonlight, you just make it work. You start going towards the thing that you love, and you'll end up being able to make it into a success if you're passionate about it, and if you find a creative and methodical way to find an in.