The ‘Real Housewives of New York’ star and SkinnyGirl mogul talks equal pay, getting ahead at work and building a million dollar brand with Moneyish
Stay in your own lane.
That’s candid business, work and life advice from Bethenny Frankel, the 47-year-old star of “Real Housewives of New York” and the self-made entrepreneur behind Skinnygirl Cocktails, a line of low-calorie drinks marketed as the first alcoholic beverage for women, that she sold for $100 million.
“I genuinely believe in ‘stay in your own lane.’ If you’re looking at your co-worker, you’re worrying about what they’re doing versus what you’re doing, which means you’re not getting ahead, you’re falling behind,” Frankel tells Moneyish.
The Queens, New York-born reality star is known for her no-nonsense attitude and “what you see, is what you get” personality fans know and love. And when it comes to negotiating business deals, she is equally unfiltered. Frankel kept the rights to her brand’s name “Skinnygirl” when she sold it to liquor company Beam Global and has since expanded it with a clothing line of jeans and tops due out this fall. She also helps fellow entrepreneurs get their products off the ground as a guest on “Shark Tank,” a reality show for inventors to pitch their businesses in hopes of getting funding.
“Not having a filter has helped me in business because I’m on a show and in a format where that is embraced,” she says at an event in New York City promoting Febreze and its new Super Bowl ad #BleepDon’tStink.
“[In business] you still have to always ride the line. I sometimes cross it. I also think that I’m very specific and direct — I say what I mean, and I mean what I say, and I think that’s refreshing now because I think people are very politically correct and scared. Everybody is careful about the things that they say and I understand that, but I think you have to be able to get your point across. It’s just who I am. I don’t take myself seriously,” she says.
And when it comes to giving women advice in the workplace on hot button issues like equal pay, Frankel says it’s important to take gender out of the conversation, and instead make it about the job you’re delivering and why you’re worth XYZ.
“I don’t make it a female or male conversation, [you say] I need to be getting paid this amount because I know what I’m delivering,” she says.
“I don’t often look at what other people are doing or getting paid, I know what I want to get paid and that’s what I worry about.”
For those who are trying to build their own business or launch a product or concept, Frankel stresses it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew.
“Do one thing at a time,” she says. “Most people think they have one big thing and expand it and that’s how you get sucked down the drain. Put your foot in the pool slowly.”
Philanthropy and giving back has been her latest focus. Following a trip to Mexico last year to help earthquake victims, Frankel made it her mission to respond to the devastating aftermath of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico where she chartered four planes filled with 20,000 pounds of medical and survival supplies like water, canned foods and gift cards. When asked if she could see herself getting political as her next platform, Frankel hasn’t ruled it out.
“I find that many people getting into politics, many times it’s a vanity play and it’s campaigning and kissing babies, that’s not really my personality. I don’t know that much about politics. If someone calls me and says come on down to Gracie Mansion there’s an opening and we think you’re the only one who can do it, then yeah, maybe I’ll do it.”
© 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved