The news sites and celebrities blog are all abuzz today announcing that the Kardashians made $65 million in 2010. Love them or hate them, that is some serious cash.
Yes, many eyebrows are raised with the continuous relevance of the Kardashians, and how they are able to stretch their 15 minutes of fame into such a lucrative venture.
Second daughter Kim Kardashian started out as a BFF and constant companion of socialite/heiress Paris Hilton. Plus, they share a commonality: a sex tape that furthered their fame. But Kim managed to do the unthinkable: surpass Hilton. In fact, in 2010, she was the fourth-most-Googled person in 2010 (behind Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and Selena Gomez).
The Kardashians are composed of the children – Kourtney, 31, Kim, 30, Khloe, 26, Robert, 23, Kendall, 15, and Kylie, 13 – and mom Kris Jenner who is married to Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner. Mom is their manager.
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They started with a reality show featuring the family on E! called “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”, which have become a huge success for the cable network. Since the show was launched in 2007, they have launched two spin-offs: “Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami” and “Kourtney and Kim Take New York.” The Kardashian’s reality shows are a big success for E! that a fourth one might be forthcoming.
Today, Kim commands a personal appearance fee of $100,000 to $250,000 per event. The sisters also command six-figures for cover story, photo op and interview. The family has proven to be a solid cash cow.
The family is regarded as having “no exceptional talent – other than looks, exhibitionism and inability to self-censor.” So how did they manage to earn that huge amount of money last year?
It all starts with the mom, who is getting the reputation for her business savvies and ability to spot opportunities. She is recognized as the “branding mastermind” who has steered her family to extend their 15-minutes of fame.
In the interview with HollywoodReporter.com , there are a number of business lessons we can learn from the Kardashians:
1. Kris learned and listened closely to successful entrepreneurs.
Kris’ first husband was Robert Kardashians, whose family is described as “the Armenian version of the Rockefellers.” Kris apparently became close to Robert’s mother who was a very smart business woman. She listened and learned from Robert’s parents.
2. She aligned her family with businesses that are successful.
In addition to their reality TV show, the Kardashians are also endorsers of a wide variety of products and own a number of ventures. The three older Kardashian sisters co-own a clothing boutique called D-A-S-H, and their clothing line K-DASH was also made available in the highly popular shopping network QVC. They have also released a sunless tanner called Kardashian Glamour Tan available in Sephora. They have created their own perfumes, with Kim’s fragrance becoming Sephora’s #1 bestseller last year. They have also endorsed various fitness products from diet pill Quicktrim to Skechers Shape-ups. They even endorsed a debit card, though they pulled out after much brouhaha was raised over alleged fees.
3. Kris is a “lets make water into wine” type of person.
She has the talent to spot opportunities and potential of her family. It all started with her second husband Jenner, who was doing a little motivational speaking and lots of golf. She rebranded Jenner and became the overseer of his motivational speaking career. As her daughter Khloe explains:
“She knows how to take one small talent or ability and grow it into something huge. That’s what she did with Bruce. He would have been happy to spend the rest of his life golfing, and that’s what she did with us.
4. She knows when she needs help.
Even the savviest entrepreneurs know their limitations and reach out to other people to help them. With Kris, this came when the sex tape of her daughter Kim came out. She knew this was a problem beyond her capabilities so she hired a crisis communications expert. As she said in the interview:
“I was way out of my league. I would never think I knew enough to care for a situation like that. What’s that Kenny Rogers line? ‘You got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. All I knew what that I had to make some lemonade out of these lemons fast. Real fast.”
And lemonade indeed — the video earned for her daughter about $5 million, and it put Kim on the map.
5. They understood the power of social media.
Social networking helped the Kardashians catapult beyond the confines of reality TV. Kim has about 6.3 million Twitter followers and 4.3 million in terms of Facebook likes. As Kim explained,
“I have a blog that has 40 million hits a month. People leave comments: What shoes do you wear, and what lip gloss do you use? My mom told us, ‘So why not be a brand for our fans and give them what they want? Many of our ideas [about what to endorse] come from our fans and then our mother makes it happen.”
Mom-manager Kris’ motto is: Find out what you love to do in your life and then figure out a way to get paid for it. And whether you love her family or not (or not even care), the Kardashians sure found a way to get paid a lot from doing what they love.