It's been less than a decade since Bethenny Frankel placed second on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart but she's packed a lifetime's worth of work into that time and become the premiere lifestyle guru for millions of woman across the globe. In addition to her Skinnygirl collection (which includes cocktails, nutritional bars and supplements), Frankel recently launched her eponymous talk show and just debuted Skinnygirl Sparklers, a line of carbonated fruit water (available in Tangerine Mango, Strawberry Lemonade, Pink Grapefruit and Pineapple Coconut).
ETonline caught up with the busier-than-ever mogul to talk about her latest endeavor, what life as a talk show host has been like and where she draws inspiration from. Plus, we got the inside scoop on the next wave of Skinnygirl products!
ETonline: What inspired this Sparklers line?
Bethenny Frankel: I wanted to do a non-alcoholic beverage, because I'm successful with an alcoholic beverage, but a lot of people ask me what they should do if they don't drink, or are at work and want something else. I've had the name Sparklers for a while; I was saving it for a special occasion. I don't drink a lot of water, and I like carbonation so it's fruit water with a fun personality. I'm really excited about it!
ETonline: You say you've had the name Sparklers for a while; do you have an enormous card catalog filled with great product names that you've already had copyrighted?
Frankel: I do. I'm pretty good with taglines too. I mean "fruit water with a fun personality" was something I just came up with a minute ago. I think Sparklers is fun and exciting and flirty and I'm thrilled.
ETonline: How did launching Sparklers compare to launching Skinnygirl cocktails?
Frankel: It's hard to find the right partner because it's a very competitive field. I can't just go ask my best friend to do this with me; because the price points aren't that high so you need massive distribution. It took me a while to find the right partner. I talked to a lot of different companies, but I fell in love with the people at Arizona. They're one of the hugest beverage companies in the world; they can flip a switch and have bottles in every supermarket, mini-mart and Target within a matter of minutes.
ETonline: And how did you decide on which flavors to include?
Frankel: You have to have variety. I would like it to be in keeping with the brand, which is innovative and different. The taste is the most important and I drive my partners to the brink with the perfection of the flavors. I'm very particular.
ETonline: What's your secret to making the most of every 24-hour day?
Frankel: It's all about timing. Sparklers has been a long time coming, it's been a while since cocktails and I have a couple of other really big announcements coming up in the next few months. We stagger them so each announcement has its own special moment. Plus, I have good people that work with me, I'm very good at delegation; delegation and execution is the key to business. Also, I'm very decisive. I don't sit here and mull things over. If a flavor isn't good, if I don't like the way a bottle looks, if a segment isn't right for the talk show, you have to move on. I'm really, really decisive and organized, so you just make a decision and keep moving.
ETonline: How has the talk show been going?
Frankel: It's become my lifestyle. The talk show has become the center and everyone around me is feeding into the hub. I tape two shows three days a week and every minute that I'm not here, I'm with my daughter. Or if she's with her father and there's some random free time, like now, I'll do interviews or approve my cocktail holiday gifts or copy for what's going on bottles or I'll just lay down and stare at the ceiling.
ETonline: Will you be writing more books?
Frankel: I have a children’s book, I will have a cocktail/hors d'oeuvres book and then I probably have one more big book in me. And then that will probably be it for a while ... until I write my memoir. I don't want to write for the sake of writing. I want to write a children's book for my child because I have a cute story I want to tell and I think it's ridiculous I wouldn't have a cocktail/hors d'oeuvres book. I have one book that's dying to come out of me in the right way and then I want to take a break. I don't want to be churning and burning things. I tackle things as they come in a quality way. It's about seeing a void I want to fill and finding a product that I want to make.
ETonline: What other areas of the marketplace do you feel are untapped?
Frankel: I have products coming in the healthy snack category, in soups, in dips, in frozen desserts, in coffee, in appliances; there are other voids, but they'll come out in due time. Everything gets its own moment, but there are some pretty big announcements coming in the New Year.
ETonline: What advice about being a businessperson would you give Bethenny Frankel, circa The Apprentice?
Frankel: Just drive. Drive and certainty and not listening to anyone telling you no. If you feel it, go get it!
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