By: Joe Leck, guest blogger
It use to be, that Hollywood starlets would spend their time on either the silver screen, or in front of the flashing of camera bulbs in order to bring in the big bucks.
By doing so, they have branded themselves in the same way that companies brand their products or services.
It is becoming a common practice that celebrities are now using their branded names and faces to branch out of Hollywood and into the world of Business. These transitions from the paychecks that would traditionally be signed by big productions studios are now allowing individuals to set off on their own entrepreneurship endeavors.
Melissa Rivers, not only a brilliant business woman and devoted mother, most known for her work with E!, just recently launched Shoparatti.com as Editor-in-Chief, a website which promises to make the everyday shopper’s life easier.
Rivers and her editors scan hundreds of daily deals items and services that are available online through special discount websites.
After finding only the most fashionable, and appealing deals of the day, Rivers shares her top picks with consumers via the website.
You may also sign up to receive the daily deals by e-mail, and then unsubscribe from the dozens of other discount websites, such as Groupon and LivingSocial, essentially cutting out the middle man in the daily deal hunt.
I reached out to Melissa via Twitter, fishing for a comment to use… what came from it was much more than just a comment.
Melissa gave me the opportunity to snag my very own Q&A Interview with her about the site; enjoy!
JL: How was the idea of Shoparatti presented to you?
MR: My Friend Gregg Alexanderâ€™s wife came up with the core of the idea, too many daily deal sites emailing daily. I love a deal and get those same emails, but deleted them all. The idea was what if there was a trusted editor that could pick the very best deals for you. I jumped and said, I love a deal I can do that!
JL: What makes Shoparatti the first of its kind among aggregators?
MR: Itâ€™s real humans, stylists, and trend setters looking for the deals and presenting them in very simple way. On Facebook, on our site and on our mobile app.
JL: How long did it take to develop?
MR: The site might look simple, but itâ€™s totally socially engaged. Each deal is FB / Twitter Sharable. The Bottom RSS portion features â€œSmart Technologyâ€ to each cityâ€™s deals from Groupon, Living Social and 40 others are Graded. Low scoring words like â€œLap Bandâ€ or â€œLasicâ€ get low scores and are not displayed, where as High value titles like name Name Brands, or services like massage score high and come up.
JL: What difficulties or set backs have you experienced thus far?
MR: Sometimes items sell out so fast, we usually catch it, but our over 15k in people whoâ€™ve â€œliked usâ€ on FB and 6k on Twitter â€œcrowd sourceâ€ us, lol. They let us know quickly if an item is sold out. We always have two back up deals ready to go.
JL: What do you hope to achieve with the site?
MR: We want to be the Curators of Daily Deals, trusted by users to do the work for them.
JL: Your mother has been a longtime successful business woman, namely with her jewelry and beauty lines on QVC, did she offer you any useful business advice?
MR: According to my mother, all of her advice is useful. The truth is she has a great instinct for what consumers want, so I always take her advice rather seriously. She is very smart and savvy as a business woman.
JL: You’re popularly known for your work with E!’s Fashion Police; do you feel your background in fashion gives you a stronger eye for a “steal of a deal”?
MR: Absolutely! I have always loved great deals. One thing that drives me crazy is that I know how much things actually cost to make and what the mark ups are, so when I see a great deal I am all over it.
JL: What are three things you have learned about yourself as a business woman, whether it be with Shoparatti, Fashion Police, or any other venture?
MR: The Most important thing I have ever learned is that you can always learn moreâ€¦no one knows everything. Number twoâ€¦if you donâ€™t believe in a product or project 100% it will not be successful.You have to be confident in product to get out there and sell it. And third, I donâ€™t get enough sleep or drink enough water.
JL: We connected through Twitter; how do you feel about social media space?
MR: We are doing great, 15k in likes in a week and thatâ€™s how we communicate with our members. So, itâ€™s not only important, itâ€™s key to our success.
JL: If there was one thing you wish more people knew about you, what would it be?
MR: That my son Cooper is always the number one priority in my life.
But this, of course, is just on example of Hollywood going business. Some others include:
Joan Rivers, mother of Melissa, has also been a long time businesswoman, working closely with QVC, selling a very successful line of jewelry and beauty products.
Her on-air poise, chamming connection with call-in customers, and visually appealing fashion designs have produced more than $800 million in sales over the last 20 years, according to a profile published on her last year in the NY Times.
Victoria Beckham was popularly known as Posh Spice during her reign as the fashion oriented Spice Girl in the 1990â€™s.
It seems as though fashion was a true passion to this Spice Girl seeing as how she has tapped into that branded image and is making her mark in the fashion industry as designer of her own collections. A-listers such as Jennifer Hudsen, Drew Barrymore, Heidi Klum, and Kate Winsletâ€¦ just to name a few.
Britney Spears has made a fortune just by jumping on the bandwagon and launching her own line of her perfume and department store clothing collections.
Slap the name â€˜Britney Spearsâ€™, which is an undoubtedly powerful worldwide brand, on any product and Cha-ching! Just watch the astonishing leap in sales.
Her latest fragrance to hit shelves is Radiance.
It is said that something close to two out of every three new businesses that are launched, fail within the first two years.
Hollywood is no exception for this statistic.
Letâ€™s take a look at Paris Hilton, infamous for using both her powerfully branded name and face to promote a countless amount of products.
While some have done quite well, there are others that Paris just didnâ€™t seem to put her heart into. In 2010, Hilton released a hair extension product, which featured both her face and name on the packaging. Unfortunately, the young socialite was caught using hair that belonged to a rival company.
In result, the company she partnered with to bring this product to market sued Hilton for $35 million.
Well, by wearing the competitorâ€™s product during TV and red carpet appearances, she failed to promote her product. Not good business, Paris.
Overall, it may be the â€œtrademarkedâ€ name, or the instantly recognizable Hollywood face behind the business that gives the initial appeal to the target market, however, it is the ability to successfully manage, operate, and promote the business that will give individuals longevity in the chosen ventures.
Perhaps business students and aspiring entrepreneurs can take note of some of the successful businesses that have sprouted from Hollywood roots.
(Photo Credits: WeHeartIt, Tumblr, marvelous-girl.com)
Joe Leck holds an Associate in Science for Business Administration and is currently working towards his B.S. in Marketing at the Rutgers Business School. Before relocating to attend Rutgers, he lived in the Jersey Shore where he worked as an EMT and Realtor. He loves coffee, iProducts, and the beach. Come tweet with him (@joeleck).
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