I first visited the New York branch of Dash, Kim Kardashian’s clothing store in 2010, probably at the height of the family’s fame. Despite the fact that I could barely even afford a Dash pencil, I couldn’t help but be excited to be in the newly opened business venture from the family that could do no wrong. As I took in the rails of expensive clothing, the plush interior and the walls adorned with pictures of the Kardashian sisters, a fed-up looking security guard took pictures of excited fans inside the shop and self-important sales assistants organised the rails of clothing.
Of course, despite the footage on their reality TV show of the sisters “working” at the store, they were nowhere to be seen – they were probably already working on their next money-making scheme. That’s the power of the Kardashian name. No matter what you think of the family, you can’t deny that they’ve somehow managed to build a brand out of thin air. They’ve chosen the “constant promotion” route, meaning there’s no escaping them even if you wanted to. As a result, they’re worth millions, starring in countless reality shows and releasing perfumes, fashion lines and endorsing so many products it’s hard to keep up. Kim Kardashian, the most famous of the family, has arguably achieved the most career success, but she has also made some embarrassing mistakes which have led to a decline in her popularity. Here are her top 5 most ridiculous career errors:
1. Her marriage to Kris Humphries. This is probably the single worst thing Kim could have done for her brand. Her fans were ok with her getting married – they were not ok with only 72 days passing before she and Kris Humphries announced it was all over. To make matters worse, there had been a ridiculous blaze of publicity surrounding the ill-fated wedding. There was that 4 hour TV special, followed by the wedding fragrance which was released specially, not forgetting the magazine deals and the wedding itself, rumoured to have cost 10 million dollars. The bitter divorce left Kim a laughingstock at best and accused of marrying for money at worst. Never before has a marriage cost a celebrity so many fans. After the debacle, Kim vowed to be more private about her love life – but of course that vow lasted about as long as the marriage did. Career lesson – Keep your business head on when it comes to love.
2. The sex tape. This infamous tape, which was made with ex-boyfriend Ray J, was “leaked” online when Kim was just beginning to become a household name. It humiliated the family and caused Kim to sue Vivid Entertainment over the whole, although she ended up settling for $5 million dollars. The more cynical amongst us wondered if the whole thing had been manufactured, as by an amazing coincidence, the deal for Kim’s reality show Keeping up with the Kardashians was signed just weeks after the tape appeared online. Kim has always denied this and insists the tape was a mistake. Although it did assist with her catapult to fame, it has followed her around, ruining her chances of ever being taken seriously. Career lesson – Keep your private life private, but understand that sometimes career mistakes lead to good things
3. Naming her baby North West. When Kim announced she was pregnant with new love of her life Kanye West, it seemed her fans had forgiven her for the wedding debacle and excitedly awaited news of the arrival. There was plenty of speculation about what name Kim and Kanye would pick for their daughter and whether they would keep following the tradition of “K” names. However, never one to do what is expected of her, the world was suitably shocked when she preferred to name her baby after a compass point. North West has become the most mocked name of the year, a move which has angered her haters even more and left her fans baffled. Picking a bizarre name for your child may have worked for Beyonce, but Kim and Kanye have proved that, despite Kanye’s self-importance, it’s not something they can pull off. Career lesson - Understand that everything you do will affect your brand - and more importantly your children.
4. Endorsing too many brands. It seems like you can’t buy any product without seeing Kim’s name stamped all over it. Shoedazzle, Carls Junior, Quick Trim, you name it. Her star power gives her claim to put her name to some quality brands, but far from being discerning over what she endorses, Kim will promote anything and everything. Amongst the most ridiculous endorsements were Midori alcohol, when it’s highly publicised that she doesn’t drink alcohol, Charmin toilet paper and diet pills, which she claimed were responsible for her figure. This led to her finding herself in the middle of another legal battle after she was sued for promoting these.. Promoting everything in sight dilutes the branding message she is trying to achieve. Career lesson - Don’t say yes to everything.
5. Trying to develop talents she just doesn’t have. Does anybody remember Kim’s single, Jam? If you don’t, it’s probably for the best. Jim Farber, writing for Daily News described it as “a dead brained piece of generic dance music” and never one to mince his words, labelled Kim “the worst singer in the reality TV universe.” The only good thing about this sorry mess was that the proceeds went to charity. Kim also tried her hand at dancing, signing up to be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, but yet again she did embarrassingly poorly when she and was voted out in the second week. Dancing is not her strong point, and she was even asked to leave the stage at a Prince concert. Her attempts at acting have also gone down badly, exposing her acting talents as non-existent. Career lesson - Stick to what you’re good at (the only problem is, in Kim’s case, what is it she is good at?).
Kim will be the first to admit she’s made some pretty horrific career errors. However, she doesn’t let it get her down. She’s made an estimated $22 million, so it seems she’s laughing all the way to the bank. To quote Kim, “You make mistakes, but I don’t have any regrets. I’m the kind of person who takes responsibility for mistakes and deals with them.” Is Kim Kardashian a smart businesswoman or a fame-hungry, untalented wannabe making a spectacle of herself on TV? The jury is out.