-- As told to Maria Aspan
You sold the Skinnygirl name to Beam Suntory--only for alcohol products. How did you hold onto the brand for everything else?
When Beam was interested, I thought: When Grey Goose sold, that was it. Now the company can't go make Grey Goose lip gloss or dresses. And this is Skinnygirl--she could do so many different things. Beam is a liquor company; the only reason it would want the rest of Skinnygirl is to control the way that I use it. So I have to have a trusting relationship with these people, and I have to let them know that I won't ruin the brand by doing irresponsible things.
What's your biggest regret?
When Skinnygirl first started out, I had these individual packets of green juice cleanses. We got into a big-box retailer, but we had only one SKU. My partner was very excited, but I didn't think we should go in there--if we have one product, it's just going to sit there lonely on some shelf and no one's going to see it. That's what happened, and we ended up discontinuing it. I've been drinking green juices for years, and now, all of a sudden, every deli has green juices.
You had a healthy-baking business on The Apprentice in 2005, and you started Skinnygirl on Real Housewives. When is the right time to try to get your business on TV?
A lot of people on reality TV are promoting something that isn't even in stores yet. People don't care unless they can go buy it--so if you're going on Shark Tank, make sure your product is available. When I was on The Apprentice, I had a cookie business, but my manufacturing wasn't up to par and I didn't really have distribution. I talked about my business on the show--and what did I sell, a couple of cookies online? TV can be fool's gold: It's a great leg up, but you need to be completely ready. Timing is important. Execution is important. It's kind of like Hillary Clinton being the representative for women. If she makes it into the White House, she needs to do a great job, or we won't be invited back for a long time.