Sonja fans get ready – we have updates on her international fashion lifestyle brand!
Ms. Morgan recently spoke with Forbes to discuss her upcoming alcohol line, her fashion collection and of course those infamous interns she hires!
On her fashion line Sonja shares:
“My Sonja Morgan New York collection has fashion, jewelry and swimwear.
I’m waiting for my Fall 2016 collection to come in. If you know fashion, that’s a little late, but it’s only my second collection. So that’s normal when you’re starting out.
We’re looking at implementing the feedback from the launch of the brand. You know I launched it last season. My customers wants more moderately priced items, which is normal, my price range was from $200 to $1200. I do couture. Social media has really helped with feedback. I can tell from my website, too. We can go by people who put stuff into their shopping carts but then they don’t buy and then they email us their comments. They are looking for moderately priced items, and tell us we need more plus sizes.”
I’m assuming most of her clients your average RHONY fans (not upper crest NY socialites). I think she needs to bring down her price point to more of the Lisa Rinna collection – girl knows how to identify her client base and market to them!
Sonja agrees that RHONY fans are part of her target audience saying, “I do have a lot of RHONY viewers who buy my collection because they’re ready, willing and able” . In my opinion she should have stopped with that statement as she went into classic delusional Sonja land shortly after:
“But, I wouldn’t say they’re the only ones buying because before the show I had an international presence. I used to be a model, and I did some acting and I did philanthropy in a big way. I worked as a luxury brand consultant, and I opened restaurants across the country and I threw parties across the world. I already had a fashionable crowd in my clique of high net worth individuals on my client list that would come to my restaurants and jet set parties wherever I would open a hot spot or represent a luxury brand. So I already had that list. To sell $1200 gowns, you don’t have to sell that many to do your first collection. But, going forward, I need more plus sizes and moderately priced items.”
On why she joined the show and if her business plan was part of it:
“I definitely didn’t go on to entertain, which is very funny because it turns out I’m very entertaining on the show. Many people have told me my product is my personality on the show. I’ve been on the show for almost eight years and it took me a long time to develop my quality product, because I didn’t want to just do a licensing deal. I didn’t want to just put my name on someone else’s product. I wanted to be the owner and that takes much longer.”
On what everyone wants to know – when will we see that toaster oven??
“Oh yeah, it’s always been in the works. I clearly have a prototype made, which you saw on the show. What was initially started with Heather on the show was getting a brand ID and a logo.
After that was said and done on the show, I worked with an FIT professor to really do my brand and logo. To do a logo, you have to know who you are, what your brand is and what you represent. I am an alumnus of FIT and this professor very clearly told me, “You are a fashion lifestyle brand. You went to FIT and you are marketing a luxury fashion brand. You managed boutiques.” You know, I was an owner of boutiques, and he was like, “You cant start with a toaster, or you’ll be toasted right there.”
Sonja added her heroes into the interview saying “Of course, I idolize people like Martha Stewart and Bethenny Frankel and the way they’ve grown their companies through media and a very strong brand ID.”
On if she plans to stay on the hit show:
“I feel like I don’t bring the drama, I’m more of the peacemaker. I like to see the sides of everyone’s story, and I don’t like arguing. I do feel my humor kind of breaks up the drama and my real approach to life inspires people. My philanthropy has been highlighted on the show and that’s one of the greatest things for me. I would say being able to support my philanthropic ventures, which are animals, LGBT, artists and children, is one of my great accomplishments. I’ve met so many wonderful people through my charities, and that fits right in with my Sonja in the City company. I love to entertain and raise money, and the show has been the perfect medium for that. So, as long as that is working out for me, I’ll continue to do it. I’m very grateful to Bravo and NBC.”
Sonja also touched on the Bethenny/alcohol line feud sharing “I’m very close with Bethenny, and she’s not thrilled with the name because she thinks it sounds like Skinny Girl even though I’m selling a totally different product. Bethenny’s is a healthy, low calorie drink, and I’m doing a full calorie tipsy drink. I’m doing a regular alcohol. And, I’m different from her, I’m tipsy and she’s skinny.
So I’m at a crossroad with that right now. As with any of my products, I’m not going to just jump in. I do things long-term and own a piece of everything. I don’t have to go for the brass ring. I’ll take my time and do it right for my long term success and for my team.”
Sonja also shared how you young students can get a turn at her coveted internship position:
“I work with different schools and the first thing I look at is GPA. Then I look at what charities they’re involved with and see if they’re interested in LGBT rights, artists, animals, etc.
Then, I check their professional interests. Are they into law, fashion, communications or entertainment? But, I always steer clear of actors, because they might just be trying to get camera time on the show.
My interns get experience behind the scenes, and they get academic credit and resume building material.
Some of my interns who were fashion students went on to do events for fashion, and other interns went into event planning. I plan all of the RHONY premier parties, so they get to help with that. I have so much gratitude that I get to work with my interns. I mean, they are the best of the best. Anyone can hold a pocketbook or walk a dog; my interns are here to learn from the Sonja School of Hard Knocks.”
It was quite the interview and Sonja definitely does NOT hold back. What were your thoughts? Do you think she should change the product name for Bethenny? Do you want to see the toaster oven come to life??