How the Kardashians Made $65 Million Last Year

2:42 PM PST 02/16/2011 by Judith Newman, Leslie Bruce
Page 4
Andrew Southam

Twitter, endorsements, paid appearances, fragrances: the new issue of the Hollywood Reporter magazine goes in depth with mom and manager Kris Jenner about the inventive – and controversial – ways she’s monetized reality fame for her family.

Kim now charges as much as $25,000 to simply mention and link to a brand or company in a tweet. It’s so effective a tool that businesses have begun including Twitter clauses in their contracts with the family, committing the girls to a set number of tweets about their product.

“I see a Twitter clause in almost every contract,” says APA’s Brian Dow, who works with the family on the majority of their commercial interests (WME represents the Kardashians as their talent agents). “It’s like having a photo run in a magazine. It’s another impression for a brand and another medium.”

So how is business, Kris Jenner-style, done? Two years ago, she met Keith Frankel, the CEO of nutritional product manufacturer Vitaquest. The pair soon entered into discussions with QuickTrim about a line of diet supplements and shakes. Before going any further, Kris had Kim and Khloe test the product. Khloe lost 25 pounds. “Khloe needed to go on a diet, and Kim wanted to lose a few pounds. Kourtney was pregnant, so she couldn’t participate,” Kris says.

Frankel brought his distribution contacts at GNC, Walmart and Walgreens. Kris brought her girls. QuickTrim launched in October 2009 and has since spawned $45 million in sales.

Kris recently also signed on with Kim in the new deal with Skechers. The campaign, Skechers’ biggest and most expensive to date, features both. The multimillion-dollar deal was ironed out in about a week. Says Skechers’ Armato: “Kris gets to the point and says, ‘This is what I need for this to work for me.’ She’s no-nonsense, direct and honest.”           

Kris has similarly taken charge of her daughters’ public face time. “The first year, my goal was making more of their personal appearances, which can be very lucrative. I can book those girls every day of the week somewhere. So the goal was to raise the bar financially and have fewer of them.”

According to a high-profile talent wrangler, Kim commands a personal appearance fee of $100,000 to $250,000 per event, and can even demand up to $1 million internationally. It’s been rumored that Kim signed a seven-figure deal with a Las Vegas club owner for a handful of 2011 appearances. (Kris will not confirm.) “Kim sells,” a nightlife source says. “You can have every celebrity under the sun at a venue across town, but if you have Kim Kardashian at your event, those are the pictures that are going to be everywhere.”

Kris also has a more-is-more policy when it comes to magazine coverage. The sisters are ubiquitous, supplanting “real” stars on the cover of the glossy monthlies (Kim’s controversial November cover of W tied for the second-best seller of 2010, her September Allure cover was the glossy’s third-most popular, and her June cover of Shape marked the magazine’s best-selling issue of the year). For the weeklies, where they will discuss anything from their weight and love lives to baby-daddy issues and breakups, the family often demands a fee. Certain paparazzi agencies have agreements with the family to stage photos, sell them and split the profits. Kourtney and boyfriend Disick can — and recently did — turn an afternoon laying poolside in Cancun into a $7,500 payday.

The sisters get in the six-figure range —negotiated by Kris — for a cover story, photo op and interview, depending on the significance of the topic. News of Kourtney’s 2009 pregnancy was sold in a package deal for $300,000 to Life & Style magazine. That included multiple stories: the pregnancy announcement, sex of the baby, birth announcement, first baby photos and body-after-baby reveal. (Life & Style declined comment.)

When it came to Khloe’s marriage to Los Angeles Lakers forward Odom, she did even better. OK! Magazine received the official photos and announcement for just shy of $300,000. Kris also had everything from the Lehr & Black custom invitations to Khloe’s 9-carat engagement ring “donated” for the lavish affair; sources say she promised vendors massive product promotion that would come from the media circus surrounding the wedding. In the event that an item wasn’t gifted, E!, it is believed, picked up the tab (E! declined comment).

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