Lauren Conrad's Branding Strategy: "Tchotchkes, Trinkets, and Trash"

The Hills reality mini-star Lauren Conrad is on the cover of US Weekly and the Wall Street Journal in the same week! (Which one do you think she is more excited about?) From the WSJ: "Lauren Conrad is famous for being on a reality show. But what she really wants is to run a merchandising empire." Literally: she's hired, like, a whole team of people to brand her. The problem, though? People don't take her seriously! (She goes on to hang herself in front of the reporter, asking somebody, "How do you spell 'beret'?") Then Kate White, editor of Cosmopolitan, explains why little LC will never be chosen for the cover of their magazine:

"Playing yourself on reality television isn't to our readers the level of accomplishment that you need to have on the cover of Cosmo." Dayyum. What level of accomplishment do you need to have?

A reality star's life might seem like a slapdash affair, marked by ups such as overpriced clothing lines and downs such as her exploits exposed on The Hills. In fact, in takes a whole team of people to do this kind of work, especially since MTV does not, as a rule, promote her non-Hills enterprises.

Since 2006, Ms. Conrad has signed up for deals with a toy company, a leather-goods maker and a cosmetics line. Ms. Conrad's team says it has refused a number of other offers, including a jewelry-licensing deal with a home shopping network. A department store offered to pay a six-figure fee to put her name on a clothing line but wouldn't give her any design input. "I wanted to have full creative power," she says.


To help her get her current clothing line, MTV approached Steve Friedman, the owner of Tangerine Promotions in suburban Chicago. The firm specializes in "tchotchkes, trinkets and trash" with company logos, he says, and MTV is one of his biggest clients. Although Tangerine has no experience in contemporary women's apparel, Mr. Friedman agreed to team up with MTV. The two companies share the financial risk.
Selling Lauren Conrad [WSJ]