Why Kim Kardashian Is Smarter Than You Think

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As a little boy, I loved attending weddings. It was the one special day in the year that everyone got to have extravagant fun. There were sumptuous amounts of food, free flowing drinks all wrapped up in the ostentatious beauty of a heavily decorated hall splattered with lots of radiant people beaming in their best clothes. It was literally heaven on earth…that was until I hit my late twenties and then heaven started coming a bit too close to my earth. This was the period in time where close friends of mine began getting married, from secondary school classmates to college friends everyone was getting married. Even my enemies were getting married. And like anyone going through that period knows, you are hit with a plethora of questions that can be summarized in one sweet and annoying phrase “so when are you getting married?” This was really not an issue, I had trained myself in the act of neutralizing the questions dwindling effects on my mind. As I said before, I really truly enjoyed weddings. But the problem was that as more and more people close to me began getting married they began sharing wedding planning stories with me. And the more they shared their stories the more it ruined weddings for me. But that was nothing compared to the day a real close friend of mine shared his entire wedding expense with me…It was like the day you found out your parents actually had sex, it was not like you never suspected but confirming it actually messed up your mind. After hearing what he told me, I felt guilty for loving weddings and started resenting society’s illogical obsession with weddings. What exactly did he tell me?

It was his wedding cost. An astronomical $55,000 for a single wedding! And his wedding was one of the simpler weddings I had attended in my short life; So when he told me the figure, I was blown away. No wonder I enjoyed weddings so much it was created from extravagant riches. “How could someone possible spend that amount of money on one single wedding?” I pondered to myself. Now I am not anti-romantic or some weird money conscious individual. I am simply a realist and $55,000 spent on a wedding seemed quite extravagant to me. But even more bothersome was the fact that most people felt that $50,000 was relatively cheap for a wedding! Ironically the 50K figure did not include the wedding ring…which cost an additional $7000. Figures that are driven by phantom wedding laws…for instance the popular rule to thumb is that an engagement ring should cost at least 2 times the grooms monthly salary. Anything less than that is somehow not enough. Other rules state that you have to have an engagement party, followed by a white wedding and in case such as Nigeria a separate traditional wedding. As an ROI (Return on Investment) addict I tend to question these figures. If weddings were actually treated as a business then people will think twice before spending such large amounts of money.

According to the American National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) about one-third of new marriages among younger people will end in divorce within 10 years and 43 percent within 15 years. But yet people are more than willing to plunge their life savings into an institution that has statistically shown a low ROI. It is like putting money into a bank that you know has a 50% chance of shutting down. This is the reality that is hidden by a wedding industry that pushes the fairy tale marriage wedding that lasts forever. So they convince couples that they should indeed break the bank to fund their once in a life time wedding dream…and couples do exactly that as they are fueled by a frentic media that sprinkles the tales of fairy tale weddings on our TV screens. Weddings of celebrities that cost anywhere from a $1,000,000 to $10,000,000 are forced onto our TV screens and media blogs across the globe touting the notion that weddings should be extravagant. If there was anything that could summarize the craze, it will be none other than the “wedding of the century.”

As recent as 2011, Kim Kardashian was slated to get married to NBA player Kris Humphries. It was a normal celebrity marriage affair up until news got out that Kris had spent a cool $2,000,000 on a 20.5 carat engagement ring. Then the media frenzy and scrutiny picked up…everyone was talking about this wedding and analyzing every single details of their financial expenses. The main wedding ring was designed by Lorraine Schwartz and that too racked a cool $1,000,000. The wedding invitations were created and delivered by Lahr & Black for $10,000 just in case some of the guests were not aware of the wedding date! $400,000 was spent on Perrier Jouet Champagne with an additional $60,000 for three Vera Wang wedding dresses. The icing on the cake literarily was the $15,000 spent on a Hensen Bakery wedding cake…I crave to know what a $15,000 slice of cake taste like! All in all the wedding was estimated to have cost about $20,000,000 in total and truly lived up to its tag as the wedding of the century. An expensive wedding for a marriage that lasted only 78 days! That is like blowing all your lifesaving in less than 3 months.


What people fail to realize is that Kim is quite an exemplary entrepreneur. So even though her wedding on the surface cost $20,000,000, she was able to leverage her image to get some critical discounts and in most cases freebies. For instance the famous $2 million wedding ring was greatly discounted by Schwartz Jewellry, the $10,000 wedding invitations were sponsored for free by Lahr & Black wedding, the $50,000 bachelorette party was all paid for by Tao restaurant in exchange for free publicity and her 3 wedding dresses? Each of them was donated exclusively by Vera Wang herself. But that is still not the crazy part, E! entertainment reportedly paid her $15 million for a four-hour, two-part E! wedding special. A hefty price that does not even include the additional 2.5 million dollars gotten from People magazine for exclusive coverage of the wedding. So not only did Kim not spend much on her wedding but her wedding was a money generation machine. From the magazine to the media to the wedding industry…everybody profited. The only victims were gullible couples across the globe who believed the hype! Unfortunately, too many people are believing the hype as the numerous front pages of blogs and tabloids fail to highlight the intricate truth behind the wedding. Instead they offer coverage of a fairy tale wedding with smiling faces splashed across the pages of newspapers across the globe further feeding the cycle of mandatory expensive and lavish wedding. Thus causing people to ignore one critical fact that makes Kim way smarter than a lot of us “she ran her Wedding strictly as a business!” Ironically many entrepreneurs are doing the reverse and running their businesses as weddings.

According to Statistics from New Zealand, 53 percent of small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) fail within the first three years. Research also suggests that two-thirds of business collapse is due to financial difficulties associated with poor financial management. Sounds familiar? Then do this replace the word “business” in the stat above with “marriage,” and you would end up with a strikingly similar stat as I shared above except that bussineses tend to fail faster. Figures erringly similar to marriages and all because people are starting businesses like marriages…with a huge expensive wedding!

I have been blessed to work with a lot of new businesses and one of the quotes I love to share with entrepreneurs is one I learnt from my mentor James Malinchak “Don’t Do What’s Cute, Do What Sells.” Renting out a lavish apartment in the middle of downtown is cute…but if it does not cause sales to increase…then it is not smart! Designing a state of the art customized website is cute…but if it does not pay for itself in ways of online sales or publicity then it is not smart! Spending tons of money for radio adverts and TV arts is super cute…but again if it does not generate revenue to offset the advertising cost then it is not smart! These are wedding idea thinking that put new businesses into financial trouble early. At any given time businesses should be focused on the profit margin and not the cuteness margin. Because at the end of the day that is what really determines if your business would survive.

A recent start-up business in Lagos wanted to replicate the US group-on business idea in Nigeria. They were able to raise $50,000 in capital seed money to fund their idea…so they did what every wedding entrepreneur would do…they rented out an expensive office, hired several staff and paid for a state of the art website. The only problem was that they had not spent enough time marketing their business or adapting their business idea to the new market. To them having an office was what every new business should have and hiring a staff an absolute necessity. But with no funds or efforts allocated to researching the market and marketing their products, their business failed within a months. However, if they had started out the same way people like Mark Zuckerberg started out, in a dorm room without an office or huge staff, they would most likely have succeeded or if they failed their financial loss would have been minimal. But all too often, new entrepreneurs focus on the end product of successful businesses and fail to acknowledge the early struggles that preceded their success. Almost all successful tech firms started out from a garage or home. When I decided to build my website Ofilispeaks.com I got several quote ranging from $2000 to $3000 for a customized website, but I realized that financially such an investment would not make sense for me at that time. Instead I opted for a cheaper template design that cost me only $25 (plus sweat and labor) and that website is what I have up and running today. Although it is restricted in many areas, it still helps me get the key things I need to get done. In the future if $2000 customized website makes financial sense for me…I would create it in a heartbeat. But for now I will stick with my cheap but efficient template design.

A similar thing to a blogger I know, who currently makes a living by blogging from her bed all day. Initially when her business began to grow she fell into the trap that I have talked about so much in this article…then need to do what everyone does. So she rented out an office. But she soon found out that she did not really need an office and besides it detracted her from her comfort of blogging on her bed. So rather than stick with having an office just to say she has an office, she quickly abandoned her office and went back to blogging at home. Today she still makes as much money as she did in the office but she gets to keep a larger chunk since she does not have to pay any office rent. So the next time you are faced with a key business financial decision, strive to stay away from the resplendent/ostentatious decisions and instead focus on your hardcore bottom line “the finances.” Because at the end of the day that is what matters. It is not the size of your office or staff or website but rather the size of “customer base” and “profits” that matter. Remember again “Don’t do what’s cute, Do what sells!” Happy married life…

 


Ofili
is an award winning motivational speaker, author, success coach and entrepreneur who blogs about life, success and entrepreneurial excellence. Follow him on BB pin:32A137F8, twitter ,facebook or subscribe to his blog for more success TIPS!” His latest book is titled HOW STUPIDITY SAVED MY LIFE, to find out how it saved his life click ofilispeaks.com/read-book

Wishing You Extreme Success,

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Ofili

Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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39 comments on “Why Kim Kardashian Is Smarter Than You Think

  1. Akintunde Akinmolayan on said:

    Ofili…. Well researched, well written…. Hmm… Breath taking, too! Thank you for this write up. Wishing you a happy married life soonest!

  2. Great article Ofili! You speak the truth – I started from home and only made business expenses when we had made the money (through the business) to pay for them. Now business is stronger than ever and we’re in year four – onward and upward!

     Keep up the great work, and hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving!

    Chris Kennedy

    • Thanks for sharing. As long as one keeps expenses as low as possible…the business has a greater and better chance of survival.

    • by the way…make sure you check out http://printthatimage.com/ that is Chris’s website and he has been my go to person for business cards at outrageously affordable prices.

  3. Doyin (Events by Doyin) on said:

    Very good article.  As a wedding consultant, i believe your wedding is one of the most important days of your life and you can spend any amount on your wedding as long as you can truly afford it. What i don’t support is wanting to have a wedding you can’t afford, and thereby getting in debt just to satisfy/impress friends that you don’t really care about.

    I support your views on new businesses.  Many new businesses rent offices and hire staff without a marketing budget, and then begin to wonder why no one is coming into their office.  If you don’t have staff and clients that you have to meet face to face, then a home office may be a better idea.  Your blogger friend definitely made a great choice by using her bedroom as her office.  Thanks for sharing this article!

    • Thanks Doyin for sharing your thoughts on this issue…especially as a Wedding Planner people assume you guys are the ones egging people on to spend spend. But most good wedding planners strive to work with their clients budgets. I loved especially this quote from you:

      “What i don’t support is wanting to have a wedding you can’t afford, and thereby getting in debt just to satisfy/impress friends that you don’t really care about.” 

      • I agree with that quote as well. It’s very easy to look at what your friends weddings were like and want to do something way better, even if it means going into debt. Sometimes these people aren’t even friends, they are just on lookers who you want to impress so they can see you as important. At the end of the day, none of those people will even matter, especially when one goes into debt.

        • exactly Nemi…reminds me of a saying by Dave Ramsey “people spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.”

  4. Oshisanyasolly on said:

    Really the ROI on weddings for some people is rewarding ‘cos as society people they get some things free & also get the gifts (cash & kind) e.g.the likes of Mike Adenuga’s daughter’s wedding. A lot of houses, cars .e.t.c. Guess is all about knowing what is expedient. However, good reflection, great stuff!

  5. Really insightful article filled with lots of data to back up the facts.  Being a girl who does want a lavish wedding, makes me pause.  

    On another note, Question still remains……..when are YOU getting married?

  6. Picothen on said:

    As usual, you are so on point. What I got out of this (which can be applied to life, business, etc), keep your overhead expenses low and always watch your profit margin. Ask not what you can do for your dollars/naira/pounds/etc, but what your dollars/naira/pounds/etc can do for you!!

    • “Ask not what you can do for your dollars/naira/pounds/etc, but what your dollars/naira/pounds/etc can do for you!!” Augusta just went #gbam

  7. I was at the Palms in Lekki today and walked into a book store. I was struck by the informal and creative way your book, ‘How stupidity saved my life’, was printed. I took a brief look at it and was about to walk away when I heard a voice over my shoulder say; “that is a really good book, I couldn’t stop reading it, and as busy as I am, I finished it in 3 days.” I turned and saw this formally dressed man, who wouldn’t normally talk to a stranger about anything, let alone a book; whose author he probably didn’t know personally. So (long story short) I bought the book!

    My eyes have been literally glued to it since about 4pm when I started reading it. I had to interrupt my flow every now and again because of my children, but I thought to let you know that I’m having a blast so far, Ofili!

    The inspiration for this email is the chapter about how your coach almost drowned you. It has made me feel like I can dust that business proposal and dive into the deep end! (I’m going to do just that, amongst other things)

    I will add you on my BB ping list and keep chatting with you on this inspiring blog!

    I read the above article and its eye opening, to say the least.

    Well Ofili, keep up the good work!

    Cheers…

    Gloria.

    • wow! Gloria…you so made my day. I was just at the Palms on Thursday waiting to watching Tower Heist….quite touching your words. Glad you connected with the book =)

      • Hey man, funny that I also just bought your book at the Palms just before Christmas while I was waiting for someone there. I have been receiving your email blasts for a while, but alas such is the busyness of work and life that I had never really had the time to learn more about your blogs and book, until now…

        When I skimmed your book what immediately caught my eye were your references to not getting into ACO in the first chapter. It’s been a long time since we’ve met, but Ike and I were like best buddies in our early years in ACO, and I recall that our families (including our parents) did meet up one time in PH…

        Anyway I digress, what also caught my eye was the humor with which you wrote and delivered your life lessons, with the book and each chapter therein having a catchy, intriguing title that just made you want to get into it, to find out how and why on earth your coach tried to drown you, or why exactly you almost got arrested!

        I was definitely tickled by reading the book and finished it the day after I bought it, and have been talking about it with my brothers and friends (especially my ACO friends! 😉 ) Personally I could relate to many things you wrote about – being laid off during the credit crunch, losing a lot of money on investments around that time too (I used to work in Investment Banking in London), etc…

        Even though I work in Management Consulting now, I’m also a keen writer, even though I don’t have much time to write these days, and that’s another reason I really enjoyed your book. I wrote in my church magazine for 3yrs while I was still in London, primarily writing motivational/inspiration stories, travel journals and lots of fantasy/adventure fiction (you can find these on my old blog – bambostic.blogspot.com). Nowadays I keep a newer travel blog for whenever I do travel – you can check it out at bambostic.wordpress.com

        Anyway man, I’ve sent to a bb invite so hopefully we can reconnect! As a fellow writer I definitely did come away inspired from the book – you should have seen me suddenly frantically scribbling down my thoughts for my next couple of posts on my travel blog on a napkin while sitting on the plane about to take off from Lagos last week! 😉

        • Hey Bambo! Longest time. Ike recently came back to Nigeria after 12 years away so we are still recovering from the shock. Anyway sha I am on Holiday right now so my BB is out of service where I am. Do send me your pin and I’ll add you once I get back to Nigeria. I’lll also check out your blogs now.

          OFILI
          W: http://ofilispeaks.com
          P: +1 866 210 9173 (US) or 0703 670 5305 (NGR)
          BB PIN: 32A137F8
          SOCIAL MEDIA: http://twitter.com/ofilispeaks

  8. Thank you. I connect with this. It is quite an eye opener especially with Kim being an exemplary entrepreneur. Who would have known this before now? Lesson learned for me is one can have a romantic wedding without necessarily turning it into a carnival.

    Sometimes, less is more, right?

    Daba

    • “Lesson learned for me is one can have a romantic wedding without necessarily turning it into a carnival.” well said…romantic is way better than a carnival.

  9. Interesting article… although you lost me a little with the linkage of the 2nd part  “don’t do what’s cute, do what sells”. Seemed like two separate tales.. Nevertheless a good perspective on what is clearly a troubling trend. I have a friend who refused to ask his girlfriend to marry him, because he felt he couldn’t afford the ceremony that was expected ! Ironically in his case, they are still together years later.  The real question one should ask is… is marriage really necessary these days ? Co-habitation or reproduction outside of matrimony is increasingly acceptable societally,  one can even scientifically induce kids. The influence of religion and family continues to weaken so morality is less of a factor (sadly), and the workforce is equally dominated by both sexes so dependency is no longer a factor. So why spend all that money ? Now that’s just a personal opinion…. as a vendor who benefits from the institution, I also see the other point of view 🙂

    @deejaytunes:twitter

    • The phrase “Don’t do what’ cute, do what sells” has to do with the business aspect of the article when I was talking about having expensive (cute) offices versus cheap (efficient) offices that actually benefit a companies bottom line. Hope that clears it up a bit. Thanks for the comments and GO DJ!

  10. an insightful article….. today is my last day as an employee,
    I had to quit my job to face my business squarely and i must tell u…I have
    picked loads of tips from your blogs and write-ups,now a raving fan…good one!

  11. Bolaji on said:

    Hi,
    i have been reading your blog (whenever i have the time) for like two months now; and going over your topics, i have grown to admire the fact that you always hit the mark every time. This article particularly rings a bell with me, as it reminds me of when i got married. We (my husband, i, my parents) spent a bit cautiously because we did not want to fall into the trap you talked about. Eventually were able get our money back (with interest..lol) because of the wisdom of my parents who told us not to overdo ourselves (my husband is an orphan.. BTW).
    Also, i relate strongly to what you discussed in ‘how respect almost killed me’ as it reminded me of my M.Sc study in London. Having gotten my background (B.Sc) education in Nigeria, i found it embarrassing when i always forgot to address my PROFESSORS by name knowing fully well that i would have been killed in Nigeria for committing such an offence (even to my older siblings.. LOL).
    Anyways, keep up the good work.. Cheers.

  12. Segun Moses O on said:

    Always insightful. hmmm b4 taking that step, ask urself is to impress or cost effective… You nailed it

  13. I really believe this is very significant data in my situation. And i am content looking through ones report. Nonetheless want to commentary in a few basic challenges, Your website preference is usually amazing, this articles is basically great : Deborah. Good endeavor, best wishes

  14. I’m just seeing this in 2013. Great article! Definitely a good reminder about being smart with finances.
    The whole of Nigeria needs to read this. We’re financially irresponsible. People from certain places in Nigeria even take loans to throw parties. Absolute madness.

  15. Idu Paul on said:

    Its sad that of all the wealth of information this beautiful article capture a lot of people are only drawing inspiration from a marriage perspective .. NO NO NO this article is not about marriages and has no lesson for U in your wedding plan , this beautiful article is only relevant to teeming brave entrepreneurs out there who have braved the storms or those still braving theirs .. Only them and them only can see the beauty in this piece

  16. Tayo S on said:

    Hey Ofili,

    I’ve been following your work for sometime now (curtesy of Bella Naija), and I have to say you have written some great stuff, but this is definitely one of the best and most informative articles I’ve read.
    The message was simple but so well conveyed.

    As someone who will start a business in the near future, this was a fantastic piece to read. I’m starting to understand how easy it is to forget what matters as an entrepreneur, especially in this day and age where there is an overwhelming amount of information available and most of it is not so helpful.
    So as a necessity and as a way of saying thank you:
    Don’t do what’s cute, Do what sells!”
    has officially entered my Entrepreneur Dictionary. 🙂

  17. Just read this post in 2013 but it’s still very apt. Ijebu people and later Igbo people have always known this. They used to live and trade in their shops, sleep at night, convert into shop/office/workshop in the day time, till they made enough money to rent or even build their own property. I started my business after my NYSC trading in a shop in an open market in Lagos which later multiplied into a chain of shops and a built warehouse. My friends in paid employment and those in business with offices etc would say ” we know you are making money, but are you happy?” but they would still go ahead and ask for loans from somebody that is not happy. Now most of them have just started going through all the stages I have mastered over 15 years ago.

  18. esther dans on said:

    wao i neva knew this bloggers are jst afta the expenses they mke not the whole bargain and stuffs lyk dat though i know kim is a lady that her business iq is alwaiz functioning especially wen i see KUK kim alwaiz sure there is a benefit before indulding in any business transaction
    Thanks for this writeup i was suprised i read all without stopping u are indeed a good writer kip it up
    And what i learn think,plan,spend.

  19. Di'Otun on said:

    I think the idea of a fairytale wedding is over hyped in our world today. My advice is for everyone to ‘KISS’ keep it short & simple.

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