Kimora: Lessons Learned


Recent news about Kimora Lee Simmon’s breakup from the Baby Phat brand she built, came as a shock to many. While several articles questioned the fate of Baby Phat, we found it more interesting to explore the fate of its founder and chief brand ambassador, Kimora Lee Simmons.

In assessing Kimora’s brand, it became clear that she started preparing for this breakup years ago. Not that she expected it to go down the way it did, and not that she wanted the breakup to happen at all. But, she was prepared for the worst case scenario that ultimately became her reality.

On September 1, when Kimora Lee Simmons found herself no longer in charge of the brand she birthed, she was nobody’s victim. She had already established a name for herself, projects to fall back on, and a loyal fanbase to support her next move.

Here are five lessons to learn from Kimora’s Baby Phat breakup:

1. Be Prepared to Move On- Life is unpredictable. Just because you’re on top one day, doesn’t mean things will always be that way. Especially in industries like fashion, music and entertainment, where trends come and go. You have to be able to move on when your time is up. The key is to make sure you have something greater to move on to.

2. Diversify Your Business- In 2007, when Russell Simmons sold Phat Farm and Baby Phat to Kellwood for $140 million, Kimora Lee Simmons was retained as the Creative Director over the Baby Phat clothing line. Instead of relaxing comfortably in that role, Kimora continued to diversify her own brand by launching new products including her KLS clothing line through JC Penney’s, her Fabulosity fragrance line, and even a hit reality show, Life in the Fab Lane.

3. Brand Your Own Name- It was a smart move for Kimora to wrap her new projects around her own name and the fabulous lifestyle that is synonymous with her personal brand. By attaching her own name, she made sure that every product she touched was helping her grow an unstoppable Kimora Lee Simmons business empire. Thanks to her consistent personal brand, built around fashion and fabulosity, Kimora’s customers already know what to expect from her, and will willingly follow her into her next business venture.

4. Love Your Fans- Over the years, Kimora has built a loyal following of fans, who loved the Baby Phat brand, adopted Kimora’s fabulosity movement, and supported all the products Kimora Lee Simmons had to offer. Kimora not only showcased her fabulosity but made her audience believe that they too could live life in the fab lane. Because she took the time to cultivate such a loyal fanbase, Kimora already has a built in audience eager to support her future endeavors.

5. Stay In Touch In Difficult Times- When news started to spread about the breakup between Kellwood (Baby Phat’s parent company) and Kimora Lee Simmons, Kimora didn’t run and hide under a rock. She made it a priority to stay in touch with her fans. She tweets every day about the Baby Phat split, and continues to be her “fabulous” self. Kimora is clearly letting people know that even though she is no longer behind the Baby Phat brand, she is still on the scene with lots more to offer the world.

We have no doubt that Kimora Lee Simmons will continue to thrive well beyond the Baby Phat brand. This is a moment for her to press reset and to come back with bigger ideas on how to grow her business empire. We can all be sure that this time around- Kimora Lee Simmons will make it happen on her own terms so that no one can step in and pull the plug on her success.

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