An easily-recognizable guest Shark Tank judge, Bethany Frankel, started her professional career as a chef who baked healthy cookies for delivery in the Manhattan area. She is a self-made businesswoman, having reached star status as a cast member playing herself on the Real Housewives of New York.
After leaving the show, she wrote many bestselling non-fiction books and launched her own liquor brand, which she sold for millions of dollars.
In addition to appearing on Shark Tank, she now works for MGM Television, where she has partnered with Mark Burnett to generate reality projects she plans to produce herself.
Bethany Frankel’s Personal Life
Bethenny Robyn Frankel was born on November 4, 1970, in New York City to Bernadette Birk and Robert Frankel. She is of Welsh descent.
Bethany married Peter Sussman in 1996 and divorced the following year. She married Jason Hoppy in 2010. The couple had one daughter, Bryn, and were divorced in 2016.
Bethany Frankel’s history as a businesswoman
Frankel grew up in Queens, New York, where her stepfather worked at the race tracks as a horse trainer. She spent a lot of time at the tracks and attributes this to sparking her interest in the business world.
After studying Psychology and Communications at New York University, she attended chef’s school in her twenties and became a natural chef. She then opened a baking and delivery business specializing in healthy baked goods throughout Manhattan.
Frankel’s experience in the food industry gave her the idea for developing a low-calorie series of alcoholic beverages and the founding of her Skinny Girl lifestyle brand, which featured a low-calorie liqueur brand that eventually added a line of clothing and other merchandise.
This was followed by a run on the popular reality series, The Apprentice: Martha Steward, where she earned status as runner-up.
Frankel’s television exposure on Martha Stewart’s program led to her recruitment to be a cast member of the Real Housewives of New York reality series, where she rewrote her meager $7K per season contract and received as much as $40 thousand per episode during her last two seasons on the show.
During this time, she also promoted her Skinny Girl liqueur brand. When she sold the liqueur brand, she retained a large interest in it, so she still profits from it. She kept the rest of the lifestyle brand and continues to run that portion of the company.
Her stint on Real Housewives led to subsequent reality TV exposure, including her own series that focused on her marriage to her former husband, Jason Hoppy, and her stint on Shark Tank as a judge and investment partner.
Bethany Frankel on Shark Tank
Described by Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary as “…definitely on the scale of crazy chicken,” Bethany Frankel made her debut appearance as a guest judge on the show during seasons 9 and 10. She was targeted for the show because of her rags-to-riches story of progressing from broke to starting an international brand that propelled her to financial success.
Her Shark Tank investments were primarily geared toward women-centric businesses, such as her first investment in the Snarky Tea company.
She partnered with Kevin O’Leary to invest $150K for 25% equity in the business that sells “tea with an attitude,” an all-natural tea that aligns with Frankle’s sassy personality and preference for healthy fare. The business is currently thriving online and is accepting affiliates.
A second investment was not as successful. Bethany invested in The Dough Bar, a healthy doughnut alternative with optional toppings that did not last. While small numbers of products are being sold on Amazon, the company filed for bankruptcy last year.
Bethany’s big break came with another meal service, not unlike the one she started in Manhattan, only for children. Yumble delivers healthy, easy-to-prepare lunches, dinners, and snacks for kids. She sank a hefty $500K into this company and asked for 6% of the business.
They counter-offered 4%, and she immediately became part-owner and the company’s spokesperson. Since Bethany is a mother herself, she was drawn to the idea of healthy food options for children that are geared toward parents who work. The carefully-sourced vegetables and fruits are all approved by nutritionists and are already prepared and ready to eat.
Frankle also partnered with Lori Greiner to invest $100K at 40% equity in a women’s waxing product called No-Mo Stache, a portable waxing product for women which has since expanded and is making impressive gains. The product is sold on Amazon, in 60 Sephora stores, and the upscale Anthropology franchise. At this time, Bethany Frankel is receiving $1 per kit sold.
What is Bethany Frankel’s Net Worth?
Varying accounts are floating around the Internet about Bethany Frankel’s net worth, and there is a good reason for this. After she sold her Skinny Girl liquor franchise, Forbes Magazine put her on its cover as one of their “New Celebrity Money Makers.” It printed a story endorsed by Frankel that claimed she had sold the company for $120 million.
At that time, her reported earnings put her in the same ranks as Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, and Angeline Jolie. It was later revealed, however, that the company sold for much less.
In June, reality star Bethenny Frankel earned the cover of Forbes Magazine with the title “The New Celebrity Money Makers.”
Having sold her SkinnyGirl cocktail business for a reported $120 million, she was ranked higher in earnings than Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Sandra Bullock.
Only that number was grossly inflated, and financials for the company show that it was purchased for $8.1 million, which Frankel had to split with her partner.
While this number wasn’t nearly as high as initially thought, Frankel has still done well for herself. Since leaving Real Housewives of New York, her net worth has increased to a cool $80 million, thanks to her entrepreneurial spirit and her ability to play her cards right in the investment market.
Between her reality show productions, her best-selling books, her food and real estate investments, and publicity appearances, Bethany has managed to increase her net worth considerably, placing her on the list of one of the wealthiest Real Housewives on the Bravo network.