(Update: I originally put this story up Tuesday but hid it from public view while I debated running it in the first place. The next day, RadarOnline posted the same story as “Exclusive”. Now that it’s fully public, I decided to go ahead and “unhide” the story and make it public.)
Kim G’s PR guy Tom Morro (www.celebritymagnet.com) forwarded this email sent by Leslie Mota (the Personal Assistant to Kathie and Rich Wakile) to store owner Ed Bergen.
Basically here’s what happened. A local men’s clothing store in Franklin Lakes, NJ, called Something Sophisticated agreed to give Richard and son Joseph some free clothing. You know, the boys get their photo taken in the clothing, they keep the clothes, and the clothing store gets a photo of the “celebrities” wearing their shirts. It happens all the time. Call me naive, but I thought when a big A Lister bought a shirt, they just took a photo with the store owner to be nice. You think Penelope Cruz can’t afford a shirt and needs freebies? That’s how Ed Hardy built up their clothing store. One A Lister at a time. And keep in mind, we’re talking about A Listers from Hollywood. Not the Real Housewives of NJ. Type in “Richard and Kathy Wakile” into Google and see which story is listed first. This one! Thousands of dollars in free publicity for everyone!
So Leslie sent this email (below) to local store owner Ed Bergen explaining that the Camp Wakile demands had not been met. You’re on a Bravo TV show for a few weeks and suddenly they’re making demands like they’re Madonna. If the Wakiles are letting people use their photos, they want thousands of dollars in free clothing or it’s just not worth their time! (You know how much they love helping out the local merchants.)
Now I would be fair and ask Kathy and Richard for their side of the story. But this IS their side of the story. When you own a small business, it’s not the same as running Macy’s. You can’t just give away an all-you-can-wear buffet of clothing.
I actually like this family and thought they were a refreshing change of pace for the show. Now I’m rethinking everything. Who makes the kind of demands listed in the letter below to a local business? Are they starting to believe their own hype now?
When we agreed to do the photo shoot with you at your shop we did so first and foremost because Heather spoke highly of you as a person. She told us your story and how you walked away from your corporate job to follow a passion and dream of yours to create your own clothes line and men’s boutique in Franklin Lakes. The Wakile family believes in helping out the local merchants and establishments within their neighborhood and local surroundings. They are very much pro-grass roots establishments. Since Something Sophisticated is a start up local business immediately we said no problem Richard and his son Joseph would love to help them out. We understand that your catalog would been distributed to homes within the Franklin Lakes area and featured in Patch.com as well as your website. Any kind of “free” press and more exposure is greatly appreciated. However, Richard and Joseph lending themselves to your shop for a photo shoot is definitively much more of a benefit to you than it is to them. Richard and his family as you know are cast members on The Real Housewives of NJ which is aired on Bravo TV every Sunday night. Over 1 million viewers tune in weekly to watch the show. Between Richard and Kathy on both their private and public Facebook pages they have over 7000 fans. Amongst Richard, his wife Kathy and both of their teenage kids they have over 15,000 followers on Twitter. Needless to say any mention from any of them regarding any item from your shop and/or your shop is guaranteed to reach an audience and quantity of people that even paying your Public Relations representative would not reach. Not to mention the publicity would have been free of charge to you. Kathy is styled free of charge by high end boutiques all the time. Kathy in exchange for the clothes does promote them and give them free press on her social media sites and on the show. Please note that Kathy is allowed to keep the clothes if she so wishes to do so. Normally, these outfits are over the $2000 price point.
I feel it is totally of bad taste and disrespectful not only to give both Richard and Joseph a limit of two items that they could take from your shop but also not allowed them to take clothes other than your in house brand. When we spoke your words to me were at you would, “hook them up and take care of them”. Two shirts at a price point of a total for maybe $100 in exchange for all that associated your shop with both Richard and Joseph is not at all being thankful nor grateful for whom they are. Richard and his family are already established brands. As you well know publicity is expensive and is the heart of any business. If they worn your own brand and/or one of the designers you carry either which way your shop would have benefited from the free publicity they would have given you.
Therefore, I must regretfully inform you that we are not allowing the pictures to be used by you, your shop and/or photographer in anyway. We are not authorizing you to use them for the purpose of promoting your business and/or clothes line. So we greatly would appreciate you respect our decision and not place the pictures of Richard and/or Joseph on your website and in any connection on any of your social media sites, catalogs, look books etc. Please also refrain from using them for personal purposes either. I do not want the Wakile family used in any way with anything that has to do with Something Sophisticated, ConquerStyle.com or your Twitter account.
Please be advised that I saw you have already placed a picture on your Facebook page and I am requesting that you remove it immediately.
Thanks so much in advance for your cooperation and understanding in this matter.
Personal Assistant to Mr.and Mrs. Wakile