Building the Brand With Heather
Sonja explains why the toaster oven shoot was so important to her and defends Ramona from the other ladies.
Okay so tired of these girls talking BS. They get to Ping Pong and the first thing they say is Ramonamonster threw out George?????????
I was in that room and he was pulling her arm, talking in her face, at HER event when she was responsible for 80 other women in the room being happy and pleased that they showed up to support her charity!
What about the generous designer who donated her time, her designs, and the models? What about the hostess who graciously donated her apartment? Now Ramona is supposed to turn all her attention on George? And more attention to Aviva? She thanked him and asked him to put the check in the bowl. He made DEMANDS on her. These events take months to plan and we sometimes have no time to plan them. Sometimes we need to move locations last minute. Anything can fall apart. Seeeeeriously!
When I went to visit Heather to see her collection I complimented her on her brandstamp, that is clean and I voiced that I was concerned that my brandstamp the girl with the high boots, miniskirt, and flowing hair, which was great for Sonja In The City Catering and Special Events may be too fussy for Sonja Home Innovative Living the company that evolved from my toaster oven recipes that so many viewers requested. As I gave cooking demonstrations across the country people asked for my aprons, mitts, tongs, placemats, napkins, everything! How do I do my hair, my smokey eye, what is my dog wearing, where do I get my headbands, hats, etc?
I had discussed Bethenny's girl, which changes as it represents liquor, supplements, or shapewear. I discussed with Heather that I preferred Ralph Lauren's more streamline polo pony. Call me lazy!!! It goes across the board and is recognizable. Heather agreed. She definitely did not like the retro-aproned girl in our first meeting, and I didn't like the idea of redressing the "Sonja Girl" every time.
Then I showed her my toaster oven prototype, the Sonja Home Collection of aprons, mitts, napkins, placemats, and a box by Martha Stewart with colors I liked and a black and white pic of Martha -- packaging I admire. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! I said that in on of my early blogs. No, but seriously, I do look to others for guidance. I look for role models and try to incorporate myself. I am different. Much different. I am not trying to be Ramona, Heather, Bethenny, or Martha. I respect them. I try to learn from others while maintaining my own vision.
I had told Heather that I had met with someone from Martha Stewart who suggested I go with just the signature, which I did on the toaster and I commented that Bethenny used her signature as well. So that was an option. I strongly wanted the brandstamp. It needed a real revamp -- NOT heavy on the vamp! Especially after what I shared from my vacation! OK back to being professional. . .
I liked the feminine look to my signature it as I consider myself very feminine -- not Times Roman Numeral font. Still wanted a clean brandstamp, and color way for packaging that said Sonja. We we discussed that I had an affinity for stars and astrology and I always like to use those as I did on my website for Sonja Productions when I produced The Marsh.
Anyhoo to be fair to HEATHER it takes a lot of time to film the show and manage your other businesses, be a mother and wife, maintain your friendships, your charities and to ALSO help out a friend, free of charge, using our RHONY platform. It's double edged (scary risky!), You are sharing your time.
If you rate hotels you give exposure to hotels. Therefore you stay in a hotel as their guest. I can't make it any simpler. Before I was on the show I had people lending dresses, doing my hair/makeup for the exposure. Comping the catering to meet my clientele. Now I AM the caterer! LOL
Why is Carole saying Ramona and I need all the attention? We are on the side where the models come out hanging with the photographer where he was standing. Not everyone out of the hundreds decided to watch the show. Some stayed and partied by the several bars.
We cheered on Aviva, loved the fashions. I never expected Heather to find Ramona and I in the exit hall. I told her that. I told her the event was fabulous, that she did a great job especially on the auction. I can see why she was upset though. These events take months and it comes to a boil at the end. We did dance after the incident though.
The photographer was not upset. Ramona and I have done tons of photoshooots. They always send hundreds of pics to choose from. In fact I crop and enhance them myself! My interns crop them professionally. Especially with digital the way it is today. I used the black and white headshot from Brian Marcus on last year's RHONY because we didn't get any other shots. We always planned to have shots of food, the toaster, my headshot. It's all on film at the different meetings, Heather's shoot and then at the box reveal. . .so I don't know. . .bad timing I guess.
I never thought that Gian Andrea DiStefano would say he only had the two pics so I went right up to him excited to see him. Ramona was like a little girl in the cookie jar. I was hurt Heather said I felt ENTITLED. I meant I brought hair, makeup, stylist, my girfriend Kay Unger's dresses, my toaster that took a year-and-half to design, and the studio to shoot in. I felt like a team player and entitled to more than two pictures.
I'm flabbergasted with all the girls ganging up on Ramona at Carole's book party to say that she was wrong to throw out George, poor elderly George!!!! She didn't throw him out! She asked the waiters to kindly "escort the gentleman out" after she asked him several times!!! He was not backing down. Just like Aviva if he doesn't get the answer he likes he persists. I stayed to the side, trying not to aggravate the situation. At that point I needed a rabies shot myself. I would have been like Mike Tyson and tore an ear off if I were Ramona! I swooped in just as she was about to bawl! Ramona doesn't deserve this. The girls were in the same room as me I'm really appalled. They saw the same thing as me and they continue to badger Ramona for asking someone to leave a party they were not invited to. His daughter was invited. They were on bad terms. Disrespectful. She was the hostess. I can only chalk this up to one thing jealousy. Why else would grown women bully? Ramona is who she is but she comes from a good place.
Having said that, Ramona is wrong when she says I tell her one thing and Heather another. That is what she's hearing from Heather I guess? Heather doesn't want to hear me? I guess it was the glitch early on when I brought Ramona in and Heather saw red. I never told Heather anything different than what I told Ramona. I told Heather I wasn't being heard. I told Heather that I brought Ramona into the mix because of this, and because Ramona knows me well and she was worried.
Once Heather offered to do the brand campaign with me I gave up a man who works with Martha Stewart. Martha has many! He offered to help and wanted to be attached to the publicity, the box packaging, my website and all that goes with that. Heather came from the right place because she wanted to help me knowing how much I needed that help! However it didn't change the fact that I didn't need another toaster oven shoot that I've done tens of twenty times though. I needed a branding campaign and a brandstamp that would go long-term with the growth of my new companies. Everyone saw my toaster oven shoot last year. Everyone has seen my toaster oven demonstrations online and across the country. Enough already! It's about Sonja Home Innovative Living now and a campaign that reflects that on packaging for a home collection and even doggy clothes. People have approached me about women's clothing, hats, perfume, nail polish, alcohol, whatever it turns out to be we are in the beginning stages of developing.
I asked for the sexy J, a feminine font. I was then told it was free and that I was not the client and that I had to take what they wanted to do and I took offense to that because I know it started from a good place and Heather wanted to help a friend.
In fact, I asked "Do you tell Harry Winston my way or no way?", And James said "Yes!" I don't believe that! People have boards, investors, etc. to answer to. Sonja Home and Sonja In The City won't be Sonja Alone. It will be a team. I will, have to answer to home shopping networks, retailers, and investors as well, if this brand is going to grow the way I think it will.
I have stood up for myself, my brand, and my vision all along at the risk of looking ungrateful to a FRIEND who came up short in time and resources when she just wanted to help a friend.
I produced a 7 million dollar film. Secured an Oscar winning star before he won the Oscar for a film below budgets he's used to starring in. Because I chose a script and secured a co-starring lady he approved. We won two awards for my first film. I knew nothing about Hollywood and got sued! I'm not rushing into the business manufacturing toasters unless I am comfortable and it encompasses the entire collection. Hence, the need for an image that reflects the visionary, creative partner, Sonja. I do need the box. I do need hang tags. I do need a brandstamp and color way And I will get there with the help of friends like Heather, Ramona (whoa that was rough on them), and my professional contacts I have built over the last 30 years if that's what is meant to be. It's experience that is never wasted. Sonja IS the brand. I won't let them down after the "wear n tear." I promise
I am just happy Heather and I came out the other end friends. She was gracious to shoot the box for me both ways, one with the man and one without. It came out beautiful and will be so useful. But that we are friends is what I am most grateful for at this time and place. I could be gone tomorrow just like that. I appreciate her honesty, respect and the fact she believes in me and that I have a new friend I can count on through thick and thin.
Thanks for watching. See you for the reunion. I think you will be surprised to say the least.
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I have posted pics from my recent Sonja In The City Launch for Cat Ommanneys Book The Gift her long awaited sequel to Inbox Full. Happy to say it was success and well attended by press and stars at Bobby Vans in the original JP Morgan & Co's Bank Vault. A good time was had by all.
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