What can you say about Necole Bitchie? One could simply take the easy way out and just write her off as a black gossip blogger — albeit a possible $20 million gossip blogger. Necole Bitchie is a brand, a personality, but most importantly she’s an entrepreneur with some serious tech savvy. Aside from the flagship property NecoleBitchie, there’s BitchieTV. Her Twitter is running at full steam into all hours of the night and her Facebook page is loaded with friends trying to get the latest scoop. She’s built up an empire on the foibles of celebrities and her audience loves her for it. Primarily a one-woman show, Necole has her hands in every aspect of her business from the design to the social networking. Her drive is paying off with the latest addition to the Bitchie brand, Bitchie Life.
Bitchie Life is a natural offshoot of Necole Bitchie. A lifestyle themed site, it still deals in celebrity, but instead of celebrity outings, Bitchie Life provides a deeper insight into your favorite celebs. Targeted at African-American women in their 20’s and 30’s, it’s a more mature site. More importantly, it’s focused on the reader. Have questions about Brazilian Blowouts or want to get a Hollywood body? Check out Bitchie Life.
“I wanted [Bitchie Life],” says Bitchie “to be a place for young women that look like me can come and vibe. I also wanted it to be a place where they can get information on fashion, beauty, health and relationships.”
Although she has been able to achieve success on her own terms, it hasn’t come without its share of doubters. There are still people the power of branding and how that influence translates into dollars. Bitchie who is listed at #59 on our “100 Most Powerful Black Women on Twitter” list has parlayed her heavy presence in the social media arena creating a brand that is recognized among her target audience which Necole says, is no small feat when you have a curse word in your name. Although Necole Bitchie is an established brand, it’s been difficult getting support behind Bitchie Life.
“People get Necole Bitchie, but if you say Bitchie Life and they’ve never heard of me, it’s like ‘what?’ People don’t get it.”
Add to that the recent report that black firms account for only 1 percent of internet startups and receive on average less than their white and Asian counterparts, its a wonder that an established brand with a questionable name can receive any support at all.
“As an African-American woman, it’s definitely different. There are things that [Perez] Hilton gets away with that I could never. Some of the stuff he pulls, he still gets advertising dollars for his site, while I would probably get shunned. It’s different because you feel like you have the black community on your shoulders. I’ve had a lot of people that wanted to invest in me, but I wanted to show them what I could do with no money. I could start this t-shirt line on this iPhone application and not have one dime behind me.”
Speaking of apps, when asked about leveraging her Web properties into apps. Bitchie wants dollars to make sense.Even though it seems that apps are the new black, she’s not buying it. After conducting some research, Necole doesn’t see the profitability in running to the app store right now.
“I’ve been talking to iPhone and Blackberry developers and the thing I’m struggling with is making sure if I invest all that money into an application that I get a return on my investment…A lot of people download apps and never use them so how am I going to make money after everyone initially downloads it?”
Until she finds her own version of the winning app formula, Necole Bitchie will continue to draw a crowd and expand her brand using all the tools in her digital toolkit.