Table of contents
About the talk
Kris Jenner and Kim Kardashian West talked to Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times DealBook Conference on November 6, 2019.
01:24 Was there ever a plan?
05:15 Separating the businesses and products
09:40 What hasn’t worked?
14:11 Influence on the market place
19:06 Net, health, and goals
22:24 Political perspective
27:40 Living in a controversial world
30:00 What has Kanye West learned from Kardashians?
34:56 Jenner-Kardashian empire in 10 years
American media personality, businesswoman, model, socialite and actress. Kardashian first gained media attention as a friend and stylist of Paris Hilton but received wider notice after a 2002 sex tape, Kim Kardashian, Superstar, with her then-boyfriend Ray J was released in 2007. Later that year, she and her family began to appear in the E! reality television series Keeping Up with the Kardashians (2007–present). Its success soon led to the creation of spin-offs including Kourtney and Kim Take New York (2011–2012) and Kourtney and Kim Take Miami (2009–2013).View the profile
American television personality, entertainment manager, producer, businesswoman, and author. She rose to fame starring in the reality television series Keeping Up with the Kardashians (2007–present). She has four children from her first marriage to lawyer Robert Kardashian: Kourtney, Kim, Khloé and Robert, and two children from her second marriage to television personality and retired Olympic Games medalist, Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn): Kendall and Kylie.View the profile
Sorkin is an award-winning journalist and author. He is a financial columnist for The New York Times and a co-anchor of "Squawk Box," CNBC's signature morning program. Sorkin is also the editor-at-large of DealBook, a news site he founded in 2001 that is published by The Times. Sorkin is the author of the best selling book, Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves, which chronicled the events of the 2008 financial crisis. The book was adapted as a movie by HBO Films in 2011. Sorkin was a co-producer of the film, which was nominated for 11 Emmy Awards. Sorkin began writing for The New York Times in 1995 under unusual circumstances: he hadn’t yet graduated from high school.View the profile
You trying to do this together and it is thrilling to have you here. We got to spend some time with you that song with Kanye just a couple weeks ago and I loved it so much. I said we got to play it one more time for everybody you guys both of you have created a remarkable Empire. That's why I wanted to talk to you because I think you have changed culture. You kitchen social media you changed marketing and you changed the way we all think about so much of this just to give everybody a little bit of some some stats here. Chris has trademarked momager
as a manager between Kim Khloe Kourtney Kylie and Kendall. There are 600 million Instagram followers for this family. Tyrese business is worth a billion dollars. You just started stems and I'm told so $2000000 a product is literally the first couple minutes of a going live and it's just an extraordinary thing that has happened over these past close to twenty years that we so many of us have watched you grow up frankly on TV and now social media and so where I wanted to start with you in terms of how you built this and it's not just you
done it. Once you've done it now many many times as the momager of his family and with so many things that you've been doing is what the plan was or was there ever a plan for this to happen, but I think you know what? I think it's important to remember that when we first got started and started filming are so back in the early 2000. There was barely Twitter and I remember Ryan Seacrest calling me up and saying he know you got to tell Kim about this little thing called Twitter because she might find a really helpful in, you know, some business stuff and Kim really was the first one in
my family. That really taught the rest of us had a navigate that platform and then all the other ones that were out at the time and we were just my kids were barely off. This thing called a two-way that was the phone and pagers and all this other stuff and it was so funny because technology was happening so fast, so when we first started and we realized that the show was going to be a success that was basically the foundation for everything else that we were able to do and Kim and I would sit at the end of remember I said that and then when you guys see season 18 Please dial tweet her and
remind her that she said that our show was the foundation Foundation even talking about a lot recently is this issue of a fragmented media you guys started and I think some of the franchise on TV traditional linear TV first, right? And I wonder if you were to do it today, you can just go for media whether you think it would work with we work the same whether it'd be different. I'm guessing my mom is a big fan of building a brand and social media and using your voice and
believing in yourself that you can make it happen through that platform. I think I'm a little bit more traditional where I think there was some magic of us starting on TV and Really building up an audience and then the magic of timing of being around at the same time that social media was created. I think there was like I had a hit with the TV and then another hit with social media. And so when I choose to promote a product where some people I think maybe younger Generations will just
use social media. I love doing traditional TV media. I love to go and do the rounds and do the night shows. I mean I was I was Talking to Kendall and Kylie about you know the days of Leno and Letterman and they looked at me and was like, who and I was like mortified I was so mortified but it's really funny and it just shows you know, but there is something to be said about the way we started the audience that we have now and the people that follow us and that the consumers
that buy your things are the people that became emotionally invested in the family and there was always a family member that somebody either, you know loved or or you no want to watch their journey and everybody saw the kids grow up on TV for the last decade or so actually now almost segmented out if you will so many different demographic markets. In terms of both age and also to ingest how people approach the family. That's when you guys crate products. Now
you guys sit around and save my brand might become Grand represents this the guy we were brand representative the Chloe brand representative that they're all spaced out and how does this work separate businesses for sure and I think everybody has their own completely different demographic and even if you think about Kim and Kylie, for example, their what 16 years apart and you know, that's 217 those two different Generations basically and so I think that we do examine and I treat it like an absolute CEO or c o o of the
family brand because you do we have so much in coming and things to choose from and Banks and they're all very separate as well and discuss with Chloe or Courtney to give advice absolutely but as far as like the day today Managing of our own Brands and what were naturally drawn to and how we operate our businesses is completely individual. We're very supportive and Kylie and I both have Beauty Brands if we happen to be at each other's houses and sea products laying around will discuss it. But
otherwise what were very mindful in on our calendars to not launch a product on the same time. But if she's launching concealers and I'm launching concealers, they would actually be such a different product. We have different, you know, skin age demographic exactly what she was talking about. So we use our products so differently that there has not been any competition even in sales-wise we can see our analytics there hasn't been any crossover. I'm assuming there are hundreds of companies that are coming to you everyday saying I want you to do a pay post on Instagram or I want you
to invest in my thing would become the spokeswoman for all of these people are coming towards sort it out. What do you accept that you want to do? What don't you want to do that? Take us inside the the the kardashian-jenner empire? Cautious about like what I spend so if I over spend on something in a paid post happens to come at that time, I'll weigh it out and take. Okay. Well I have to pay for X Y and Z says paint your own personal expenses, you know we have
Going projects and now it's a little bit more personal for me. If I have a paid post that comes in and I think okay will this confined? X amount of people that are behind bars that can help free them with simple legal fees that they just can't afford then that would be worth it to me. Even if the post might be a little bit off brands for me. I really way out different things now than I used to brand for you beauty as long as it doesn't compete fitness health staff Maybe.
Just any Health Products to fight, you know, when I mentioned I was having a CBD baby shower cuz I needed some Calm before the storm of a fourth kid coming every CBD company on the planet reached out and you just you know, it's kind of this joke also that I do if I really want something and I'm a bit lazy I can sweet loving Oreo. I'm craving Oreos right now and then on my doorstep, so don't worry. I will show up. What's her name I need to cookie is not this is not me and I'm not going to do it
for I can't do it for whatever reason. I mean, I think we really learned by trial and error to an experience. I mean there was a time when I was about to say earlier that Kim and I in the beginning with said and have these goals we would write down for the year and what we really wanted to do. And the first thing that we talked about and Kim's Pasion y From the very beginning with fragrance and that was so just her thing was fragrance growing up. She left fragrant. So that was one of our first goals that we wrote down and something that we were able to accomplish in that felt so
good. I'll never forget her and I sitting at the Beverly Hills Hotel at this meeting and the guy handed us a check your amount of that in the bathroom, and it was so exciting and satisfying and rewarding but there's been a lot of in a we've kissed a lot of frogs along the way and throwing a lot of spaghetti at the wall. I mean listen 11 great example that I wanted to tell you the other day was that the got milk campaign. I thought Kim would be so great in like a got milk campaign. Remember like everybody did these got no
campaign and I don't know what she's like perfect for that. I don't know where that came from and I'm sure I was a lot more excited and enthusiastic about this idea than the god. How people work. So that really never came to fruition. And then it's the end of the day a couple years ago. Kim was in a music video and she was taking a milk bath and I thought you didn't care of you got milk. So that was kind of like a fun thing. But there's been things that talk about off-brand in the very beginning the girls did everything today. You really have wanted
to be curvy exactly everything you could possibly imagine. If someone came to us with a product we were just so excited that they were interested that we would do things that we really are France and I think that even that stage in our life. I look back and think that was such a learning Growing process for us and I feel like in the last few years. I finally found my voice on what to say no to what to really stand up for how to really focus and there could be amazing deals that come our way financially on brand everything, you know fits my
criteria, but if there's just no time, like now I feel like there is a power in saying no and having a little bit of time, you know for my family and self and everything else that you have dandruff be able to put that kind of energy and time and creativity into a brand or an idea that somebody wants you to be a part of and if what they're you know, if she's signing up for something that she's never going to have time to do. It's only going to be a disservice to everyone and say I will pay you x amount of money for a
post. Is there a what's the market? What's the market right now for it when Instagram post? Well, I think I think that what we do have is I started to say earlier is this great incoming of offers and deals that comes through whether it's a private-equity a brand of these see a bank, you know, there's just so much coming in that we and she my kids all have to be their own CEO. I might act as the CEO of a bigger picture and just way each thing that comes in if it's there was a fast fashion brand a few of them and they would knock
off easy. All the time is color palette designs. And so this fast fast fast fashion brand offered me a million dollars for an Instagram post and I thought okay. Well that's, you know easy just to wear clothes that you know, I can pick anything that I wanted it so quick post. And when I told him about it, he asked me not to do it and said, you know was out of respect. I don't think that we should be giving them everything they make they copy everything. It's you know, it's completely understood why he said no, I'd gladly said no and then for mother's day,
he handed me an envelope and it was a check for $1000000 saying thank you for not posting for the other brand and then I don't know if I'm supposed to say this or if I have a contract to be an owner in easy as a as a thank you. So there is power and say no sometimes think about your influence on the marketplace of Broad in terms of what your project out to the public reason. I asked you to drop by 1.3 billion dollars. So, when you post or when you speak I mean it's
hard to sometimes. I remember who you are influences something that I struggle with because I believed that people should be themselves. Even if it's not what you agree went with even if it's not your beliefs and values I believe in being yourself. And so when you start thinking about how you have to censor yourself so much because it could mean I personally might not say bad things about people unless I'm provoked and I have to stand up for you no family. But generally I try
not to talk about like other brands if I didn't like a particular ice cream or something, you know that I feel like could hurt a brand. I just kind of stay away from it's a big responsibility. However, I do believe that people Should speak freely and if that's not what Kylie was doing and that was authentic to her. Then I I don't think that there's something wrong with that. So but I struggle with that because it's like I do I always really do care about people feelings. I'm really compassionate about a headline like that. I would feel bad about it. But you also just have to be
yourself at the same time. You think about your brand and his Brandon I'm looking kind of right now in terms of how you guys work together. And I know that you were part of a really actually remaking the way skins actually turned out in arm Brands. We respectfully Let each other. Have our own voices in our own Brands and create our own Brands, but we're very much together in in every last decision and detail that we make so like for skims, you know, he drew the logo. He RR
packaging was one way and I thought it looked amazing and then he walked in and had about to our conversation with my whole skins team about why it was not so amazing, but it was really inspiring and really when you look back it was really trendy the old packaging and it would have been sick of it by now and he really gave us like amazing advice on how we want it to be classic and Timeless and all the packaging that the team was bringing us of Other products in the market place. They were saying isn't this better than that and Kanye's made advice was why don't you go get
packaging? That is the that you think is the best of all time. It doesn't have to even be in the marketplace. But any product and you should strive to be on that level. Why are you striving to be better than the worst and it really clicked to the whole team. We all went back to work and he picked like our photographer was involved in the castings for the models for scams and colorways. I mean everything you could think up. So we really are he's like my ghost stylist in my ghost creative director and it's it's amazing to have someone that you really respect and
value their creative opinion on culture is there is a scent but I think a lot of people looked at you and your family as role models in anyways where people wear everything is now just exposed. And there's something very authentic about that. But I think there's also people exposed to different age groups who have misgivings about that interview for privacy and and how much to really share overshare. Well, I think it from the beginning one of the things that we said to ourselves was. We wanted to have a successful show we're going
to do this and put ourselves out there. Then we really needed to do that. And so we said let's just show everything and just be ourselves and tattoo guys. Remember that episode I'm talking about the audio for this. I need this on a loop. I had a bad week A couple weeks ago. Just remember that two gay guys few months. So So in the beginning we in that I think was that you know, this whole thing is the perfect storm I think being able to work with the family and having
everybody on board, but all at the same time willing to show you know, the good the bad the ugly mental health related to social media, whether it's giving people good or bad body images on terms of how they how they think about themselves. What's the weather like in is actually a good thing. I need young people today who say I just want to get famous as quickly as possible as many followers as possible to figure out a way to monetize that And nobody has a plan B. That's the problem is if you really put all of your eggs in this
basket, you know, I tell everybody that I speak to is really have to have something to hang your hat on and create something for yourself that sustainable and a business that can grow. It's just not about being famous for us. We happen to be lucky enough and blessed enough to have a show in that kind of started everything else. Okay, don't say it again. So so I can adapt very valuable and that's something that continues to be very successful in almost 200 countries around the world and as many languages so we got very lucky tricky and it is my kids
and Screen Time phone time what to post would not oppose. You know even posting things in real time. I learned from a bad experience that I had when I was robbed that people really knew my every move and knew what I had they knew where I was what I was doing, you know, and and that to me really changed maybe the things that I post and and I still want people to feel like they're along that Journey with me, but I might video something and then post it like 30 minutes later when I've left the location where for privacy
but as far as mental health, I mean it's something that's you know, I think taking the likes away and taking that aspect away from it would be really beneficial for people and I know that the Instagram team has been having lots of like inner conversations with a bunch of people to get everyone's take on that is taking it really seriously and that makes me happy, but I find myself to be extremely mentally strong and I have people Friends that are obsessed with reading the comments and I find that to be really unhealthy. So I I have two I struggle with like having to step outside of how I feel
and thinking about like what if one of my children was like one of my friends that wasn't as mentally strong and would really be affected by the comments. That would really affect me. The water will get you some water. CEOs of thank you so much about CEOs who have felt like they are now taking or being pushed to take positions either political positions or or or positions in terms of culture. And what's happening in society in a way that perhaps they didn't just a couple years ago. You
gotten very involved in the mass incarceration topic but brand perspective and how far you think you're willing to go on. You know, we've had people we can talk about gun violence in a minute actually after this after the session but you know, whether it's immigration or other issues that are both political and we would miss her to break politicized world you now spend some time with the White House I am a really firm believer that you should be who you are believe and what you want to believe in and as the Brand's I'm the type of person
that I can separate political beliefs from Brands and I believe that people should have the right to believe in whatever they want to believe in. And so if I don't really push Politics on my brands I also believe that like Kim Kardashian West is also a person not just like the kkw brand so I will speak up. Personally on politics when I have to and when I want to get pushed back over some people like the present and some people who can't stand the president. Yeah for me. I focus on
prison reform and the president has done amazing things in prison reform. I will also speak up when I feel like something is not how I feel like the world should be and that could be immigration or other things. I'm very focused. There's a lot that we have to get done in prison reform and I believe I will be more beneficial if I just focus on that at the moment, so I'm grateful for that relationship in that area. and I focus on that on but that was a big thing where people So many people advised me don't go to the White
House and it didn't that didn't make sense to me cuz I was like a life. If someone can get out of you know prison and get their life back versus my reputation of going to the White House where there is only one person on this planet that can make the decision and that would be the president and that was even a question of you know, for the media that just absolutely didn't make sense to me. I would go see anyone in power. That would have that decision. To change someone's life. You don't like politics.
You be a lawyer about more. I would go into the White House and I remember sitting in the Roosevelt room, and they called me in for a clemency meaning and I'm thinking to myself like they're asking me to be in a clemency meeting. Like I'm just going to let you know and I definitely raised my hand and asked questions and wasn't as involved as I could have been but there was some attorneys there that I knew and so I felt discomfort and asking them all these questions and I just wanted to know more I wanted to the more than I know. The more that I can do and it's so interesting cuz had I done
this back in college. I wouldn't have cared at all. Like I wouldn't have gotten through it now when I'm studying contracts and these are like actual life things that I'm dealing with now and now that I own my own home and I'm old enough and I'm you know studying torts and I'm learning about personal injury like everything. I'm so interested in and it's actually pertains to my life. It does not feel like I am I mean, I'm definitely working really hard and it's a commitment that I've chosen to take this time away from my family to study and to not go out with my friends and like live a
different life and I am so okay with that. I love it and I just hope that one day I can start a farm that will help with prison reform and really help. I would love to hire these men and women that are behind bars cuz they know the law better and then you want to start walking later. I do I really do. I don't know who taught me my whole career watching Leslie Stahl get to introduce herself from 60 Minutes Lesley Stahl get get her microphone. I'm in off every so many people to interview in one day. Well and I congratulate both of you
not only for building such a successful business, but for using it now for prot for issues that you think are important, but what I want to ask you about his social media in general that's come under a lot of controversy attacks spreading things like a calcium pills cure cancer is bullying and now the question of political ad so this world that you live in has become extremely controversial and I wonder if you're worried about it. And if you think it will hurt your business
just to be on these sites. Just what your general opinion is of the direction social media is taking I think for me just to answer your question about as far as family goes what I worry about our future Generations in my grandkids and so my biggest issue is the bowling side of it because it really is so upsetting and the kids that are being affected by it are younger and younger and younger I have every age of 10 grandchildren. So that's every age you can think of and the stuff that they see I see in my almost 10
year old grandson who talks about it often and very dramatically about how it affects him so I can only imagine, you know, everyone else in the world and how their families are affected by and the families that aren't paying attention. There's so many parents that are you know, working parents don't pay as much attention and you know, we're really on all of the stuff that are my kids are on what their kids are watching, but it does worry me a lot. Don't think social media is going away, but I do think that. Like me just I'd say in the last few years and my Evolution
maybe some of the things that I would post a few years ago wouldn't be certain things that I would post now for those reasons of maybe the wrong message, but I do believe that the social media brands are paying attention. I know that I personally received meeting request and calls from really high up people that want opinions and input on how to try to fix these problems Facebook and Instagram people, so I do know that People are taking it seriously and put it is something that I worry about all the time for my children and what they see.
So I hope that they do make some changes just to make it a more friendly place. Let's see if we can sneak a couple. I have a question for you, which is no no curious what you have learned from this Empire that's being built. Yeah, I think. if my family wasn't so did they didn't work so hard and they weren't. So omnipresent maybe I would just rest on my Laurels of just being the greatest artists of human existence and now it just be done with that shown that that is that enough. I
have to communicate that you have to add some modern-day. It's like modern Dave Medici or chromatin. It's an error that people remember for all of human existence in this mean on social media about every time you have a thought on it every time because social media is like the new not saying that is particular as negative as cigarettes and that's saying that it's a fool Edward Bernays, you know torches of Freedom, you know, full and empowering but I do think that I said, I'm done
interviews often that you know of 100 Postell I call you need to go to hospital. He's going crazy but Instagram in different social media, you know that they have the lights come back at a slower speed. They have a certain amount, you know, if posted she should do to look normal and it's like actually controlling the rate at which were supposed to advance and communicate as human beings for the what is said is the the common Normand. Actually that makes it be where you know, 50 people can control the billion people that are now getting into you know, real estate to try to control 2
billion. So, you know, it's a matter of my perspective. You know, Jesus has already run. The Jesus has already won the Victory and it's for me a man is a Christian as a billionaire as a founder of the three billion dollar company to stand up and be you know, this has to be stated because the Forbes chose to call me and sent to me. when I showed them the receipts of 890 Million last year and you know that was but just as a email the pinion looking at my daughter's and looking at my family and as we are starting this church and saying that this Innovation and community and what
we're doing with education and we'll be doing you know in politics even out like we have 12500 acres in Cody, Wyoming in Trump has actually open up the ability to buy more land and in America, you know America you can buy land and we can be owners and we don't, you know often how to be just the product of what black Twitter tells us where we supposed to. Do, you know any black man that you know, this is Tim to taken out of every single one of my interview. So I'm going to say it now my my my father's a black panther. My mother was arrested. I mean for the
sit-in today 6th to fight for us to have the right to vote, but it was the right to vote for who we tell you to vote on. It's okay that any black man voted for Hillary just coming up next but if a black man didn't vote for Hillary your a coon LeBron, we're going to burn your jersey and Akron if you choose the team you want to go to you come back to Cleveland when you were here. Oh, no, that's not what we want you to be my parents. Thought first have the right to have our own opinion. And sometimes a social media.
They can even put false comments about 6-7 into try to incept indoctrinate and control our minds of what the masses think. Look at the century of self. Look at ever Binet is looking for again. To the mic cut right now or you want to go with me. I was I would continue this for hours. I just know that. We've got a couple of other fabulous. Thank you for that. I appreciate that very very much for both of you, which is if we came back here in 10 years from now and Scott together again and talked about what it what the jenner-kardashian Empire looks
like. I don't think we would be. Just continuing doing what we're doing. I mean the one thing that everyone ask me is what what more what's next and I always think I go I want to live in the moment because there's already a lot on my plate and I want on nourish each thing that we're doing. I hope that My beauty brand and fragrance brand continues to grow I hope skins is an amazing business and everywhere in a necessity for people. I really want to focus and I hope that I'm
a lawyer in 10 years and have an amazing firm and changing. The whole prison system. I really hope that I will just be more into that and I hope that all my sisters and brother and everyone is just happy and living on a farm in Wyoming with the percent of everything. fabulous Well 10 years from now. I'll be 70 for her birthday yesterday and I think that one thing that a lot of people probably maybe they do but do you know a lot of people don't realize has the work ethic is second-to-none and I think just watching them grow and build their
companies getting more and more independent within their own Brands and figuring it out in the creativity the way they were together. I think that we're building something so fantastic and just being able to figure out what really works for each one of them is very rewarding for me and hopefully in 10 years. I can watch them do it all by themselves. Please join me in thanking Kim and Kris and Kanye.
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