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  4. Bethenny Frankel wasn't allowed to enter a Chanel store. Now, she's using the incident to boost her TikTok brand.

Bethenny Frankel wasn't allowed to enter a Chanel store. Now, she's using the incident to boost her TikTok brand.

Amanda Krause   

Bethenny Frankel wasn't allowed to enter a Chanel store. Now, she's using the incident to boost her TikTok brand.
  • Bethenny Frankel was denied entry to Chanel's Chicago boutique in May, according to a video.
  • She's since posted over 35 TikTok videos about the incident and earned over 150 million views.

Bethenny Frankel still has a lot to say about Chanel.

On May 21, the former "Real Housewives of New York City" star said in a video shared on TikTok that she was denied entry to a Chanel boutique in Chicago by employees who said she couldn't shop without an appointment.

But when she returned the following day wearing a chic outfit instead of a T-shirt and jeans — without an appointment — Frankel was immediately allowed to enter, as she showed in a second video.

The 53-year-old entrepreneur has continued to post about the incident online, sharing everything from Chanel memes to analyses of luxury shopping.

And her effort to turn lemons into lemonade is working.

Frankel says the 36 videos about Chanel she's posted so far have received a total of 150 million views — something she celebrated with balloons on Friday.

@bethennyfrankel Is she okay? #checkonme #milliondreams #chanel @ChanelOfficial #balloons #dreams #cartwheels #150million+ #views ♬ A Million Dreams (from "The Greatest Showman") - Victoria García & Saul Barrera

Representatives for Frankel and Chanel did not respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

Frankel isn't new to TikTok

Frankel, who has 1.8 million TikTok followers, has been posting on the platform for years.

She regularly shares a mix of lifestyle, food, and business content and has become widely known on the platform for her beauty reviews.

So, while Frankel probably wasn't surprised when her first videos about Chanel went viral, it was the ultimate opportunity.

By continuing to post about the designer brand, Frankel has been able to call attention to a questionable business practice while also boosting her personal brand.

Viewers love the drama and now see Frankel as an authority on luxury shopping.

"I can't afford a Chanel bag, but thank goodness Chanel content is free ❤️," one person wrote.

"I had no clue who you were before this and fell in love with your personality. As a woman who's on a mission to grow a brand, I look up to you and your company," another TikToker wrote.

@bethennyfrankel Chanel wishes i took 9. Is it enough? #itooknine #overcommit #chanel @ChanelOfficial #bridesmaids #humor #bigmistakehuge ♬ original sound - Alex and Jon

Frankel began posting Chanel jokes just days after being denied entry to the Chicago boutique.

In one of her most viral videos, which has 6.1 million views as of Friday, she recreated the scene from "Pretty Woman" in which Julia Roberts' character returns to a shop that previously turned her away.

@bethennyfrankel Pretty woman #prettywoman #bigmistake #huge #chanel #luxurygoods #luxe #luxury @ChanelOfficial @mia @Tiffany&Co. #hermes @Fendi ♬ original sound - Freeform

She's also shared her thoughts on Chanel's practices and the business of luxury goods at large.

In a video posted on Thursday, Frankel said she still hasn't heard from Chanel or received an apology. She added that she doesn't plan on shopping from the brand again despite owning multiple purses and other items from the store.

@bethennyfrankel Luxe goods are becoming a scam #rolex #luxury #luxegoods ♬ original sound - Bethenny Frankel

But clearly, Frankel doesn't need a Chanel purse or any other accessory to stay popular online.

Chanel likely won't feel the effect of this viral moment, experts say

The chatter about her Chanel incident has extended beyond TikTok, with many publications, including Page Six, USA Today, and Business Insider reporting on it.

On the other hand, Chanel is going through major changes now that Virginie Viard has stepped down from her creative director role after working with the company for more than three decades.

According to The Washington Post, Viard was largely responsible for Chanel's spike in sales since she took over Karl Lagerfeld's position in 2019, reaching $19.7 billion in 2023.

Ad Age reports that Frankel's barrage of TikTok posts isn't expected to impact Chanel drastically—maybe not even at all. However, influencer marketing experts told the publication that this situation is a prime example of why brands should have plans for dealing with viral influencer criticisms.


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