Monday, April 22, 2024

Lisa Vanderpump Is Not Leaving Las Vegas, Opening New Venues

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You don’t have to watch Bravo to know Lisa Vanderpump.

Sure, the Bravolebrity debuted as a “Real Housewife of Beverly Hills” in 2010 and spent nine seasons “wearing the crown,” but she also is a longtime restauranteur who owns and operates five restaurants including two in Las Vegas (Vanderpump Cocktail Garden and Vanderpump à Paris) and SUR Restaurant and Lounge in West Hollywood — the inspiration for “Vanderpump Rules,” which premiered in 2013 and is still in production (currently airing its 11th season).

She also co-owns TomTom Restaurant and Bar and opened Wolf by Vanderpump in Lake Tahoe last month, which she says is more “curated” and “bespoke” with a menu crafted and changed for each season. And this summer, she’s set to open Pinky’s by Vanderpump, a 7,000 square-foot Art Deco-style restaurant in the iconic Flamingo Hotel on the Las Vegas strip.

In addition to the restaurants, Vanderpump also founded the Vanderpump Dog Foundation and beverage brands Vanderpump Wines and Vanderpump Vodka — all of which contribute to a massive Vanderpump empire.

“I just have a lot on my plate,” Vanderpump tells Entrepreneur. “You know, it’s exciting for me, I’m happier that way.”

And then there’s the Villa. Although the British native has lived in Los Angeles for decades, her latest show, “Vanderpump Villa,” which is slated to premiere on Hulu on April 1, takes viewers (and Vanderpump) to France, where cameras roll as the staff of the exclusive and luxurious Chateau Rosabelle, which Vanderpump and her team created at the famed French Château St. Joseph for three weeks, for work (and play) in the middle of the French countryside.

Vanderpump says the show is “definitely complicated” because it combines a dozen young people living and working together with guests checking in for their stay.

“It’s a beautiful show, and it’s an immersive experience,” Vanderpump says. “It was a lot of fun, it’s a little bit of escapism.”

Related: He Owns 12 Nightlife Venues in NYC. Here’s How He Stays Open

Still, immersive escapism is the bread and butter of all of Vanderpump’s backed ventures — step into one of her restaurants and you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to another land of whimsy and magic, or as Vanderpump calls it, “naughtiness.”

For example, Vanderpump à Paris in Las Vegas, which was just voted the 11th most photographed restaurant in the U.S. by Yelp users, is situated next to the slot machines in Caesar’s Palace, but once inside you’re transported to the streets of France with umbrella chandeliers, marble countertops, and lush velvet finishings.

“People don’t pay enough attention to ambiance — lighting is key,” she said.

Vanderpump says she does not have an assistant and is “hands-on with everything” in her projects.

Related: Bethenny Frankel on Her Approach to Business and Negotiating Deals

Another key to her growth is making each venue unique while also making the space an extension of who she is and what she would want for her own place. After all, as her “Housewives” Season 3 tagline said, life isn’t all diamonds and rosé, but it should be.

“Of course, I’m a producer — I want beauty, I want excitement. I want great music, I want extraordinary flowers, I want great tablescapes. But I would want that in my life anyway … It was always like that before the cameras were on,” she says. “You have to always bring your style to something, make it yours, and make it different. I don’t like corporate things. I like the feeling of unique experiences.”

But life hasn’t all been gardens and roses. Viewers watched as her friendships imploded on “Housewives” before she left the show, and the Covid pandemic was “a nightmare” for Vanderpump’s businesses, she says.

She had to shutter the doors of her beloved Hollywood hotspot (and first Los Angeles restaurant) Villa Blanca in March 2020 after 12 years in business, while her cocktail garden concept, Pump, shut its doors in 2023.

For Vanderpump, being a reality star has led to a built-in customer base for her businesses, but it also comes with the added responsibility of millions of eyeballs on special media and the publicity that comes as a result of her (and her employees) being in the public eye.

Sometimes that’s to her benefit, and sometimes, not so much.

“The competition is so tough out there, it’s not for the faint-hearted,” she said. “You have to develop a thick skin. That’s very, very important.”

Still, there are a few rules Vanderpump sticks to when it comes to business. First, you have to love what you do.

“I think that if you’re really doing something that you love, your passion for that is your motivation,” she said while adding that sometimes life can be like a game…of tennis.

“If you don’t like doing something, it’s like playing tennis. If you like playing tennis, you’re going to run for that ball just because you want to hit it,” she mused. “But if you’re not motivated, you’re not excited by what you’re doing, then you don’t put the energy into it. Whereas the things I do, I’m excited. I don’t care how long I work. I don’t care how hard I work. I will get it done.”

But in the end, it’s all about staying “focused.”

“If things go wrong, you learn from it. There’s the good, the bad, and the ugly, and everything really, isn’t there,” she said. “Sometimes it’s overwhelming … If you really get going and get on it, you’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish.”

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