Shaunie O'Neal was already well-known as a "basketball wife"; now she is about to add a new title to her name: shoe designer.
O’Neal is the executive producer and star of VH1’s reality show “Basketball Wives," which starts its third season on Monday. She is also the ex-wife of NBA All-Star Shaquille O’Neal. Now, however, she's embracing her new role, that of fashion entrepreneur.
“I am really excited about the product,” O’Neal told BusinessNewsDaily. “The shoes look like they cost $1 million, but they are only a fraction of the price.”
While other reality stars also have jumped into the designing role (taking on everything from clothes to handbags) following their stint on TV, O’Neal said this is something she’s long had a passion for.
Rather than just slapping her name on a product, she worked with executives and designers at Chinese Laundry, a women’s footwear company, to learn the ins and outs of the business, including specifics on designing and https://www.businessnewsdaily.com.
“They spent several months teaching me,” O’Neal said. “It was like going to school.”
The shoe line, called SO.CO for Shaunie O’Neal by Chinese Laundry, will be available in stores June 28. A launch party is being planned for next month at Macy’s.
O’Neal says she’s hopeful the shoes are as successful as her television show. The show follows the day-to-day lives of several current and former wives of professional basketball players.
Its popularity was highlighted by the Season Two finale, which was seen by 2.3 million viewers, making it the highest-rated show on the VH1 network in two years.
“It has really taken on a life of its own,” O’Neal said. “I am really proud of the success.”
The show also led O’Neal to start her own production company, Amirah Inc., which has produced a “Basketball Wives” spin-off, “Football Wives.”
O’Neal always had aspirations of , going as far as keeping a notebook filled with her ideas, but she said she didn’t pursue them enough during her marriage.
“You might have goals and dreams, but it is an easy place to get stuck,” O’Neal said, noting that throughout her marriage, she had little regard for her own aspirations.
She already was a mother of five — a full-time job on its own —when her marriage ended, but said she still knew it was time to start trying to achieve some of her entrepreneurial goals.
“I decided, why not just go after all of the things I wanted,” O’Neal said. “I just went out on a limb.”
Juggling her television show, new shoe line and children – ages 13, 11, 9, 7 and 4 – can sometimes be a difficult, but O’Neal said she finds inspiration in the support of her family, and stays organized with help from a huge kitchen calendar.
“It does get crazy at times, but you just get in a groove,” O’Neal said. “Without organization, I don’t know where I would be.”
O’Neal promised that on the next season of "Basketball Wives" the ladies will keep things interesting.
“Expect some good, old-fashioned drama,” she said.
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