Runner-up Raven Gates didn’t win the heart of Bachelor Nick Viall, but she is arguably the real winner of the show.
The 25-year-old contestant, who owns a women’s boutique clothing store called Grey Suede in Jonesboro, Ark., expertly used her 11-week arch on The Bachelor to promote her business.
Throughout the season, Gates wore Grey Suede dresses, rompers and jean shorts, which caused a flurry of chatter on Twitter. While the other women were dropping tens of thousands of dollars on their wardrobes — besides the gowns worn by each of the two finalists, ABC doesn’t provide any of the clothing worn on the show — Gates was busy generating free marketing for herself and her hometown boutique.
Although the Bachelor contestants aren’t paid, many use their newfound fame to secure social media endorsement deals or push their own products. Reality TV stars can reportedly make anywhere from $1,500 to upwards of $7,000 for promoting a brand on their social media.
Gates appears to have had her game plan ready from the start. After being named a contestant on Nick’s season of The Bachelor, she immediately blasted the news across her company’s social media accounts. Grey Suede customers can find a selection of clothes and accessories that range from $30 to upwards of $300. Gates even added a Bachelor-themed section to her website after the show premiered (although it has since been removed). Thanks to her visibility on the show, she now has over half a million followers on Instagram and more than 60,000 on Twitter.
Despite her “loss,” Gates isn’t done milking the free promotion just yet. During the Bachelor finale, she announced that she will be starring in the next season of the spin off show, Bachelor In Paradise. We’ll see if Gates (and Grey Suede) can continue to capture the hearts of Bachelor Nation.