Wearing a T-shirt, sporting slicked-back hair and a scruffy five-day shadow, Jason Tartick doesn’t look like a standard-issue banking executive.
That's the idea.
"Hello, everyone," he says, gazing into his iPhone camera. "Welcome back to 'Restart' with me, Jason Tartick, where we are breaking down the craaaziness of the news, and making it relatable to you."
Tartick points his finger at the lens to punctuate that last word, as if he’s having an intimate talk with you. As Americans grapple with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, this is the way Tartick wants it to feel: up-close, direct and personal. It's not dissimilar to how his audience first came to know him. Tartick, a 31-year-old native of Williamsville, became famous two years ago as a contestant on ABC's "The Bachelorette." Although he didn’t win (he finished third), it paid off nicely in people power: Tartick has a large social media platform – nearly 900,000 on Twitter and Instagram combined – and in the two years since his time on the show, has done a series of appearances and endorsements.
But those don’t last, and Tartick knows it.
You may qualify for a direct deposit that would hit your bank account in just a few weeks! This tutorial will explain how you may qualify, when you’ll receive the funds and how much you could receive! understand how it impacts you! Full Video Link ➡️ https://t.co/fIMdFpPc1n pic.twitter.com/WWvaqv0QxX
— Jason Tartick (@Jason_Tartick) March 27, 2020
"Fifteen minutes of fame is a very fair statement," Tartick said. He spoke to The News in pair of phone interviews – one in late 2019, as he was traveling for appearances, and the other a week ago from his house in Nashville, where he is quarantining with his girlfriend, Kaitlyn Bristowe, who herself became famous on "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" in 2015. (Tartick and Bristowe appeared in separate seasons of the show and their much-publicized relationship began last year, well after both were finished as contestants.)
"Your relevancy once you're not on TV – regardless of what you're doing – decreases significantly in almost every space," Tartick said. "It goes for athletes, actors, musicians, TV personalities."
That's why Tartick hoping to meld his background – he's a former bank vice president – with his Bachelor-esque ability to be candid and relatable on camera. He wants to build Restart, which at the moment is a series of financial explainer videos on YouTube, into a robust business that helps people with money, life and career planning.
Tartick has seen Bristowe parlay her own reality show fame into brand that connects with "Bachelor Nation," as fans of the show are collectively called, but transcends the franchise itself. "What she's done is separate herself from the show to create a brand that is the Kaitlyn Bristowe brand and not a 'Bachelorette Kaitlyn' brand,” he said.
Bristowe, who has an audience well north of 2 million on Instagram and Twitter, hosts a highly rated podcast, "Off the Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe," as well as a scrunchie line and a wine label. She and Tartick do retain their connections to the Bachelor franchise, making appearances and hosting programs. They will be judges together on an episode of "The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart," a love and music reality show that premieres April 13 on ABC.
They don't shun or run from Bachelor, but they do make sure to build business interests independent of it.
"We have a lot of those conversations," said Bristowe, who recently visited Buffalo with Tartick for the first time and is hoping to come back to do a live podcast. "I’ve been out of the show for five years, and I've seen a lot of people do it right, and a lot of people do it wrong."
The wrong way: making appearances or doing endorsements for products you would never use.
"You lose people’s interest," Bristowe said. "People don't buy it." Early on in post-Bachelor contestant life, Bristowe did a social media endorsement for a waist trainer, and quickly got a call from a friend who specializes in celebrity marketing. "I don’t care how much they paid you," Bristowe's friend told her. "You take that down right now or you’re going to lose everything you want to build."
The right way? Do work that fits who you actually are — like Tartick using his nine years as a banking executive to build his new "Restart" brand.
"One of the things I've done is step back and say, 'Where do I differentiate?' " Tartick said. "What makes me unique, having this platform, and what can I do that can actually bring some benefit?' "
Being interesting helps.
"It's not like everybody can do it," points out Suzannah Showler, author of the 2018 book "Most Dramatic Ever: The Bachelor." On "The Bachelor" and its spinoffs, Showler notes, you're on "a professionally produced and mediated show." You have producers and editors whose job is to make you interesting. But once you're off the show and on your own – for example, shooting videos on your iPhone at home, which Tartick is doing while quarantining – it's more difficult.
"It's not like going on the show and coming in third is any kind of guarantee of a post-Bachelor career using social media platforms," Showler said. "It definitely takes canniness, I think, and strategy and intelligence and a compelling persona that people want to continue to spend time with."
Tartick had been toying for a while with web series ideas, possibly by taking a health-and-wealth approach and teaming with a friend who is a physician. But when the economy nosedived last month, Tartick put a poll on his Instagram, asking: When someone refers to the Dow, do you know what it means?
A quarter-million people saw the poll, and 91% admitted they didn’t understand the Dow Jones industrial average. "I knew there was some sort of gap," said Tartick, who posted a short Dow tutorial. "The response was really positive."
The video elicited thousands of comments, messages and emails, and Tartick decided he could do more. A graduate of Williamsville East (2006) and SUNY Geneseo (2010), Tartick worked for KeyBank in Syracuse, Cleveland, Rochester and finally, at the time of his reality show stint in 2018, Seattle. He was a vice president at the time, which gave expertise in high-level finance, and was also managing his own student loan debt from the MBA he earned at the University of Rochester.
"While we're in quarantine, just sitting at home anyway, this is the time to really break down what's going on in the world and how it impacts everybody," said Tartick, who last year moved from Seattle to join Bristowe in Nashville. "Because this is touching everyone, right? From unemployment to tax rebates to small business loans and to all of the health concerns associated with it."
The "Restart with Jason Tartick" videos are aimed at his millennial and Gen Z audience. They include "How The Coronavirus Will Affect Your Student Loans," "3 Ideas Your Must Know To Reduce Your Student Debt," "Covid-19 Unemployment Benefits Explained" and "Stimulus Passed: Find out how $2400+ could be in your bank account soon."
Tartick hopes to build the Restart brand into a full business that includes one-on-one consulting for debt and money management, including managing financials through relationships, marriage and divorce. He also plans to develop live events and build a career development element to Restart.
He's still tapping personal moments, too. On March 21, Tartick posted a video taking viewers inside the Covid-19 testing process. Earlier in the month, after a trip to New York City, Bristowe returned to Nashville and quickly was feeling all the symptoms associated with the coronavirus. She went in for testing on a Friday. The video follows the couple through the four-day experience of testing – and waiting, and waiting some more – and then finally hearing back.
"I had convinced myself that I had it," Bristowe told The News. "I was basically just waiting for them to call me and confirm that, yes, I had it."
But she didn't. Bristowe learned the following Tuesday that she tested negative, and actually had bronchitis and the flu. In the video, Tartick delivered that news and wrapped with series of takeaways for viewers who might find themselves seeking testing: Call your local coronavirus hotline. Consider consulting a doctor virtually. Be prepared to be patient with the process.
"I hope everyone out there – everyone – is practicing social distancing," Tartick said, "and you're doing the right things to say safe, and to stay healthy."