20-Year-Old Kylie Jenner Is Worth $900 Million (Or, Approx. Php40B), All Thanks To Her Beauty Empire And Massive Digital Influence—Here's How She Did It
At just 20 years old, Kylie is one of the richest women in America, and definitely of her generation.
Kylie might be too young to legally drink in the US, but no one said she couldn't make a jaw-dropping fortune with her beauty empire. Add the fact that she grew her net worth from just a few million dollars to almost a billion in under three years, and her story is all the more attention-grabbing.
She beats her equally famous sisters in this race of the richest, surpassing supermodel Kendall worth $18 million, $35 million for Kourtney, $40 million for Khloe, and reality show star Kim valued at $350 million. Her half-brother Rob is worth an estimated $10, beaten by the girls in the family by a mile.
Kylie's achievements were immortalized by Forbes which featured her on their most recent digital cover. As a whole, the issue focuses on the magazine's annual ranking of the top 60 self-made women with Kylie ranked at number 27, leaving other queens of pop culture like Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Madonna, and even fashion pillar Vera Wang trailing behind.
To further put things into perspective, Kylie's huge success is compared to that of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Snapchat's Evan Spiegel, and Microsoft's Bill Gates; all three are billionaires, but Mark hit the financial milestone at 23, while Evan was 25, and Bill was in his thirties.
Without a doubt, the youngest of the famous Kardashian-Jenner clan has struck gold, leveraging on the seemingly endless potential of our times' digital influence.
Here's how she did it:
Like most successful businesswomen, Kylie founded her business on a passion.
She loved makeup growing up. Getting primed and prepped for glamorous events was (and still is) her bread and butter, considering that she was thrust into the limelight after Keeping Up With the Kardashians was first aired when she was only 10 years old.
Particularly fixated on getting the perfect pout, she focused on creating lip products that would give her the look she desired. She had the habit of applying lip liner outside of her lips' natural outline, and it was a trend that quickly caught on with her millions of online followers.
Recognizing the potential for a business, she launched Kylie Lip Kits in November 2015 and hasn't looked back since.
Digital is the answer.
Fame wasn't the only thing Kylie gained from her active social media presence. Her know-how of online shopping—coupled with her "momager" Kris Jenner's inherent business acumen—led her to partner with significant players in the market that allowed her to grow her business, at minimal cost.
E-commerce platform Shopify proved especially helpful, as it saved her from expenses of overhead costs and employee salaries she would have incurred had she opted for brick and mortar stores.
Outsourcing is key.
Before her Forbes feature, we would have never believed it if we were told that Kylie's business is managed by a mere seven full-time and five part-time employees. Well, it is, and it's made possible because she outsources most of her manpower as well as supply chain and operational requirements.
Manufacturing is taken care of by Spatz Laboratories, while Seed Beauty handles packaging and shipping. Most of Kylie Cosmetics products are also manufactured in China where everything is arguably cheaper than opting for US-based production.
She monetized her identity as an online influencer and icon.
She has 110 million Instagram followers, 25.6 million Twitter followers, and hundreds of millions more on Snapchat. Collectively, her online audience composed mainly of girls and young women aged 18 to 34 became her automatic target market.
They're responsible for her first batch of lip kits selling out within minutes of their release, and the emptying of online stocks with each and every re-stocking or release of new collections.
It definitely helps that she wears her lipsticks (her most popular products) herself and showcases the different looks she creates with them online. With this, she was her own marketing too; there was no need to spend for models, ads, or PR companies to do the legwork for her.
She owns her entire business.
Kylie, unlike other big players in the industry, is the sole owner of Kylie Cosmetics. She shares her profits with no one else, with the exception of the 10% cut she gives to her mom. (Kris receives a talent fee of sorts from all of her children’s ventures, not just Kylie's). Kylie Cosmetics was reported to already earn a $230 million net profit.
She's got a safety net.
The elephant in the room is the fact that Kylie, and her family, got her big break for "being famous for being famous." The Kardashian-Jenner brood can always count on their fame to catch them if they fall, and this certainly applies to Kylie, in the event her business profits taper off and it makes an exit.
She can always start afresh with another venture, make the most of her endorsement incomes (Puma and PacSun being her highest paying partnerships), or fall back on being a reality star. In any case, this assurance allows Kylie to take risks and go about business in sometimes unconventional ways.
Although Forbes noted small dips in her empire since it launched in 2015—a natural effect of fading novelty and the saturation points of Kylie's market—others have acknowledged that Kylie will never lose her most important business asset, even if Kylie Cosmetics goes under: her name.
She can choose to go in a completely new direction, business-wise, and still make a profit simply because of her Kardashian/Jenner branding.
Now that is probably the most inimitable competitive advantage this young woman has—one that can never be replicated, even by her most formidable competitors.
Photos from @kyliejenner