Kylie Jenner: An Inside Look at the World's Youngest Self-Made Billionaire
With the launch of Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie Jenner has gone from reality TV starlet to unbelievably successful entrepreneur in a matter of a few short years. She used her passion for makeup to build a business that is worth a whopping $900 million. Combined with her other assets, Kylie is worth an estimated $1 billion.
So, how did someone so young accomplish so much in such a short amount of time? The short answer is she leveraged her reality TV fame, her social influence and her social media knowledge, but the full answer is a lot more complex. Let's take a walk through Kylie’s journey to becoming the billion-dollar baby of the Kardashian-Jenner clan.
The Baby of the Family
Kylie Jenner is the youngest child of Kris Jenner from her previous marriage to Olympian Caitlyn (previously Bruce) Jenner. The young Jenner first stepped into the limelight at the age of 10, when she was featured with her family on E!’s Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The show included her parents and older siblings, Kim Kardashian West, Kourtney Kardashian, Khloé Kardashian, Rob Kardashian and Kendall Jenner.
The Kardashian Fortune
Throughout the years, each member of the Kardashian-Jenner family has found what they wanted to focus on beyond reality television. Kim eventually dove into fashion, beauty and social justice reform, while Khloé focused on fitness and branched out into creating television shows.
Finding Her Niche
While her other siblings were figuring out their lives, a younger Kylie also had to find her own thing to do. As a young teen, she thought about going into acting, especially since she lived in California. However, her mother knew that her youngest daughter was destined to be a businesswoman.
Early Endorsement Deals
Eventually, Kylie began to focus on commercial modeling in her teen years, and she had multiple campaigns and magazine covers alone and with older sister Kendall. She was also able to snag endorsement deals with companies like Nip + Fab and Bellami Hair Extensions.
A Personal Brand
Beyond just making a lot of money, Kylie quickly built up a personal brand for herself. People knew her name, and she had a lot of followers on social media, particularly teens around her own age who looked up to her.
Kendall & Kylie
Kylie eventually began to do more collaborations with her sister Kendall. The two joined forces with the clothing brand PacSun in early 2013 to create their own clothing line called The Kendall & Kylie Collection when she was only 15 years old. Months later, the Jenner sisters launched a jewelry line with Pascal Mouawad's Glamhouse called Metal Haven by Kendall & Kylie.
Alongside her sister, Kylie became an influencer before becoming an online influencer was even a recognized thing. In 2014, the sisters were even listed on Time magazine's "Most Influential Teens" list.
A Passion for Makeup
As she got older, Kylie further explored her love of fashion and makeup. She loved how wearing makeup made her feel, particularly when she put on lipstick. In fact, she loves lipstick so much that she rarely leaves the house without either lipstick or lip gloss on.
Experimenting with Her Look
The young entrepreneur began to change up her look quite a bit. In her late teens, she was spotted rocking a more goth look that was much different from the rest of her sisters. She also regularly dyed her hair different colors, which only added to her influence in teen fashion. The different colors made her appear cooler to her fans, and they loved it.
A Scandalous Challenge
Kylie found herself in the midst of a dilemma when the "Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge" was created by teen fans on social media. The challenge pushed teens to insert their lips into a shot glass or bottle and then suck out the air. This resulted in swollen lips to imitate Jenner's new pouty lips.
The First Lip Kits
The budding businesswoman quietly used $250,000 of her own money to pay an outside company to produce her first "Kylie Lip Kits." The kits included a liquid lipstick and a lip liner and came in various colors. Kylie teased the different shades on her Instagram account for several months, creating swatches on her own skin to show how the colors looked.
A Scarcity Tactic
Some marketing experts weighed in on the instant success of Jenner's new lip kits, arguing that it was a classic "scarcity" tactic. She only had 15,000 kits made in the first place. This was viewed by experts as a way to research interest in the kits, but also a way to create a sense of exclusivity.
Relaunching the Brand
Kris Jenner saw the lip kits as a huge opportunity for her youngest daughter. As Kylie’s "momager," she brought in e-commerce platform Shopify to help her build Kylie Lip Kits into a full-blown company.
Social Media Marketing
Using her social media accounts to promote her products was a major money saver for Kylie. At the time of the launch of Kylie Cosmetics, she had more than 110 million followers on Instagram alone.
Keeping Up with Kylie
Another key tactic in the growth of Kylie Jenner's company was her former mobile app and YouTube channel. To further promote the line, she gave fans an inside look at meetings and launch parties for Kylie Cosmetics.
When Kylie Cosmetics launched in 2016, Kylie released a holiday collection that November that managed to pull down almost $19 million worth of orders in one day. This move sparked more collections that celebrated special occasions like Kylie’s birthday and included collaborations with her sisters and her mother.
Signing with PUMA
Also in 2016, Kylie added more money to her bank account with a seven-figure brand ambassador deal with footwear brand PUMA. As part of the deal, she served as a brand advocate and launched campaigns and posts on her social media outlets.
As she continued to build Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie began to add more products to her beauty brand as well. She moved beyond just lip kits and included eyeshadows, blushes, concealers and more for beauty customers who loved the brand.
Over the next two years, Kylie Cosmetics continued to increase its sales. In 2018, Kylie went on to officially file for a skincare trademark. Almost a year after the filing, she announced the launch of her skincare line called Kylie Skin.
Signing a Deal with Ulta
Another major business move for Kylie came when she locked in a distribution deal with Ulta Beauty. She signed the deal with the major beauty retailer in 2018 to allow her products from Kylie Cosmetics to be sold in 1,300+ Ulta locations across the country.
A Controversial Title
With all this growth for the company, Kylie Jenner officially crossed the $1 billion milestone in terms of her net worth. After doing so, Forbes reported that she was the world's youngest self-made billionaire, officially pulling it off at a younger age than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
An Independent Hustle
Regardless of opinions about how she did it, Kylie was still a wealthy young woman with more than $1 billion in revenue and assets. What was even more impressive was that up until that point, she had done it all on her own financially. All the money poured into Kylie Cosmetics came out of her own pockets.
Again, Kylie’s major success was attributed to the fact that she had worked hard to develop a personal brand for herself online. Her customer and fan engagement online has proven vital to the success of Kylie Cosmetics.
In February 2018, Kylie became a mom when she gave birth to her daughter, Stormi, whom she shares with ex-boyfriend Travis Scott. She regularly posts pictures and videos of Stormi online, and the toddler was even the inspiration for a new collection at Kylie Cosmetics.
Moving to Adidas
After the family controversy surrounding Kylie’s deal with PUMA, the entrepreneur eventually signed a brand ambassador deal with Adidas for their Falcon Shoes in 2018. The move not only quelled family drama, but it also added more money to her pockets.
Kylie Cosmetics Headquarters
To keep up with work, Kylie has her own headquarters for employees at Kylie Cosmetics in Oxnard, California. She has taken supporters on a virtual tour of the fancy office in the past. It’s clear that she held nothing back when it came to creating the perfect workspace for herself.
Getting the Job Done
Kylie’s team at the company is rather small compared to the volume of sales and the amount of money the brand makes. She employs seven people full time and five people part time. Manufacturing and packaging are outsourced to Seed Beauty, the original manufacturer of the lip kits.
A Major Deal
In a surprise move, it was recently announced that Kylie signed a major deal with beauty brand Coty, Inc. In the past, Coty has acquired other top beauty brands, including CoverGirl, OPI Products (nail polishes) and Clairol (hair dye). The deal gave Coty a 51% controlling stake in Kylie Cosmetics, and Kylie received $600 million in return.
Breaking It Down
With the deal, Kylie and her team still have creative control of Kylie Cosmetics and are able to make decisions regarding products, packaging and marketing. She made the decision in order to expand the reach of the brand on a worldwide scale.
Rolling in the Dough
Kylie Jenner has made more than $630 million with Kylie Cosmetics. The brand is on track to hit a net worth of $1 billion of its own by 2022. At just 22 years old, Kylie, her daughter and any future children she has are set for life.