Kylie Jenner via Forbes
From make-up mogul to reality TV star and model, Kylie Jenner is a lot of different things, and never one to rest on her laurels, she has now also been enrolled in the elite billionaire club. At just 21 years old, the Kylie Cosmetics owner has become the world’s youngest billionaire in history, as well as the youngest self-made one ever, according to Forbes, which included Jenner on its recently released list of billionaires.
With Jenner’s high-class upbringing, some people have disputed the ‘self-made’ category, leading Forbes to clarify it as, “someone who built a company or established a fortune on her own, rather than inheriting some or all of it.” Either way, Jenner’s entrepreneurial efforts are undoubtedly impressive, and have made her the most financially successful member of the Jenner-Kardashian family.
"I really do feel like people don't take me seriously as a business woman because of my age and my reputation," she said last year on Life of Kylie. "But I feel like they're starting to. I like to prove people wrong."
Jenner earns money from her paid app, the Kylie Jenner Official App, as well as online store, The Kylie Shop. She also has two apparel lines with sister Kendall Jenner, a book series, programmes, including Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Life of Kylie, and partnerships with retail brands. However, much of her wealth has been generated by Kylie Cosmetics.
How Did Kylie Cosmetics Become So Successful?
Kylie Cosmetics, a cruelty-free company, is worth at least $900 million, Forbes estimates, and Jenner has made $100 million in cash from the company’s profits. The brunette beauty mogul owns 100 percent of the company, which she launched in 2015 after being inspired by YouTube make-up tutorials as a tween.
"I turned to make-up to help me feel more confident," she told Forbes. Using $250,000 of her earnings from modeling gigs, she came up with her first product, the famous Kylie Lip Kits, which were sold out within a minute. The $29 lip kits consist of a matte liquid lipstick and matching lip liner.
The company made $307 million in sales within a year of launching. By 2017, 30 new products were added, including concealer and make-up brushes, and many more colour combinations were created in 2018, when an estimated $360 million worth of Kylie Cosmetics were sold.
During the first couple of years, Kylie Cosmetics, which now also makes eyeshadows, highlighters and eyeliners, only sold its make-up online and briefly in pop up shops. However, sales really started to boost after an exclusive distribution deal with the retailer Ulta last summer. According to Forbes, Kylie Cosmetics sold nearly $55 million worth of products in Ulta stores over the first six weeks of the deal.
Another reason Kylie Cosmetics is thriving is its really low overhead and the fact it outsources most of its work. For example, manufacturing and packaging is outsourced to Seed Beauty, a private-label producer, while online merchant Shopify deals with sales and fulfillment. Plus, the company employs fewer than 15 people, and even some of those are part-timers.
Then, of course, there’s how Jenner cleverly leverages her 177 million social media followers. The star has 128 million followers on Instagram alone. “It's the power of social media," Jenner told Forbes. "I had such a strong reach before I was able to start anything." Almost hourly, she lets her followers know about new product launches and describes the shades she’s wearing, for instance. Her products are also popular because there’s a limited number with each launch. And it doesn’t hurt for her to have her shrewd mother, Kris, as Chief Financial Officer.
"I didn't expect anything. I did not foresee the future. But [the recognition] feels really good. That's a nice pat on the back," the woman behind the company projected to rake in $1 billion in lifetime sales by 2022, told Forbes.
Mother to one-year-old Stormi, Jenner nabbed the youngest billionaire title from Facebook Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg, who became a billionaire at the age of 23. Another heavyweight who became a billionaire before the age of 30 is Evan Spiegel. Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates earned the classification in 1987, when he was 31.