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Forbes recently released its list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. From the world of celebrity, we saw names like Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Beyoncé. No one is particularly shocked to see these names on the list, but what is surprising is that they didn’t get there from record sales or a reality TV deal.
You've seen our blogs about companies using the power of celebrities to boost their own brand, but over the past couple years there has been an increasing amount of celebrities flipping the script and using their influence to generate revenue for their own brands. Celebrities are taking their wealth to new levels by using their influence to invest in themselves. In this blog, Hollywood Branded explores how celebrities are using their own platforms to build their brands and make crazy money.
New to the Almost-Billionaire’s Club, the 31 year-old musician/entrepreneur, is now worth an estimated $600 Million! Her success in 2018 was fairly under the radar until this list was released. Capitalizing on the current makeup craze, in 2017 Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty, a make-up brand she co-owns with luxury goods group LVMH. Unlike similar celebrity lines who initially kept their products out of retail stores, Rihanna immediately partnered with Sephora when launching the brand, allowing consumers to feel and see first hand the quality and colors – and speaking of the colors, Fenty Beauty immediately stole the hearts of many by launching FORTY different shades of foundation, making sure that people of all skin tones could find their perfect glow.
Rihanna's many foundation shades.
Given her influence, it didn’t take much for Fenty Beauty to take over the Instagram feeds of many. After she introduced the brand to her 60MM+ followers with a post, her team began the very simple, yet effective tactic of seeding product to other influencers who couldn’t wait to document their use of the products. It worked. In 2018, Fenty Beauty generated an estimated $570 million revenue.
Rihanna giving her followers a Fenty Beauty tutorial.
This isn’t all. The mogul also has a successful lingerie line known as Savage X Fenty, and in May 2019 Rihanna shattered barriers partnering with LVMH again for a new fashion house called Fenty.
More than just a lucrative opportunity, Rihanna partnering with LVMH to create an entire fashion house is changing the industry entirely. As our CEO Stacy Jones told WWD, “Instead of having celebrity faces like Natalie Portman at Dior or Nicole Kidman at Chanel, it’s now about how a celebrity can own a brand.” This article continued to prove our point by noting that, “only hours after LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton officially confirmed the establishment of her new Paris-based fashion house, more than 150,000 joined the brand’s (then content-less) Instagram account,” where fans (admittedly including myself!) impatiently waited to a glimpse at what was to come of the line.
Rihanna's IG announcement about the Fenty Fashion House.
Launching so recently, this LVMH partnership didn’t play a large role in Rihanna’s Forbes ranking this year, but we’re definitely excited to see where she nets out next year! Oh, and did we mention the star nearly went bankrupt in 2009? Talk about a come up!
A bit of an anomaly in the music industry, Beyoncé still continues to make a nice chunk of change from her music career. Raking in more than $250 million for her and Jay-Z’s On The Run II stadium tour, it’s estimated that the singer received $5 million per show… not a bad night, Bey. However, the singer really let us know who’s boss in April of 2019 when she released ‘Homecoming,’ a live album and Netflix special about her history-making 2018 Coachella performance. The Netflix special also came with the confirmation of a $60MM, three film deal the star made with the streaming service.
Taking a hit with her performance fee that year of Coachella, Beyoncé worked out a deal with the festival to own the rights to her performance so that one year later, she could release this documentary that gave a inside glimpse into her incredible work ethic and her very private personal life. The special wasn’t very well known until Beyoncé’s carefully curated Instagram account dropped the trailer and promo poster to her 120MM+ Instagram followers the day it released. We hear that HBO, who Bey partnered with on other projects, wanted the project, but just couldn’t compete with Netflix’s offer.
Beyoncé's post announcing Netflix's, 'Homecoming.'
But Netflix isn’t her only fore into Hollywood. Beyoncé is reportedly making $25 million for her part in Disney’s live-action reboot of The Lion King. Lending her voice to the film, and producing and starring on the soundtrack, Beyoncé has become a staple for this reboot, leaving fans hanging on every line of the trailers just waiting for a hint of Beyoncé’s voice.
This isn’t all though. In April of 2019, all it took was a sexy photoshoot of Beyoncé in a red Ji Won Choi for adidas bodysuit to confirm and excite fans everywhere about her new partnership with the brand. The sportswear line is working with Beyoncé to relaunch her activewear line, Ivy Park. No financial figures have been confirmed, but we’re guessing she's getting a pretty penny.
No need for a caption, Beyoncé's adidas-branded post said it all.
Oh, and the bodysuit is sold out everywhere, duh.
Probably the least shocking, but still overall pretty shocking, woman on this list is 21-year-old Kylie Jenner. The reality star is currently sitting pretty with a net worth of $1 billion thanks to her cosmetics line, Kylie Cosmetics. What started off as an infatuation with her lip injections has turned into a global phenomenon and has turned Jenner into the youngest self-made billionaire.
No stranger to brand partnerships, Kylie’s momager, Kris, has constantly helped brands like Sugar Bear Hair Care and Fashion Nova reach unfathomable success by using her daughters’ reach. When the youngest KarJenner made headlines with her pretty obvious lip injections, Kris suggested that Kylie capitalize on this and create her own line of lip kits. What started as a few shades of lip gloss has now turned into a billion-dollar cosmetic (and now skincare) line.
One of Kylie's first promotional appearances for Kylie Cosmetics.
One of the most followed people on Instagram, all it took was a couple of posts for her cosmetic launches to sell out in minutes. Launch after launch, the company’s website would struggle to keep up with the orders and keep its website from crashing. In 2018, the brand sold an estimated $360 million worth of product.
In November 2018, Kylie Cosmetics partnered with Ulta, where for the time in the company’s history, you could buy the brand at retail. The products sold out in stores, generating an estimated $55 million in just six weeks. Throughout the Ulta launch, Jenner made surprise store appearances, documenting the pop-ins on her Instagram story generating even more buzz.
In June 2019, Jenner launched Kylie Skin, a skincare line made up of serums, face wash, moisturizers, etc. Thanks to Jenner’s promotion of the line, the product sold out in minutes.
Kylie's IG announcement of Kylie Skin, garnering over 5 million likes.
The lady boss’s company is now worth an estimated $900 million, and Jenner owns 100% of it. I think it’s safe to say that this Forbes list is where Jenner plans to stay.
The reality star is no stranger to peddling brands on her Instagram account. Arguably the original social media hustler and with a little help from her reality show, Kim has become one of the most iconic people to follow on social media, which is ironic considering most belittle her as having no talent. After proving her social media worth to brands with morning sickness and vitamin brand partnerships, the star began generating her own brands to peddle.
The launch of her mobile video game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, in 2014 reportedly earned $74.3 million in just its first six months. From there she launched an emoji app, accessories, and now cosmetics.
Similar to her sister, Kim has reportedly generated more than $100 million in sales in 2018 from her cosmetics line. Constantly touted on her Instagram account, Kim’s iconic looks are now not only shopable, but they’re Kim-created-and-approved. The mogul’s YouTube makeup tutorials leading up to the launch have raked in millions of views, giving fans a glimpse at how they can look just like Kim.
Kim giving her KKWBeauty credit for her glam.
Kim’s latest line, a limited-edition beauty collection dedicated to her 5-year wedding anniversary, sold out in days thanks to her consistent posts and beautiful Instagramable press boxes sent out to her also-influential friends.
Kim using her IG to promote her limited edition Mrs. West Collection.
Already beginning promotions of her body product line, this influencer’s spot on the Forbes list is here to stay… and move up.
It was only a matter of time before these celebrities took their influence into their own hands. A sponsored Instagram post will only pay so much, but a business empire is the gift that keeps on giving. These celebrities are establishing themselves as very serious players in the corporate world, often putting established, competing brands to stay. Seeing their success, it’s safe to say that these women are the forces to be reckoned with, and they’re not going anywhere.
If your brand wants in on some of the action, check out some of our blogs on influencer partnerships.
Want to become an expert at this Influencer Wild Wild West? Check out our influencer marketing school to learn all the tips and tricks!
Topics: Celebrity Partnership, Product Placement & Branded Content
Though a Jersey girl at heart, Chelsea fell in love with Chicago while receiving her bachelor’s degree in Communications from Loyola University of Chicago. It was in the Windy City where she discovered the art of TV production and has been working in the entertainment industry ever since. Having a passion for entertainment both professionally and personally, you can usually spot her at a concert or movie theatre on the weekends. Since her move to LA, Chelsea’s been taking advantage of the weather, spending time outdoors hiking or at the beach. A shameless fan of celebrity gossip, you can also always find her catching up on the latest Kardashian scandal. While most people have to keep up with the Kardashians, the Kardashians have to keep up with her!