- Isobel Thompson
Inside 20-year-old Kylie Jenner’s multi-million-dollar empire
Kylie Jenner might only be 20 years old, but the reality TV star presides over a business portfolio to rival American scions three times her age.
It was just over a year-and-a-half ago when the youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, who celebrates her birthday on today, captivated cosmetics fans everywhere with the launch of three Kylie Lip Kits. Consisting of a lip liner and matte liquid lipstick, the $29 kits sold out within a minute and sent prices on re-sale sites soaring. Since then, her direct-to-consumer make-up range has expanded to include eyeshadows, blushes, make-up brushes and highlighters (or, as Kyliecosmetics.com bills them, “kylighters”).
Demand remains frenzied. On Wednesday, Jenner revealed that Kylie Cosmetics—of which she is the chief executive officer, chief marketing officer and chief creative officer—has generated sales of $420 million in the past 18 months. To put that in perspective: it reportedly took Tom Ford Beauty a decade to hit the $500 million revenue mark.
To top that off, she has become the second highest-earner in the Kardashian-Jenner clan after her half-sister Kim, banking an estimated $18 million last year.
And Jenner, already the world’s most-watched person on Snapchat, is only getting started. On her 20th birthday, Vogue looks at how Jenner spun a supporting role on her family’s reality TV show into a commercial empire spanning beauty, fashion, entertainment and tech.
2011: Kardashian Kolor Aged just 13, Jenner reportedly pocketed $100,000 alongside her sisters for promoting an OPI nail varnish line named, fittingly, Kardashian Kolor.
2013: Kendall and Kylie for PacSun Kylie and her supermodel sister, Kendall, debuted their first clothing line for the now-bankrupt PacSun. Made up of frayed denim shorts and bandeau tops, its bohemian vibe developed an edgier feel in later collections, which featured ample amounts of faux-leather and a black beanie emblazoned with Kylie’s childhood nickname, “Brat”.
2014: Kendall & Kylie for Madden Girl On the heels of their PacSun success, Kylie and Kendall partnered with Steve Madden on a line of California-inspired shoes and handbags for its youth-focused off-shoot label, Madden Girl.
2015: Campaign model For her high-fashion modelling debut, Kylie once again paired up with Kendall for Balmain’s sister-themed ad campaign. Shot by Mario Sorrenti, it also featured Erika and Joan Smalls, and Bella and Gigi Hadid. In the last few years, Kylie has shown she also has serious pulling power as a one-woman act: She served as a brand ambassador for skincare line Nip + Fab, hit headlines as the face of Puma in a contract reportedly worth seven figures, and most recently, appeared in a Balmain x Beats by Dr. Dre collaboration campaign.
2015: Kylie Cosmetics On November 30, 2015, Jenner launched her namesake beauty business with three Lip Kits, which sold out in less than 60 seconds. She’s since expanded her range to include eye make-up, blush, “kylighters” and make-up tools, released in surprise “drops” that get fans’ fingers racing for the check-out button.
2016: Kendall + Kylie In 2016, the Jenner sisters launched their own eponymously named clothing line at New York Fashion Week, which featured multiple interpretations of the Kardashian favourite: the bodycon dress. A Kendall + Kylie swimwear line was also released in collaboration with Topshop.
2016: King Kylie Going back to her roots—but this time without her family—Jenner launched the King Kylie collection of nail varnish with Sinful Colors. In the eight days following the launch, Superdrug sold one bottle every eight seconds.
2017: Life of Kylie After appearing on Keeping Up with the Kardashians for more than half her life, on Sunday, Jenner debuted an E! reality show all her own, called Life of Kylie. It’s centered on Jenner’s ultimate marketing asset: herself. The youngest Jenner continues to forge ahead with brand partnerships, including a capsule collection this summer with Australian eyewear brand Quay.