The Kardashian-Jenners are not “talented” in any kind of conventional sense. They are not athletes. They can’t dance. They can’t sing. They can’t act. I would argue that Kris Jenner has a great business sense, and that Kim Kardashian inherited that from her mom, but the rest of the Kardash-jenners? Not really. When Kylie Jenner originally started her “lip kit” company, I thought “well, that will be a good little side business for her.” I thought it would be a small thing, a nice little revenue stream for her and a way for her to separate herself from her family’s many projects. Two years later, Kylie Cosmetics now has a revenue stream of $420 million, according to Kris Jenner. For real?
Look out, L’Oréal and Lauder — Kylie has you in her sights. Ever since 19-year-old Kylie Jenner launched her now-signature Kylie Lip Kits on Nov. 30, 2015 — when the three shades sold out in seconds — there has been raging speculation about the size of her business, with guesstimates ranging from $50 million up to $300 million being tossed around by those in the financial, beauty and tech spaces.
Well, here’s the bad news for more-established beauty players: Jenner’s surpassed the higher figure with ease. Kylie Cosmetics actually has done $420 million in retail sales — in just 18 months — Kris Jenner revealed to WWD last week during an interview in her office at her home in Hidden Hills in Los Angeles. It was the first time the Jenners have disclosed the scale of Kylie’s business, and they provided WWD with documentation. The number is clearly impressive, but when compared to the sales of some other mega-beauty brands, the growth trajectory of Jenner’s business becomes even more significant.
For perspective, the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.-owned Tom Ford Beauty was said to have reached revenues of $500 million after a decade, and the brand is considered to be one of the two fastest growing in Lauder’s portfolio, along with Jo Malone. Bobbi Brown, also part of the Lauder stable, took 25 years to reach the billion-dollar mark in 2016, with L’Oréal’s Lancôme finally hitting the milestone in 2015 after 80 years.
The first three products hit kyliecosmetics.com in November 2015, Kris explained, but because there was a three-month lag before the second “drop” in February 2016, they technically don’t count the time between because there was no product to sell (save for a small restock on Christmas Eve 2015). It was in the lag months that Kris and Kylie embarked on their partnership with current manufacturer, Oxnard, Calif.-based Seed Beauty, which is also the parent company of ColourPop. Seed Beauty does not have equity in Kylie Cosmetics.
Kylie Lip Kits formally became Kylie Cosmetics in February 2016, with a relaunch of the three original lip kits and three new shades for Valentine’s Day. The initial line in November 2015 was seen as a test and only 5,000 of each $29 matte lipstick and corresponding lip liner were made (or 15,000 units total). Less than three months later, production was boosted to 500,000 units of all six shades. Today, about 300,000 units are produced of each product.
Growth shows no signs of slowing down, with Kylie Cosmetics on track to see a 25 percent increase in sales this year. That puts sales projections for 2017 at $386 million, and if that growth trajectory continues, Kylie Cosmetics, wholly conceptualized, founded and helmed by Kylie (with some help from mastermind and mom Kris Jenner) is on track to become beauty’s next billion-dollar baby by 2022.
All I can think is that I truly believe I’m fancy whenever I wear tinted lip gloss ($5 for a pack of three). Many of us thought that Kylie’s lip-kit company was little more than a pet project, something poorly organized and executed. I guess we were wrong? Good God. I can’t believe Kylie Jenner (and Kris, let’s be real) built a company with $420 million is sales.
Photos courtesy of Kylie’s Instagram.