Kylie Jenner’s lip-kit company has grown into an empire with $420 million in sales

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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.

[From WWD]

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.

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Photos courtesy of Kylie’s Instagram.

 

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83 Responses to “Kylie Jenner’s lip-kit company has grown into an empire with $420 million in sales”

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  1. Talie says:

    I know grown career women in their 30s and 40s who buy her stuff, so she has definitely broken through.

    • INeedANap says:

      But seriously, why? They seem really basic in terms of color and quality, and it’s not some new kind of product — it’s just liner and gloss. When I splurge on makeup I get brands like Yves Saint Laurent and Kat Von D.

    • kimbers says:

      THAT’S Sad!

      I don’t know anyone of legal age who owns anything jenner/Kardashian produced.

      Oh well if people aren’t embarrassed by cheapo quality or being sheep with no taste…their lips

      • Sabrine says:

        I’m not a fan because Kylie Jenner is far from my demographic and I don’t watch crap like that on t.v. I’ve noticed that she’s been trashed on here many times about being vain, dumb, over-rated, vapid and on a pathetic show, She may be all those things but that all seems rather insignificant compared to the fact that she’s brilliant at making money. Kylie doesn’t care that you find her and her family disgusting. Nope, she doesn’t care at all.

    • STRIPE says:

      I did too- until I found out that they’re just repackaged Colourpop products! Check that company out. Waaaaaaay cheaper and non-Kardashian!

    • Crystal says:

      I’m a 27 yo millennial…thats pathetic. Anybody who buys/watches the kardashians is pathetic

    • Sasha says:

      @Talie
      While you claim to know a couple or a few ‘women’ who bought her line, I’d lay odds that 90-95% of her base are under 18 years old. Add to that some young women in their 20′s, who grew up watching this putrid family, and maybe you’re left with less than 1%.
      I find it absolutely disgusting that kids try to emulate these people. And they do.

      • Anilehcim says:

        Why are you attacking Talie for what they said? They were simply stating that people they know buy/have bought the product. I know people who are 29 and up who’ve bought the product as well. I would NEVER do it myself because I just can’t condone anything about this family… but your comment is really snarky and unnecessarily nasty. Referring to people they know as “‘women’” and basically calling them a liar?? I agree with you that I’m anti-Kardashian and I’m grossed out by people who try to emulate them…. but you should really check yourself. People are entitled to behave in ways that you disagree with. No need to call anyone a liar over it.

        Whether you or I or anyone else want to see this family thrive, the lipkits are extremely popular.

      • Sasha says:

        @Anilehcim
        I wasn’t attacking anyone but simply differing in opinion as to who’s buying these products. I put ‘women’ as I did as they are adults. You’re reading way too far into my comment. Maybe you’re highly sensitive?

  2. Runcmc says:

    WOW. This is like that game app Kim had a couple of years ago… don’t sleep on those side hustles. I’m surprised by how much money can be made a little bit at a time like that.

    And here I am with my little savings app that rounds up pennies to the next dollar every time I use my card. Something tells me I won’t be hitting 420 million…

  3. Karen says:

    But what’s the net profit?

    That’s just sales, doesn’t include manufacturing, advertising, overhead employee cost, shipping, etc.

    • Amelia says:

      Lol Karen. So let’s just be stingy and say she has a lot of associated costs and is netting 8%profit, that’s $33 million. That’s insane!

    • Jamieee says:

      The manufacturing is cheap, they use Seed Beauty who also make Colourpop. They don’t really advertise beyond photoshoots with Kylie and friends, and sending products to bloggers. No big ad campaigns or anything. Overheads are low. No shopfronts bar a couple of pop up shops. So just online support staff, a shipping warehouse and warehouse staff. And they charge customers the full rate for shipping, so they aren’t taking any losses there.

    • LadyMTL says:

      Hah, you read my mind Karen. My first thought was “okay, good sales numbers…how much did she net?”. There’s a big difference between $420 mil in sales and $420 mil in profit, after all. But then, I wouldn’t put it past Momma Kris to try and conflate the two.

    • Snickers says:

      That’s the thing, i don’t think she has a lot of overhead at all. She works with a lab that does a lot of other brands, keeps ingredient costs low and has notoriously cheap packaging (it’s gotten better).

      Cosmetics is one of the cheaper businesses to get into. So many labs are overseas, and doing 101 brands – they’ll even create brushes and lipsticks for the woman on the street. Specify your formula and color and boom. If i wanted to come out with Snickers liquid lip (hey that sounds nice, lol) i could do it and it wouldn’t even be that much. Add in a social media presence of millions (which I don’t have but Kylie does, lol) and you have a ready made loyal af buying block.

      That’s why a lot of the youtube and Instagram makeup artists and models are making a very nice living. They may not have their own brand of cosmetics but the other makeup companies have recognized their buying influence through a o coal media and do everything from sending them free stuff on the regular, to paying them for endorsements of products, to collaborating, to sending them on free luxury trips (documenting everything on social media of course)

      Benefit took all the beauty influencers to a private tropical island owned by Richard Branson- YouTube it. It was insane. In a good way. Lol

  4. Sixer says:

    I don’t even know what a lip kit IS! Is it a lipstick? Is it a lip gloss?

    I feel fancy when I remember to brush my hair, Kaiser, so I don’t suppose I’ll be contributing to Kylie’s slap empire any time soon!

  5. African Sun says:

    I work in the beauty industry so I saw this article in my WWD subscription. Trust me when I say any beauty executive would do anything for her customer base.

    Don’t hate the player. hate the game. Those lip injections were the best decision she made business wise because they literally spawned this business.

  6. Jamieee says:

    That sounds about right. I’m heavily into the beauty community, and Kylie’s make-up is extremely popular. It’s sold at a high price point for what it is, and has none of the costs of shop fronts and retail staff, and very little need for advertising.

    If she’s smart, talking about these figures is a first step towards getting it sold off for a stupid amount of money. The quality of her products is ok, but not good enough to keep people interested long-term, especially with celebrities like Rihanna entering the market.

  7. Loopy says:

    Well that is some chunk! Excuse me i am not much of a Shark Tank or Dragon, so what does this mean,how much of that $420 M is pure profit and does she own %100 of her company,i think Jessica Simpson also has a billion dollar company but sold it early and simply licences her name out now,so she does not make as much as the shareholders???

  8. Nancy says:

    Great for the privileged daughter of a privileged family whose genesis was a sex tape. Sad for the regular girl busting her butt working at a low paying job trying to get in college, find a job, pay back the loans, you get the idea. Who was it that said we are all born equal. Cough…….

    • Candice says:

      This kind of thought behaviour will never get you anywhere. You’re not Kylie Jenner, but you’re also not a Syrian refugee who just had his/her whole world literally blown apart. So your point about all being born equal… no, we’re not. And people are born into situations a shitload worse than not being famous.

      I know it can be hard to not look at social media and feel envious, but concentrate on your own abilities and accomplishments and be grateful. I also work full-time/go to university and it makes me a better more well-rounded person. Could Kylie Jenner point out England on a map? Probably not. Could she go to the store and pick up milk if she ran out? Definitely not. Would you really want that sort of insular, self-contained lifestyle? I wouldn’t.

      • Nancy says:

        I wasn’t referring to myself Candice. I’m in a great profession and have a beautiful family. My point was Kylie’s opportunity to become who she is today is the result of her name. A lot of kids look up to her as some sort of Goddess, when to me, she is a sad woman child who changes her appearance surgically as one changes their shoes. It’s sad and if I were any teen, would not be jealous of a person who is wealthy financially but seems by a lot of her choices to be morally bankrupt, as, in my opinion, does most of her family members.

    • Enough Already says:

      I sgree with Candace. My niece is 13 and she admires Kylie’s hustle. She doesn’t know or care about the sex tapes but she does feel Kylie is hardworking. I see no need to fill my niece in on the details or lecture her about Jenner privilege. Right or wrong I focused on the positive and guess what? My niece is selling ebook covers on Wattpad for $1 a pop!

      • Nancy says:

        Everyone is missing my point, but that’s okay. I’d be more proud of your niece any day for she is earning her money the old fashioned way, on her own. Good for her. I saw the original post yesterday and agreed with you 100% on the Trump thread. Well off I go, can’t articulate my point on Miss Kylie…..

      • Enough Already says:

        I guess I feel bad because I know that at some point I’ll have to explain privilege to my niece and it makes me sad. I apologize if it seemed I was dismissing the truth in your statement.

      • Nancy says:

        Lol…..you’re a worrier like me! We all have our own opinions and that doesn’t make anybody’s right or wrong…….just an outlet to spew on the rich and famous! Have a good one!!

      • detritus says:

        Its sad because while your niece admires Kylie’s hustle, the reason Kylie is visible for admiration is because she sells unrealistic expectations and sex appeal to young girls who feel their value is in that appeal. With the body she positions as original, with her lifestyle that she positions as apirational, with her entire ‘brand’.

        Its extra sad because I think Kylie believes what shes selling.

      • Enough Already says:

        Detritus
        True. Perhaps I will tout the fact that Kylie at least has entrepreneurship on the brain and doesn’t spend her nights stumbling out of clubs in Ibiza. There’s sooo much to lament here but I want my niece to know that privilege means you should work harder, not coast and women, especially, don’t have to just deal with what life gives them. They can do anything. When she’s older I will ease her into rejecting the Lolita brand of exploitative success. I hope this is the right approach, at least.

        Thanks everyone!

      • Megan says:

        In the 1980′s Madonna, Christina Applegate, Paula Abdul, Tiffiany and a host of others were selling the same thing. They had MTV and Fox Prime Time. Kylie has social media. Same hustle, new technology.

    • Bellagio DuPont says:

      People keep dogging the kardashians/Jenners……I think we have a lot to learn from them actually …..no, not how to leverage a sex tape into a billion $$ industry, but more how to turn perceived weaknesses into strengths…..e.g.

      Kim turned lost (yes, lost) sex tape and self respect into billions for herself and family…
      Kylie turned paper thin lips into mega, billion $$ make-up brand….
      Etc

    • Megan says:

      @Nancy Kylie didn’t choose to grow up in the spotlight, her parents made that choice for her. Kylie turned her parents choices into a huge opportunity for herself. While I don’t agree with all of her choices, I see nothing “morally bankrupt” about building a successful business.

      • Nancy says:

        Yep she was born into it. But dating a man in his twenties as a young teen, the blow up doll appearance are things she did by choice. I think she wants to be Kendall, who is successful and is still recognizable as her younger self. But she morphed herself into a Kim.2 and will never have the fame Kim has for whatever reason. I don’t equate her with Madonna and the others you named above. They had talent. Kylie is a member of a family on a reality show. Good for her I guess, but I’ve spent way too much time on Kylie when I have a daughter of my own, younger than she, and another who will turn one in September. I’m so glad they are who they are and will never know a Kris Jenner, knock wood…..twice! I have a son as well….he doesn’t know who Rob is! Praise the Lord!!!!! I’m Kardashianed out…..bye!

    • BorderMollie says:

      I dunno, Nancy. I see your point about her name opening doors, but people with a ‘name’ are a dime a dozen in Hollywood and most still get nowhere. Love or hate the Kardashian/Jenners, they seem to have a special charisma that draws in a massive audience. Ditto for the Hadid sisters-there’s tons of models from backgrounds like theirs, tons who appeared in reality tv shows too, yet they got nowhere in the fame game. Some people just have ‘it’, you know?

  9. jess1632 says:

    I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this. That’s 23,333,333.33 million a month since she started. Idk that seems awfully excessive for her brand of makeup. What’s her net profits? I’d be more curious on the amount she takes after all expenses

  10. Snickers says:

    I knew she was up there, because i pay attention to the online beauty MUAs who are also killing it, so much so that established cosmetic companies want to ‘collab’ with them. Jeffree Starr and Jaclyn Hill and others are behind Jenner (Starr is probably at least 50 mil or nore) and everyone else makes a more than nice living. Thing with Jenner, it appears she’s sharing profits with no one. No big cosmetics company. Maybe her family, maybe not.

    Pretty amazing for a young girl who literally had no lips. Lol she does other cosmetics now too not just liquid lip stuff

  11. Cleo says:

    Damn, well…good for her I guess. Hopefully she takes that money and gets herself a good therapist that will help her cool it with the plastic surgery and maybe her face won’t fall off by the time she’s 27.

  12. Merritt says:

    I’m a makeup junkie but I will never buy her products. A lot of the reviews I’ve seen are negative. And her peach palette was allegedly so foul smelling that people didn’t want to be in the same room with it.

    • prettylights says:

      Same here. I’ve been a makeup junkie since I was 15 and regularly review products. I would never spend money on any of her products (even though I am lipstick obsessed). I don’t want to line the pockets of someone so vapid and self obsessed. I do give her credit for her hustle though! She really knows how to work the 14-24 age range with her social media and the gets the concept of supply/demand with her small batches of products. Have you seen that ultimate Kylie fan who gets her lip colors tattooed on his arm? That’s just crazy!

  13. RBC says:

    I still feel sorry for Kylie. No matter how much money she makes, I still think she will wake up one day and realize what she missed out on growing up. Money can open many doors and buy many things, but it can not buy happiness.

  14. Deee says:

    Id rather throw away my money than give any to her

  15. Francesca Love says:

    I love make up, and spend A LOT, on it and I categorically REFUSE to ever buy a Kardashian product, no matter how good it may be. I’d rather spend it on Kat Von D lippies, which at least are animal friendly.

    STOP GIVING MONEY TO THESE PEOPLE!!!!

  16. HK9 says:

    I respect the hustle but I will never put any Kardashian product on my face ever. It’s not well made and all I can envision is an allergic reaction.

  17. LeaTheFrench says:

    I think I’m too old / basic to understand the success or appeal of her lipstick line. This seems like the ultimate sham to me. Her “plump” pout has nothing to do with makeup. It’s enhanced. Why would anyone want to buy a product built on a fallacy? I just don’t get it…

  18. dodgy says:

    Get money. Although colour pop is cheaper and better. I ain’t mad though. Jenner has had a lot of beauty gurus on side pushing her stuff, so that helps.

  19. Lynnie says:

    I love how they’re genius masterminds anytime something does remotely well, but anytime something flops (Pepsi commercial, musician tees with their faces on them) they’re just kids who didn’t know any better…

    Anyway looks like some commenters’ theories about having small inventory to create hype in the beginning was correct. Even now, 300,000 for each shade still doesn’t sound like a lot. Is that a normal production amount among brands?

    I don’t really see her expanding into retail shops anytime soon, because from what I’ve seen the hype around them seems to boil down to “Oh I was able to get this and you weren’t.” It would lose that appeal if it became mass market plus some of the quality issues would become more apparent I’d think. Then again who knows. Her fans have put up with substandardness before I’m sure they’ll love to do it again.

    • Enough Already says:

      True. It’s all cache and carry lol.

    • jugil1 says:

      @ Lynnie, Yes they’re “geniuses” except when they market shirts using trademark infringement by using others likeness without their permission. Then the “girls didn’t know they needed approval” or “weren’t aware” of what was going on. Funny how the narrative changes depending on the story of the day. What a joke!

    • OriginallyBlue says:

      This is so true. They pick whatever narrative that is favourable and anything that goes wrong they throw whoever they need to under the bus. They learned from their mother and hire people to do the leg work or people reach out to them and just sign their names. I don’t believe they are real entrepreneurs putting in tons of time, effort, and input and being hyper involved in their products. They’ve had more failures and lawsuits than successes collectively and individually and blatantly steal from unknown brands. They are extremely greedy, vapid and can barely put together an intelligent thought I have a hard time buying their stories.

  20. hey-ya says:

    …says her mom…but anyway I say congrats to a successful young entrepreneur…no worse a product than say herbal life….

  21. Molly says:

    I loathe all things Kardashian-Jenner, but I’m wearing a Kylie Lip Kit now, and it’s damn good lipstick. (::ducks::) It stays all day long.

  22. Tess says:

    Well if I’m remembering correctly, they don’t have a storefront, just occasionally some pop-up shops, they don’t accept returns and only issue replacements, and charge high shipping rates. The same company that makes her makeup makes Colourpop so the markup alone is insane. They run a very low inventory of so-called exclusive collections in which stock conveniently “sells out” and creates a FOMO frenzy, which also would eliminate the need for sales and promo codes to get rid of excess inventory. I can see how she’s running a very tidy profit.

  23. Ayra. says:

    Am I supposed to believe Kris? A known liar ? Ok

  24. Laur says:

    I remember the article on her a few days ago where she just sounded so sad. I hope that she can take some of the profits from this and use it to do something that makes her happy. I mean, I doubt it’ll happen cos mama wants to keep that money train going, but I still feel bad for Kylie, she never seems happy.

  25. phatypopo says:

    I’m almost 30. I love her stuff. The packaging is also so cute – the products make great gifts. I can totally see why the company’s done well, because I’m on an extreme end of the spectrum of her customers.

  26. thisishisbananas AKA poorlittlerichgirl says:

    It’s nice to see so many of you saying nice things about Kylie for a change. I’m not a fan of the Kardashian/Jenners but I do think Kylie takes a lot of unnecessary harshness from the general public. i.e. the “dumb as dirt” article from a few days ago.

  27. Tulsi 2020 says:

    Kim was asked what her talent is and she said ‘Making people fall in love with me.’

  28. Trillion says:

    whoa, her fake boobs look huge. How weird it must be to look in the mirror and see a different face and body from the one you were born with.

    • Fleur says:

      I am consistently amazed how, through the work of a plastic surgeon, she’s morphed her face into a mix of Kim and Kendall’s when she looked nothing like either of them at the start. I wonder how Kim and Kendall feel about it, especially because she’s built a lucrative career out of what is essentially their face.

      More than that, I feel sorry for Kylie because although she is now very “conventionally” pretty, she made those decisions before she had the self confidence or agency to learn to not just accept the face she was born with, but to like it. How many of us would have had plastic surgery if we could have done so without repercussions at 18,19? We all have things at that age that we fixate on, often wrongly. I remember being so self conscious about my forehead at that age, and thinking my nose was too big. Now, quite a few years later, I love my forehead just the way it is and am totally fine with my nose. I can’t imagine having the means to change those things at an age when you’re just so impressionable and self conscious to begin with. I can’t imagine looking in the mirror and seeing a completely different person, looking at old photos and thinking that was your “starter” face. She hasn’t had anyone protecting her. I feel so sorry for her.

  29. Ally says:

    I’m amazed there are that many people that think the Kardashian-Jenner cachet/association is something they want to spend money on, wear or put on their face, beyond the family’s entertainment value as cheap and plentiful tabloid and gossip site filler.

  30. Patty says:

    Have these figures been confirmed? I mean anyone can say they’ve sold close to half a billion, doesn’t mean it’s true.