One of the world’s biggest and most recent success stories is that of Kylie Jenner, the Kardashian family member who built up her own make-up empire at a time when the market was on a small downward trajectory.
Her highly-targeted product expansion strategy helped her brand take off and become what it is today; a multi-million-dollar company that has made Jenner a billionaire.
Regardless of what you may think of Jenner and the wider Kardashian TV family, there is no denying that her story is impressive. Although she was born atop the glass ceiling, it took a lot of work to build her make-up brand to what it is today.
By taking advantage of technology and the changing nature of consumerism, Kylie Jenner made it. From becoming an influencer on makeup and fashion off the back of TV show Keeping Up With the Kardashians in 2012, she quickly rose to fame and became the prominent figure she is today.
How Did Kylie Jenner Do It?
She didn’t just click her fingers and have a million-dollar brand in front of her, that’s for sure.
First of all, and perhaps most importantly, Kylie Jenner had a true passion for makeup and fashion. Her interest and knowledge have not been falsified; it was a pure love for what she does that could be hailed as the biggest contributor to her success.
Second, she had a platform which she could leverage and launch herself from. Keeping Up With the Kardashians has huge viewing numbers all around the world and this helped her grow an engaged fan base. It was this that opened the door to partnerships with manufacturers and distributors, starting the ball of her make-up brand rolling.
Third, she identified a gap in the market and exploited it to its full potential—a make-up brand aimed entirely at teenagers and young people. Before she launched her own brand, most competitors were aimed largely at adults. The brands were very mature and didn’t appeal to a younger market.
Being an Influencer Helped
It is the second point that is the key one here.
In December 2017, Kylie reached 100 million followers on Instagram at only 20 years old. That’s just Instagram. On Twitter, she has over 25 million followers and on Facebook she has an additional 20 million.
This gives her a huge social media reach of well over 150 million people all around the world.
All in all, she has one of the world’s largest social media followings.
Having firmly established her target market—young people and teenagers—Kylie embarked on her journey to leverage her huge social media following to carry out product research.
She went in two main directions:
- Cosmetics—eye shadows eyeliners, and make-up tutorials; and
- Thematic products—Kylie’s Valentine Collection and Vacation Edition.
Both were a huge success… which is hardly surprising given her huge social media following. While it is clear to see that her brand benefitted heavily from having a huge following, this could only get her so far.
Being a celebrity may give you a bit of an initial boost, but without truly get products and good customer experience, you won’t get very far.
Several celebrities have historically attempted to build and extend a brand by venturing into the world of business. Many of these celebrities fall flat on their faces. This happens because they take advantage of their status and assume that they will succeed without putting any work in simply because of who they are.
This doesn’t happen and Kylie Jenner recognized this.
Kylie started off by building up her personal brand first, long before releasing any of her own products. When she had done this, she then used her family’s business empire to create her own niche and began to build up partnerships and endorsements.
Once these efforts had started to yield results, she launched her very first product line—Kylie Lip Kits—that had a limited run with a high price tag.
In minutes, they sold out.
Some may argue that this method is rather shady, and they may be right. However, her success by doing this demonstrates one thing—she learned about her customer base and that is the key to her success.