posits that, at 21 years of age Kylie Jenner is the youngest “self-made billionaire ever,” effectively besting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who previously held the record; Zuckerberg made his first billion by the age of 23 in 2006. A few months prior to Forbes' most recent feature, Ms. Jenner graced the cover of a for being the “youngest self-made almost-billionaire, with a net worth of $900 million.” There is no question that Kylie Jenner is an extremely successful entrepreneur. We applaud her success, but take issue with Forbes' assertion that she is “self-made.” To draw such a conclusion is laughable, egregious and even irresponsible.
We credit Ms. Jenner for leveraging her ~175 million social media followers (this includes over 100 million followers on Instagram alone) to build a formidable cosmetics empire. Kylie Cosmetics generated an impressive $360 million in revenues in 2018 via the sales of lip kits, eyeshadows, eyeliners and more to her fan base. Jenner’s latest business extension involves a partnership with the popular cosmetics retailer, Ulta Beauty, which will mark her first foray into the brick and mortar retail space.
Aon the young entrepreneur highlighted that,“it's important to remember that Kylie's cosmetics business was built by grinding. It started with her consistent assault on social media.” Indeed, achieving a critical mass of followers is paramount when building a brand online (take it from us, we know!). The significant difference between Kylie Jenner and most other young entrepreneurs looking to utilize social media is that Ms. Jenner’s foundation had already been laid, so building the house that encompassed her empire was considerably easier. At The Quintessential Centrist, we do not discount the hard work Ms. Jenner clearly has devoted to her business. However, we do think it is important for young budding online businesspersons, to understand and appreciate the following: Scale is imperative when leveraging social media to build a profitable brand. In fact, Ms. Jenner herself alluded to the importance of scale, telling Forbes, "it’s the power of social media…I had such a strong reach before I was able to start anything.”