By: Erin McGovern
Let’s imagine a 20–year–old male who, with the help of his parents, started a business at 18 years old. He took something he was passionate about and turned it into a company that provides jobs for people and generates an incredible amount of income. It’s been a little over two years since he launched the company, and his business is now worth over $450 million. It’s undeniable how truly groundbreaking that is. We can all recognize how unbelievably impressive that kind of growth is. A businessman who can generate that kind of revenue at such a young age must be so widely respected, right?
Wrong. Because it’s not a businessman; it’s Kylie Jenner.
Kylie, a television personality that far too many people write off as overexposed and vapid, created a line of cosmetics that is taking its demographic by storm. Her lipstick, lip liner, eye shadow, and contour kits have generated a whopping $450 million and counting. Any other person who starts a business that rakes in that kind of money in under five years would be seen as intelligent, hard working, and worthy of praise. Kylie Jenner, however, isn’t even taken seriously by the vast majority.
Perhaps she’s not taken seriously because she’s a woman. Perhaps she’s not taken seriously because she’s part of the Kardashian klan. Whatever it is, the argument is irrelevant. At the rate she’s going, Miss Jenner’s line of cosmetics is on track to earn $1 billion by the year 2020, whether the nay sayers are on board or not.
Kylie is the youngest in a family of businesswomen worthy of looking up to, despite their baseless tabloid depictions. Quite frankly, the argument that these women are successful for doing nothing is simply tired, uneducated, and outdated.
Their empire began with a reality television show: “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” It’s possible that the name “Kardashian” initially drew attention because of the infamous O.J. Simpson court case, on which the late Robert Kardashian served as a defense lawyer. The name may have been what caught our attention, but Kris, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall, and Kylie are what’s kept our attention for the past ten years.
While the reality show has been exceedingly successful over the last decade, it’s not what continues to skyrocket these women into fame and fortune.
In 2017, it is nearly impossible to make such a fortune solely from a reality television show. With online streaming, television simply doesn’t produce that kind of income anymore. It’s also impossible to maintain such high status and fame solely from a reality show, as the average viewer’s attention span continues to dwindle. Sources of revenue evolve as technology evolves, and it takes a true entrepreneur to evolve with it.
The Kardashians knew this early on and have continued to evolve, increasing their following astronomically. For example, Kim Kardashian has 102 million Instagram followers (and counting), making her one of the most followed people on the app. Like any smart business person would do, Kim and her sisters capitalize on their uniquely enormous following. According to Michael Heller (the CEO of digital marketing firm Talent Resources), companies will pay a Kardashian or Jenner anywhere between $250,000 to $500,000 to feature their product in one of their Instagram posts.
We can scoff at the notorious “Kardashian selfie” all we’d like, but at the end of the day, they’re just taking advantage of a business opportunity that every single one of us would gladly take if given the chance.
It also takes a true entrepreneur to use a temporary platform such as “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” to build a lasting empire that has branded cosmetics, apps, video games, clothing, and so much more.
Forbes reported that Kim has earned around $22 million from her video game, “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood,”which launched in 2014.
This kind of money didn’t just fall into their lap. Through hard work, they seize any and every chance they get to strengthen their empire.
The Kardashian family knows business. They are businesswomen with or without the spotlight. Before there was “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the women ran two clothing stores: Dash and Smooch, which were intermittently shown throughout the first few seasons of the reality show. The businesses weren’t making the women millions of dollars, but the Kardashians were working hard and fulfilling the responsibilities that any store owner would have.
Today, they’re not what the conventional business person looks or acts like, but that doesn’t negate the fact that they are absolutely excelling in the business world. The Kardashians are certainly entertainers. There’s no denying that their antics and witty situations continuously draw our attention. But the entertainment business is just that: a business.
America loves to hate the Kardashians, but it would be naïve not to admit that these businesswomen know exactly what they’re doing.