Kylie Jenner who is now the world’s youngest self-made billionaire in Forbes’ “Richest People in the World” list grabbing the headlines for her new status as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.
Kylie Cosmetics’ revenue climbed 9% last year to an estimated $360 million. With that kind of growth, and even using a conservative multiple from the booming makeup industry, Forbes estimates Jenner’s company is worth at least $900 million.
The 21-year-old is the youngest-ever self-made billionaire, reaching a ten-figure fortune at a younger age than even Mark Zuckerberg (who was 23 when he hit that mark).
Though Kylie has made her fortune with her best-selling beauty business, Kylie Cosmetics, some have questioned whether her money can really be ‘self-made’, since she comes from such a privileged background.
In that interview, Kylie said, “the self-made thing is true”.
She claims her parents, Kris and Caitlyn Jenner, cut her off at the age of 15 and told her to start making her own fortune.
She continued: “What I’m trying to say is I did have a platform, but none of my money is inherited.”
Forbes also clarified the issue saying: “To be clear, Forbes defines “self-made” as someone who built a company or established a fortune on her own, rather than inheriting some or all of it.”
Bybreen Samuels, the author of the business book Non-Profit Booster – 10 Steps to Building a Successful Organisation, believes “describing Kylie Jenner as a ‘self-made billionaire’ is a misnomer” because “at no time has she faced true entrepreneurial challenges”.
Samuels tells BBC News of Kylie: “She gained leverage by using her family name, fame and wealth. Consequently, she had direct access to the whole range of privileges, connections and resources that flow from these factors.
“Her ascendancy into global wealth and brand recognition was already guaranteed before she even started.”
Freelance beauty journalist Jessica Morgan says Jenner’s achievement shouldn’t be underestimated.
“If Jenner hadn’t come from a famous family, perhaps she wouldn’t have been named the world’s youngest billionaire so quickly,” she tells BBC News.
“But that’s not to say she wouldn’t have achieved such an accolade in her lifetime.”
Morgan continues: “On average, it takes a millionaire 14 years to reach billionaire status while the average age to hit this status is 37.
“It took Microsoft’s Bill Gates five years to reach billionaire status, while Amazon’s Jeff Bezos was crowned a billionaire after two years.
“I’m really happy for Kylie and I’m excited to see what else she has in store for us.”
Kylie was 10 years old when she made her debut on her family’s reality TV series. She started Kylie Cosmetics in 2015 and her empire consists of seven full-time and five part-time employees.
Manufacturing and packaging are outsourced to Seed Beauty, a private-label producer in nearby Oxnard, California. Sales and fulfilment are handled by online merchant Shopify.
Her shrewd mother, Kris, takes care of finance and PR in exchange for the 10% management fee she siphons from all of her kids.
“It’s the power of social media,” Kylie says. “I had such a strong reach before I was able to start anything.”
With more than 175 million followers across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, social media has been the key to Kylie’s success.
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