How Kylie Jenner Became The Youngest Self-Made Billionaire

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.
Kylie Jenner hasn't even been of legal drinking age for a full year, and yet she is officially the world's youngest self-made billionaire, according to Forbes. Say what you will about this "self-made" designation (if the platform she started with wasn't an advantage, I don't know what is) or about the Kardashian-Jenners in general, but it's hard to argue that Kylie Jenner isn't business savvy. The youngest KarJenner took a $29 USD lip kit — now a beauty-cabinet staple, be it from Kylie Cosmetics or a copycat company — and turned it into a billion-dollar empire.
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Last year, Kylie Cosmetics's revenue totalled $360 million USD. Forbes estimates that the company's total value is at least $900 million USD, and Kylie owns all of it. This, plus the cash she has taken from the business, adds up to a personal fortune of $1 billion.
The key to the company's profitability? Its low overhead. Kylie Cosmetics outsources its manufacturing, packaging, shipping, and fulfillment, and only employs seven full-time and five part-time employees. Until recently, Kylie Cosmetics was sold online only (with the exception of a few pop-up shops) but is now carried in Ulta Beauty stores — an expansion that contributed in large part to the company's revenue growth of 9% from 2017 to 2018.
But before she became a Forbes cover-grazing beauty entrepreneur so famous for her signature lips that she inspired a dangerous #KylieJennerLipChallenge, we first met Kylie on season one of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, when she was just ten years old. Since then, the show's popularity has continued to skyrocket. In 2015, the family signed an $80 million deal with E! for three years of filming, through season 14. And in 2017, they reportedly signed a renewal deal for under $100 million USD, through 2020. According to momager Kris Jenner (who gets a 10% cut of all her daughters' business deals), the family splits the money equally. While Kylie isn't on the show nearly as much as her older sisters, she has long been a subject of fascination in her own right — enough that E! gave her her own spin-off series in 2017 called Life of Kylie.
But KUWTK is hardly her largest source of income — or even her second largest. It's no secret that Kylie is well-acquainted with #sponcon. Last year, she topped Hopper's Instagram Rich List — eclipsing Selena Gomez, Beyoncé, and even her sister Kim K — because she reportedly makes up to $1 million USD on a single Instagram post. Let that sink in. With 128 million followers, her Instagram influence is undeniable. (Recently, a campaign swept the internet to score more likes for an egg than Kylie's record on Instagram. It did — thus dethroning Stormi for the title of most-liked Instagram photo.)
Kylie also has a clothing line with her sister, creatively named Kendall + Kylie. She has collaborated with OPI, Steve Madden, Puma, and more, as well as launched her own content website, app, and merch store called The Kylie Shop. Seemingly all on brand for the reality star and #contentcreator — with the only exception being that she wrote (read: probably did not write) two sci-fi novels with Kendall. Riddle me that one, Kris.
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