Is Kylie Jenner really a self-made billionaire?

You have to be living under a rock to not know the infamous Kylie Jenner. If you do not know her, she’s acclaimed to be the youngest billionaire according to Forbes. At the age of 21, she was called the youngest “self-made" billionaire from running her cosmetics company. But was it really self-made?

Before answering that question, it’s important to understand her history and the history of her family. She’s a part of the very popular Kardashian clan that has been an entertaining family for years now. The mother, Kris Jenner was married to a rich lawyer, Robert Kardashian. They then had 3 beautiful daughters Kourtney, Kimberly, and Khloe, and one son Robert Jr. A few years later, the couple split up. Kris then met an Olympic medal-winning decathlete, Bruce Jenner. They then had another two girls Kendall and Kylie Jenner.

In the year 2007, Kim Kardashian had her notorious sex-tape, with the American singer Ray J, leaked. For most women, this would mean the end of their career, but for Kim, this was her start. That’s how the now known businesswoman/law student, Kim Kardashian started her career. Everything after this point took off for this family. They were offered their own reality TV show Keeping Up With The Kardashians in the year 2007. The family has been entertaining its audience with drama, comedy, and even controversies for 14 years now. They have gone viral all over social media from certain issues on their show which itself plays well as publicity.

Coming to Kylie Jenner, who is not just the owner of her own business, Kylie Cosmetics, she is also a social media influencer with over 200M followers on Instagram and a YouTuber with over 10M subscribers. She’s constantly active on all her social media platforms.

But how did she get a name of her own?

Apart from growing up on television and already being recognized by the public, she became relevant and built a name for herself when she got into her “lip controversy”. During the early seasons of the show, she was this pretty little girl with no imperfections. But apparently, she was ridiculed for not having “fuller lips”. The criticisms got to her, and she got her first lip injections around the age of 17–18. Although she never publicly admitted getting lip fillers, her fans could clearly see the change in her face and started speculating about the other changes she made.

Over the years, it is obvious that she has not only gotten her lips done, but also other surgeries involving her jawline, cheeks, and even her nose. But that’s just her face. There’s more when it comes to her body. In her defense, the entire family is accused of making modifications to their bodies just to achieve the socially accepted norms of the standards of beauty. The funny thing is, they still have not publically accepted getting anything done. But we don’t need their word for us to notice the modifications.

I’m not against people getting minor corrections in their body that makes them feel more confident. As long as you’re happy, nothing should matter. But the problem is, these Kardashians are the ones that have set really high standards for an ideal woman’s body. These celebrities have access to the best doctors who have a lot of experience in this arena. But the audience that looks up to these celebrities set these unrealistic body standards and work their whole life to achieve them. But, they do not have access to the best doctors, and so they have to settle for someone who is under-qualified and so compromise in quality over the price. These situations lead to major medical problems for some of these people because of no proper medical care after such surgeries.

When asked about it in interviews, Kylie would just lie and say that she over-lines her lip to achieve the full-lip look. Along with this, her relationship with the American singer, Tyga, that was even aired on their television show really gave her a lot of clout.

Then, in the year 2015, she started her own business “Kylie Lip Kits". The lip kits were sold online, and they apparently sold out within an hour of the launch. Realising the mass influence she has on her fans, she was confident enough to turn her business into a cosmetic line, that not only sold lipsticks, but other items as well.

The Kardashian family had already gained its name in the celebrity’s list when Kylie started her own company. They were rich enough to start not just one, but many businesses. So, the start-up capital was pretty much free for Kylie, whilst most successful businesses take years and years to pay-off their borrowed capital.

Every company that survives on advertising will incur huge expenses on it. Advertisement expenses is one of the highest amounts in a company’s income statement. Because, marketing starts from researching what the customers want to providing service to them even after the sale of the product/service. So advertising costs are quite high, and a lot of companies even reserve for it from current year’s profits.

With the mass following Kylie has on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, she always talks about how she doesn’t pay for advertising because she reviews her products on her social media platforms. It’s mostly on her stories, and all she does is have a fresh set of nails (so her hand looks pretty) and paints swatches on her wrist to show of the quality and the pigmentation of the product.

So already, she saved up on a lot by not paying for advertising and not having to worry about her start-up capital. So, she probably didn’t even take that long to break-even in sales.

The main issue here is, is she really a “self-made" billionaire? Most companies, first have to spend a lot of time and money to build a secured customer base. Only from there, can it think of expansion projects and product diversification. But for Kylie, that really wasn’t necessary. She already had a market when she ventured out into the business world. It was her audience from the show. The show is targeted mostly towards adults. Adults who can pay for their own things. So, there was no problem with them trying out a new product from their favourite celebrity. The products were good, and so her brand grew. From then on, she has been one of the top influential people.

I’m not against Kylie Jenner, nor am I saying that she doesn’t deserve the success she has earned throughout the years. But calling her a self-made billionaire is somewhat misleading as it sounds like a Rags to Riches kind of a story.



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I see myself as a philomath. There are lots of things in this universe that are beyond my capability to comprehend, but I sure do enjoy trying to learn them.