Popstar-turned-beauty mogul Rihanna has now been declared a billionaire.
According to Forbes, she is now worth $1.7 billion, making her the world’s wealthiest female musician.
Much of her fortune comes from her makeup and skincare brand, Fenty Beauty, of which she owns 50 percent. The other half is held by LVMH, a French luxury goods conglomerate that owns high-end brands such as Christian Dior, Givenchy and Celine.
Fenty Beauty launched initially with just makeup in 2017. By the end of its first full calendar year of operation, it had generated $550 million in revenue, making it more successful than other celebrity-fronted brands such as Kim Kardashian‘s KKW Beauty, Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics and Jessica Alba’s Honest Co.
What’s the Secret to Fenty Beauty’s Success?
There is no doubt that Rihanna’s international fame served as a huge springboard when the brand first launched. With over 100 million followers on Instagram alone, she has an incredible reach compared to others just starting out with a new business.
“Rihanna’s success with Fenty is pure genius from both a branding and PR perspective,” PR expert Brenda Gabriel tells Newsweek.
“Her team successfully leveraged Rihanna’s star power and brand loyalty to launch one of the most successful beauty lines in the world.”
Despite her status as a world-renowned musician, the brand hasn’t had to rely on its celebrity face to achieve success.
Built on inclusivity, the flagship product became its Pro Filt’r foundation, launching in 40 shades—the most of any mainstream beauty brand at the time. This has since been extended to 50.
“The lack of representation in the beauty industry is astonishing… They cater for all skin tones. This is something that other beauty brands just didn’t do,” marketing consultant Karina Scott adds.
“Inclusivity and diversity should be the main drivers for any brand no matter the industry. In 2021, a person should be able to shop without questioning if the brands cater to their skin tone.
“Makeup should cater to everyone regardless of your skin tone or gender.”
As a Black woman, Rihanna had previously been honest about her own struggles finding makeup that matched her skin tone. This gave the brand authenticity, Gabriel says.
“The fact that Rihanna was a Black icon acknowledging the struggle for Black women in particular made them love her and her disruptive persona even more.
“Black women wanted to support a Black brand that was made ‘by them, for them,’ while people across the board were happy to support a brand that had a finger on the pulse when it came to inclusivity.”
Scott agrees, adding: “Fenty Beauty spoke to all of us in the world that were treated like afterthoughts within the beauty industry… Now, if your brand isn’t going to be inclusive then you’ll become excluded.”
Gabriel also believes Rihanna got the timing right, launching one year after Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade, which she says: “did a lot for the trend towards unapologetic individuality for Black women, rather than trying to measure up to a Eurocentric standard of beauty. In some ways Fenty was a natural extension of that attitude.”
She also credits the brand’s embracing models of color and makeup across genders for its skyrocketing popularity.
Early backing from LVMH also afforded the brand accessibility and affordability, making the products available in Sephora stores worldwide.
What Are the Top-Selling Products?
Since Fenty Beauty’s launch, it has continued to win acclaim for its foundation.
The Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint and Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Longwear Liquid Concealer are other essentials loved by shoppers, boasting 25 and 50 shades to choose from respectively.
Lip products have proved popular too, including the Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer, Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick, Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Color, which all on Sephora’s list of Fenty top-sellers.
When is Fenty Fragrance Coming?
Having already expanded into a skincare line, the next venture for Fenty Beauty is a fragrance.
The brand teased the new launch last month, writing on Instagram: “#FENTYPARFUM: COMING SOON.”
In an interview with Vogue, Rihanna revealed the scent has notes of magnolia, musk, tangerine, blueberry, Bulgarian rose, and patchouli.
The gender-neutral eau de parfum will launch on Fenty Beauty’s website on August 10, retailing at $120.
What’s Next for Fenty Beauty?
Having taken makeup, skincare and soon fragrance by storm, creative PR director Rochelle White predicts the next logical step will be hair care.
“I think she will be a disruptor within the hair care sector as not many celebrities have truly hit that market,” she explained.
“With Fenty being such a diverse brand as it is, I think that she will create a range targeted at all demographics but maybe targeting particular hair types with extend and building on that.
“It would complete the beauty range and be a brand that covers all areas of beauty and hair care. She already has such an engaged audience with all her other lines and I think that by adding this, will help strengthen the brand.”