In its first year, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty generated 568 million dollars in sales. The brand, a partnership between LVMH and the Barbadian singer, debuted in September 2017. Fenty has effectively broken the color barrier in the beauty industry and set a new standard for cosmetic companies by expanding its shades to encompass women of all skin tones.
Fenty Beauty has also been a goldmine for LVMH, which owns Sephora. The multinational beauty chain has the exclusive rights to Rihanna’s brand and reportedly raked in $100 million in sales in the first 40 days following the launch of Fenty. The influx of cash has been vital for Sephora, which has seen its growth slow with the boom in online sales and competition from outlets like Ulta Beauty.
One of Fenty Beauty’s biggest rivals is Kylie Cosmetics, owned by reality star Kylie Jenner. The brand launched in 2015 and began selling its lip line in Ulta's 1,200 stores last November. Kylie Cosmetics reportedly earned $420 million in its first 18 months, but those figures predate the partnership with Ulta.
One of Fenty’s advantages is its close relationship with Sephora since the brand has access to sales data that can keep them ahead of the curve in terms of new product development. Jenner, on the other hand, doesn’t have a powerhouse like LVMH behind her. Another disadvantage is that Ulta is purely a US-based chain, while Sephora is global.
Some financial experts, however, say that Fenty’s exclusive contract with Sephora may ultimately limit sales. Also, while Rihanna has a substantial share in Fenty, LVMH also shares in the riches. Jenner, on the other hand, owns 100 percent of Kylie Cosmetics, therefore her personal gain is much higher than Rihanna’s.
In the end, it is still not clear which brand will come out on top. Currently, both brands are on their way to being worth more than a billion dollars, so it remains to be seen, which one has the most staying power. Overall, Rihanna, who is an internationally renowned singer and actress, seems to have greater global appeal. Jenner, however, has proven that she can go from promoting products on social media to selling out in stores in record time. May the best beauty queen win.