News & Opinion | July 11, 2018 4:11 pm

How Kylie Jenner Built a $900 Million Fortune in Less Than Three Years

The 20-year-old celebrity now runs one of the hottest makeup companies.

kylie jenner
Kylie Jenner attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City. (Dia Dipasupil/WireImage)

At only 20 years old, Kylie Jenner runs one of the hottest makeup companies in the country, but not even three years ago, Kylie Cosmetics launched with just a $29 “lip kit.” Since then, however, she has sold more than $630 million worth of makeup, including an estimated $330 million in 2017, reports Forbes. Jenner owns 100 percent of her company, which Forbes values at nearly $800 million. The young woman, who became a  mother in February, also makes millions from TV programs and endorsing products like Puma shoes and PacSun clothing. Counting those endeavors, she’s conservatively worth $900 million, which makes her the youngest person on the fourth annual ranking of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. But if she keeps it up, she’ll make history as the youngest self-made billionaire ever, male or female, trumping Mark Zuckerberg, who became a billionaire at age 23.

Jenner’s empire is tightly controlled and small, with only seven full-time and five part-time employees. Her manufacturing and packing is outsourced to Seed Beauty, a private label-producer in Oxnard, California, and the sales and fulfillment are outsourced to the online outlet Shopify. Her mother, Kris, handles the finance and PR in exchange for the 10 percent management cut she takes from all her children. Thanks to this minuscule overhead and marketing costs, Forbes writes, the profits are outsize and go directly to Jenner. She takes that money and leverages her social media following. She takes to Instagram and Snapchat almost hourly, talking about what Kylie cosmetics she’s wearing or about future products and new launches. She has more than 110 million followers on Instagram and millions more on Snapchat, and the audience is made up mainly of young women and girls—her company’s core customer base. But on top of that, 16.4 million follow her company directly and 25.6 million follow Jenner on Twitter.