Rihanna is officially a billionaire as the artist turned beauty mogul’s body positivity-based business has turned into a billionaire dollar fortune.
Rihanna came to prominence in 2005 as a bright-eyed 17-year-old with her song “Pon De Replay,” which signaled the birth of a successful career in music. However, it was her business acumen that has propelled her forward into billionaire status at a time when the fashion world was still largely dominated by European beauty standards and little to no place for diversity and people of color.
Perhaps, it was the wildly successful collaboration with Mac makeup for the ruby woo lipstick made especially for Rihanna that signaled her beauty business calling or perhaps her risqué style of dressing that made people either love or hate her fashion expressions that were the beginning of Rihanna, the Billionaire.
Her company Fenty Beauty that was launched in 2017, was the beginning of her fashion and beauty dominance, but this time, Rihanna was the face and model and the owner of the brand.
Rihanna’s company, according to her, was created to make “women everywhere [feel] included. In her early thirties and sixteen years since she entered the world of stardom, Rihanna is now part of the exclusive Billionaire club.
Her brand is now a household name that’s caught on for its inclusivity that caters to women of all shapes, color and sizes, something no other brand has been able to do as the previous periods of business success was based on the idea of niche marketing- in the specific case- catering for petite people while excluding a vast number of the female consumer demographic- among the world’s largest growing disposable income earners.
After several business launches, which shifted from makeup to lingerie to skincare and now perfumes, Rihanna is now worth $1.7 billion, according to a new estimate by Forbes.
She’s the wealthiest female musician worldwide as an entertainer. Her net worth is only surpassed by Oprah Winfrey, who holds the title of the richest female entertainer.
According to Forbes, the bulk of Rihanna’s wealth comes from her beauty fortune, rounding off at an estimated $1.4 billion. The ANTI artist owns 50% of the stakes in her company. The rest of her $1.7 billion fortune comes from her shares in her lingerie company, Savage x Fenty, which is estimated to be worth $270 million, and earnings from her award-winning music career.
Rihanna isn’t the only female artist to capitalize on her beauty and personality, but she is by far the most successful and has one of the largest social media followings – 101 million followers on Instagram and 102.5 million on Twitter- social spaces where she has constantly announced her brands and her products starting with just her own star power and a strong fan base.
Using her influence as a young black woman, Fenty Beauty was launched with the backing of French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. Her goal was inclusivity, with her foundation line at first offering about 50 shades of foundation to suit the complexions of all races of women.
Of particular note is that her products feature a range of tones made specially made for darker-skinned women- something few brands catered to before.
The Fenty Beauty line includes makeup and foundation, highlighters and lip glosses, and lipsticks. Within a year, it was so successful, earning more than $550 million in annual revenues.
This was far more than what other celebrities were making, like Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics, Kim Kardashian West’s KKW Beauty, and Jessica Alba’s Honest Co, to name a few.
Rihanna’s inclusivity mantra was the seed of success, as noted by Shannon Coyne, co-founder of consumer products consultancy Bluestock Advisors.
“A lot of women felt there were no lines out there that catered to their skin tone. It was light, medium, medium dark, dark. We all know that’s not reality. She was one of the first brands that came out and said, ‘I want to speak to all of those different people”, said Coyne speaking to Forbes.
In spite of cosmetic sales slowing down due to most countries closing and persons working from home, beauty companies are among the successful companies surpassing expectations in the pandemic. Even Fenty has pivoted to capitalize on the downturn of makeup and focusing on the upturn of high-maintenance skincare as more people remain at home and continue to wear masks.
Her Fenty Beauty company alone is worth approximately $2.8 billion, according to Forbes.
With the new additions to the franchise with the latest announcement a week ago by Rihanna of Fenty perfumes, the company is projected to continue to grow.
Fenty Skin launched in 2020 last year is expected to bring returns in short order, while her lingerie line Savage x Fenty launched in 2018 in which Rihanna has a 30% ownership stake is valued at $1 billion.
While the singer’s business has taken a hit and her luxury house line with LVMH had to be discontinued, her beauty lines continue to soar as more people gravitate to her inclusivity marketing and even more people of color switch to support one of their own.
As for Rihanna’s music career, fans are happy at her success, but they’re not letting her off the hook as they use every opportunity to remind her that she needs to drop her long-awaited album R9 that was due to be released for a few years now.
While she has remained the face of her brand, for the most part, Rihanna has drawn in a number of celebrities and influencers of all backgrounds, ages, skin colors, and ethnicities as she concretizes her brand as a household name.