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Image: Fenty

Almost exactly four years after launching Fenty Beauty in conjunction with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s Kendo beauty incubator (and bringing in a reported $100 million in sales in its first 40 days of operation), Rihanna has claimed billionaire status, and in large part, she has her inclusivity-centric cosmetics brand to thank. According to a report from Forbesi, the 33-year-old Grammy winner-slash-makeup mogul has an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion, with a substantial portion of that coming by way of her 50 percent ownership stake in Fenty Beauty (LVMH owns the other 50 percent of the joint venture), which the financial outlet claims is “conservatively” worth approximately $2.8 billion. 

Speaking to the success of the Fenty Beauty venture, Forbes states that in its first full calendar year in 2018, the brand “was bringing in more than $550 million in annual revenues, according to LVMH,” enabling it to “beat out other celebrity-founded brands like Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics, Kim Kardashian West’s KKW Beauty and Jessica Alba’s Honest Co.” In its full year report for 2018, LVMH name-checked the beauty brand as “enjoying exceptional success.” Fast forward two years, and LVMH revealed that the brand was continuing to perform well, with the Fenty Skin sub-brand, which got its start in 2020, off to “very promising start” and “generat[ing] unprecedented buzz,” and Fenty Beauty brand, itself, “maintain[ing] its appeal as a premier makeup brand.”

The impending launch of Rihanna’s first Fenty fragrance, which will drop on the Fenty Beauty e-commerce site on August 10, is expected to drive numbers up even further. 

“Much of the rest [of Rihanna’s net worth] lies in her stake in Savage x Fenty,” the lingerie brand that she launched with Techstyle, the retail group that owns Kate Hudson’s Fabletics and ShoeDazzle, to much fanfare in May 2018. The subscription-centric Savage x Fenty – which boasts bras in sizes 32A to 38DD, underwear up to a size 3X, and other lingerie that ranges from extra small to 3X – was valued at $1 billion in February 2021 in connection with a $115 million Series B funding round. Prior to that round, Forbes estimated that Rihanna’s 30 percent stake was worth about $80 million.

And still yet, Rihanna’s income as a singer and an actress rounds out the rest of her net worth. 

THE BROAD VIEW: The success of the Fenty empire – and in particular, the Fenty Beauty brand – comes as no shortage of celebrities have rushed to get in on the $500 billion global beauty segment by developing and marketing products to their sizable bases of devoted fans. Celebs, such as Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Lopez, and Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, among others, have increasingly gravitated towards to cosmetics and skincare space, and in the process, are readily going beyond the traditional licensed fragrance model that long-served as the standard for famous faces to boost their bottom lines in the consumer products space.

This larger trend also comes as savvy celebs – armed with tens (if not hundreds of) millions of social media followers – and their management teams have been looking to rethink the structure and strategy behind such ventures, distancing themselves from the largely one-dimensional deals of the past, which saw famous figures paid to appear on packaging and in ad campaigns for licensed fragrances under their names, and moving towards more hands-on and potentially lucrative arrangements with equity and/or profit-sharing elements in place.