If there was ever a product line launched by a celebrity that made a mark in an industry, it would be the launch of Fenty Beauty.
Within its first year, the beauty brand saw an overwhelming number of sales worth 500 million Euros. And while most products launched by celebrities do experience a short-term sales boost, Fenty Beauty’s popularity is incomparable, and it’s been going strong for about 4 years now.
It was probably always obvious to everyone involved in the brand’s creation that Rihanna’s celebrity status would play a huge role in getting the brand a powerful start in the market. However, Fenty Beauty always had a growth strategy that stretched far beyond Rihanna’s status and a few features in popular magazines online.
Here’s what we’ve learned from the Fenty Beauty empire and its tremendously sustainable growth patterns.
Lesson No. 1: Don’t Underestimate the Potential of Powerful Partnerships
Usually, when celebrities launch their clothing or beauty brands, they do so on their own because they know that their celebrity status would make it all sell. But Rihanna being the visionary she is, entered into a partnership with an MNC known for its luxury products, i.e., LVMH.
To be more specific, she joined forces with Kendo, LVMH’s beauty division, and is responsible for creating brands that can be sold at Sephora, also owned by LVMH. What’s special about this company is that since it usually works with start-ups, it has a unique risk profile that has worked for other brands like Marc Jacobs Beauty and Kat Von D as well.
Rihanna’s decision to enter the beauty market with LVMH instead of going solo gave her some unique benefits. For instance, she immediately got access to Sephora’s sales data which gave her brand some necessary insights about the market they were about to enter. Moreover, Fenty got immediate product placement online and in-store, thanks to Sephora.
And one of the most major benefits that Fenty got was its launch at a global level. Fenty Beauty went on sale in 17 countries right away, which would’ve definitely taken a while had she been on her own.
Lesson No. 2: Stay True to Your Vision and Stay Involved
The problem with most celebrity product launches is that they cater to fanbases and not the actual industry, so there’s no longevity to the whole idea. Products are usually of average quality but initially sell well because of the celebrity’s fans’ interest, but soon enough, the hype dies down, and so do sales.
Rihanna made it all about the quality from day 1. This can be seen from the fact that the product development took 2 years before it was revealed to the public. Moreover, Rihanna has repeatedly spoken about the fact that she wanted to create something that would be respected in the beauty industry.
Moreover, staying part of the process is important if you want your brand to stand out. And if Rihanna can find the time to be creative and give her input for everything from the formula to the packaging—so can you.
Lesson No. 3: Don’t Do What Everyone Else Is Already Doing
Another lesson we learn from the Fenty Empire is that “different” sells. Because how else can one break into a highly competitive $500-plus market? For Rihanna, this was nothing new. As an artist, she’s always pushed the boundaries, and as a businesswoman, she pushed the market forces to make space for herself and her brand.
She saw a gap in the beauty market, and she chose to address it with an incredible, socially powerful tagline, i.e., “Beauty for all.” The unique idea behind Fenty Beauty was nothing other than inclusivity. Still, interestingly, the marketing for the brand was so clever that the rather cliched word never had to be used. The main marketing campaign features 12 women, none of them models or influencers, but each different from others. The message was loud and clear: Fenty Beauty had no room to push conventional beauty standards widely enforced by society.
Moreover, the foundation shades that the brand offered created quite a buzz since the color palette didn’t just offer the deepest shades that were rare in the market but also super light options that didn’t exist at all previously.
This unique approach is what essentially led to Fenty Beauty becoming a craze almost overnight.
Lesson No. 4: Don’t Be Afraid To Try New Things
While it’s important to stay true to yourself and your vision, there’s nothing wrong with branching out. For instance, Rihanna started as a musician, was a celebrity ambassador for several brands, but today, she’s one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world and has a whole business empire to call her own. This couldn’t have been possible if Rihanna had not branched out of her role as an entertainer.
But one of the greatest lessons to be learned from Rihanna and Fenty Beauty is that there are no limits or boundaries to success. You can go onwards and upwards if you choose to.
After Fenty Beauty became successful almost instantly, Rihanna launched Savage X Fenty, an exclusive lingerie line that appears to be just as successful as the singer’s other endeavors.
And in 2020, Rihanna expanded the Fenty Empire a few more thousand inches with Fenty Skin. But it should be noted that even the best do mess up at times, and so did Rihanna with her PRET label Fenty, as it didn’t do so well. But she still taught us an important business lesson; failure isn’t the end of the road! And that it’s never about the numbers but always about the passion behind your work!
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About the Author
The author is a makeup artist by profession as well as a beauty blogger. Alongside their own blog, they enjoy writing beauty industry-related pieces for Hustle Mama Magazine.