Rihanna x Fenty Beauty: Music Icon to Business Mogul

The inception of Rihanna’s business acumen

Rihanna is a vocal powerhouse with platinum records and multiple billboard toppers but it is actually the singer’s business ventures with her cosmetic line, Fenty Beauty that has put her on the map. Born in Barbados and marred by her father’s addiction to crack. Rihanna came from humble beginnings, growing up her family struggled with money. Childhood was a rough time for Rihanna. However, it was her love for fashion and beauty that propelled her to stardom, businesswoman, advocate for human rights and so much more.

Vogue Rihanna magazine beside magazines

Rihanna is currently the richest female musician in the world surpassing the likes of Madonna and Celine Dion. She has an estimated net worth of $600 million, however only 1/4th of it comes from her career in music. Rihanna made her multimillion dollar bank balance from her business ventures with the likes of Puma, TechStyle Inc., and French luxury house LVMH. However, the jewel of her crown is her cosmetics company Fenty Beauty.

How Fenty Beauty began

Rihanna released Fenty Beauty, co-owned by her and LVMH, in September 2017. The brand went through the ceiling overnight. It was an instant hit— especially among people of color who often struggle to find makeup for their skin tones. Rihanna’s makeup line went onto release an impressive total of 40 shades in their foundation. Her new venture was not only groundbreaking but it also openly challenged the norms of beauty.

rihanna fenty

The customer market was ready for anything Rihanna as she had credibility embedded in her very name. Fenty beauty was able to connect with avid makeup lovers on an entirely new level. Fenty Beauty isn’t the first cosmetics company to offer 40 shades but what other brands did not understand, Rihanna did. She into account undertones and affordability of the average girl that is interested in makeup but is unable to find her shade. For the longest time, people with darker skin tones were unable to find their shades due to the market’s obsession with lighter skin.  The darker shades sold out soon after the initial release. This was an indicator of how the company effectively filled a gap for those unacknowledged by the beauty industry.

This led to almost all cosmetic companies to revamp their foundation lines and accommodate all people of color. Several influencers then began to call out major companies like Tarte, Estée Lauder, Chanel, Too Faced, and many more to expand their shade range. This shift in the market’s paradigm has led to all major companies to become more inclusive.

The shift in fashion paradigm with Savage X Fenty

Rihanna then set out to conquer Victoria’s Secret market and slam it for its intolerance towards different body sizes and embedded transphobia.

In May 2018, she dropped her brand of underwear and lingerie called Savage X Fenty. Much like Fenty Beauty, the brand offers a range of options for people of numerous shapes, skin tones, and sizes.

In September 2019, Rihanna showcased her entire line during the New York fashion Week and it was trending on twitter for two days. Her show was a one of its kind, featuring models of various skin tones, ethnicities and body types. This was revolutionary considering Victoria’s Secret and their vision of an angel that is a simple number and a simple body type. This show also led to the final nail in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show coffin and it was cancelled for good after backlash from fans regarding VS’s attitude towards diversity and different body types. The Fenty X Savage show was also streamed on Amazon’s Prime Video giving everyone a front row pass to history being made.

fenty beauty

Inclusive marketing has thus become increasingly popular — and even necessary — as marginalized individuals are also consumers and should be represented in media. This strategy has paid off, with Savage X Fenty receiving $70 million in funding from investors, according to the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ also reports that the company earns nearly $150 million annually. Whereas Victoria’s Secret is bleeding out left and right with their investors pulling out and their stocks plummeting day by day. Victoria’s Secret UK has also declared bankruptcy as of May 2020.

Let’s not forget that Rihanna’s fashion house; Fenty. She is the first black woman to lead a fashion house at LVMH. LVMH is the same fashion label that has high-end companies like Dior and Givenchy under its banner.

Also Read: How to grow a small business

Why are Rihanna’s Strategies spot on?

They work because her target audience knows the business mogul for her ongoing messages of self-love and confidence.

Rihanna has always preached the message; be yourself unapologetically. This has created an environment of not only acceptance but an inflow of previously unacknowledged consumers. She has capitalized on what men running the beauty industry have failed to acknowledge for so long; beauty comes in all shapes, color and sizes.

Rihanna sings during The Concert for Valor in Washington, D.C. Nov. 11, 2014. DoD News photo by EJ Hersom

And let’s not forget that it was Rihanna’s passion for inclusivity. This led her to creating something for everyone and we were blessed with Fenty beauty and her two fashion lines.  There is something for everyone and they can feel content and loved within their skin. Division often leads to hostility and hate, but inclusion fosters understanding and appreciation.

Rihanna’s business ventures showcase the importance of taking a chance on your passions and doing it with a witty edge. Uplift yourself while acknowledging and empowering the communities you care about. Networking and working hard at your craft can take you a long way.

Conclusively Rihanna still isn’t content with smashing stereotypes in the beauty, fashion and lingerie industry. Rihanna is now collaborating with Famed shoe designer Amina Muaddi to launch a shoe collection under the banner of Fenty. She is also lending her chic sense to furniture and interior and for RiRi the sky is actually the limit.

It seems like it is only a matter of time that Rihanna’s business acumen is going to land her in Forbes’ billionaire’s list. All things considered that Fenty Beauty is reportedly valued at around $3 billion as of February 2020.  And Rihanna is showing no signs of slowing down.

Zubaida Gohar
Zubaida Gohar

Zubaida is a to be civil engineer and a professional athlete, she participated in the nationals thrice and won twice. She’s extremely passionate about civil rights, left wing politics and equal rights for women aka a feminist. Zubaida loves a good discussion on where this country is headed and what role we; as it’s citizens play in its betterment. Nowadays, she’s working from home on different projects and you can hit her up for an avid discussion at gohar.zubaida99@gmail.com or follow her on IG @gohar.zubaida99

Articles: 9

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