Why Kylie Jenner is winning the liquid lipstick death match
“What do you think would be a good spin on it then?” Den asked. I waited for a few seconds before replying but was still uncertain of what to say. “I’ll get back to you in a little while. I just have to rid myself of the prejudice I have for the Kardashian-Jenners first,” was my sheepish response.
It was said in jest but definitely half-meant. I’m one of those people. You know? The ones who spew vitriol at the mere mention of the famous clan’s name. I don’t agree with many of the things they do and ideologies they pass around. But sometimes you have to take a step back to see the bigger picture. In this case, the bigger picture depicts one of them as an undeniable force in the beauty and fashion industry. Kylie Jenner wants you to want her name on your lips - and she is succeeding.
Kylie wants beauty world domination and it's not far off the mark for her to succeed. At 18, Kylie possesses the traits (and means) to secure her longevity not only as a celebrity but also as an entrepreneur.
People who rise to fame without talent or significant societal contribution to offer often fall into oblivion quickly. Even those who are legitimately talented – remember Lady Gaga? – have an expiration date of five years. It’s difficult to stay relevant in the golden age of the Internet. Even when your name is almost synonymous with social media, you can't expect to hold people's attention forever.
Kylie’s decision to start a business while she can still leverage her fame is wise. And at the rate she’s going, it is safe to say that Kylie Cosmetics will be around for a while. Here's why!
She knows her brand like the back of her hand
Liquid lipsticks from various brands had been around and selling out before Kylie’s coveted creations came around, so one would question why she decided to jump on the bandwagon instead of doing something new. The answer is simple: She addressed a need. No, there wasn’t a need for liquid lipsticks. There was a need for more of Kylie.
The reality star grew up in front of us, and over the years we developed a feverish fascination with her and the rest of the Kardashian/Jenner clan. Kylie has the “lifestyle brand” down pat. She posts pictures of herself driving luxury cars – a Rolls Royce, a Range Rover, a Ferrari. A couple months shy of her 18th birthday, she left her mother’s house for her own $2.7 million Calabasas crib. It’s hard to chastise people who envy her life. For many, she’s living the dream.
But she also shows glimpses of normalcy like eating at fast food restaurants, hanging out with friends, and listening to her favorite music – enough for people not to get alienated from her.
In a way, she personifies the heroines of young adult dystopian novels. A girl who’s fighting against the power of parental supervision, someone trying to carve a path as a person of her own (while making wrong life decisions along the way). She’s everything most kids these days want to be. She is aspirational but still somehow relatable.
The accessibility surprisingly has not decreased her popularity. But she can’t keep Instagramming and Snapchatting all her life. So, what else can one give their fans when they’re already active on most social media platforms? A feeling of a special connection, something of yourself that they can claim they share with you or came from you. Since Kylie is no musician, dancer or author (yet), she banked on her most talked-about trait: her lips. Et voila! The #LipKitbyKylie was born.
She keeps things fresh
Liquid lipstick is not a novel idea, but selling it in a “kit” with a matching lip liner is. Kylie may not create products worthy of patents, but she innovates like a pro. Putting a twist on an existing product and making it your own is far from original, but it’s definitely a smart move.
The launch of her Lip Kits in November 2015 was a hit; and that’s putting it lightly. They sold out in 30 seconds, an occurrence that many tagged as breaking the Internet. Every time she releases a new product, her website crashes because of heavy traffic. Many people who fail to nab pieces from her website resort to overpriced versions on eBay. The demand is incredibly high, but Kylie’s more than willing to supply.
She continues to expand her beauty empire (almost at the same rapid pace as she did with her lips). After her matte offerings she ventured into glosses, whose names are “So Cute,” “Like” and “Literally” stay incredibly true to Kylie’s brand. They come in the nude colors that she became known for, and the names are catchy and very current.
On April 15, her new metallic matte line was released on KylieCosmetics.com just in time for Coachella. As usual, everything sold out within seconds of going live.
While the metallic matte liquid lipstick isn’t a new concept– Dose of Colors released a limited edition collection last year – Kylie’s take on it still carries a lot of impact. One, because they’re hers. Once you see the colors, you’d immediately assume that she’s the mastermind behind the line.
Two, the timing is impeccable. She’s the only one who carries a matte metallic liquid lipstick line right now, which makes the collection even more covetable. (And it doesn’t hurt that they’re also really flattering to wear, as you can see in the photos.)
Just like any other smart entrepreneur, she’s striking while the iron is hot. She’s already starting to make new products fans should keep an eye out for. Kylie has reportedly filed to trademark the names Kyshadow, Kyliner, and Kybrow.
She knows where her audience is and markets her products like a pro
Kylie is well-versed in the language of social media. And thus, she markets her products solely on her online platforms. Announcements of new products and stock arrivals are done on Instagram and Snapchat, and dates are always kept secret in order to keep people on their toes.
Plus, she paces her releases at good intervals - not so far between that people would get tired of waiting and in limited quantities to ensure that people would find the need to get their hands on them as soon as they can.
Kylie also knows that apart from her peers, who would regard the product as a bragging right, women who are in the same age range as her sisters follow her as well. So her products are packaged in such a way that they’re sophisticated but also a bit edgy. Her products are also priced smartly in that they're not as expensive as luxury brands, but not cheap enough to lose the status symbol.
She’s serious about her venture
While she does have a fashion line with her sister Kendall, Kylie Cosmetics is entirely her own. She claims she didn’t ask for any of her sisters’ input on the venture because she wants everything to be “organic” and to come from her.
And although you can’t accurately gauge her level of interest in her venture by simply looking at her posts, it will not be wrong to say that she’s quite invested in it. Put it this way: her sisters have Kardashian Beauty, but they rarely talk about it. They were even sued because they don’t care to mention the line on social media. Kylie, on the other hand, promotes her products constantly and wears them proudly. She also visits the lab where her products are made and sometimes takes a hand at making a few of them. While at the packaging section, she signs boxes as a bonus. She’s a hands-on businesswoman.
With all of that said, have I become a konvert? Well, I will still not worship at Kylie Jenner’s feet, but I have come to respect her hustle. Sure, she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and this might just be one of her many fixations that will fade away over time. But I can’t really blame her for something she had no power over; the money was already there when she came into the world. I can, however, commend her for the way she tries to create a name for herself as an entrepreneur.
“If I could do whatever I wanted, I would have a successful makeup line, and I would want to hopefully start more businesses, and just be, like, a businesswoman,” Kylie said when asked about her dreams for the future. “And then, hopefully, I’ll go off the map.”
I believe her.