At 21, Kylie Jenner is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, thanks to a booming cosmetics business, a hit reality TV franchise and numerous high-profile brand endorsements. But it seems she’s only getting started.
On May 9, Jenner signaled her plans to tap into her new status as a mom — she and boyfriend Travis Scott welcomed daughter Stormi Webster last year — and build a baby lifestyle brand under her famous name, filing trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “Kylie Baby” and “Kylie Baby by Kylie Jenner.” Both trademarks were filed across a range of categories, including apparel, shoes, skin care, diapers, food, home furnishings and gear such as strollers and carriers.
Although Jenner is diving into a highly competitive and often tricky-to-navigate business (due to stringent safety standards), experts say her new venture is a smart move — particularly as it allows her to leverage her massive fan base among millennials, more than a million of whom become new mothers each year.
“There is no doubt that Kylie is well poised to build a successful baby brand. She has already proven with Kylie Cosmetics that she possesses the business acumen to create a brand, be the face of that brand and, most importantly, have the marketing savviness to understand how to market that brand to her massive social following,” said Stacy Jones, CEO of Los Angeles-based Hollywood Branded, an influencer and product placement content agency. “If there is a category that appeals to female millennials who are obsessed with trendsetters and who live on social media, then she likely will succeed.”
When it comes to expanding her empire, Jenner’s biggest advantage is unquestionably her built-in publicity machine. As a global celebrity and member of one of the world’s most famous families, her reach is staggering. She reigns as the seventh-most followed influencer on Instagram (boasting more than 136 million followers), with her posts valued at more than $1 million each in equivalent ad value, according to social media analytics firm D’Marie Analytics.
Her post introducing newborn Stormi to the world holds the record as the second-most popular photo on Instagram, clocking nearly 19 million likes — a clear indication of the fervent interest in her new role as a mom.
She receives plenty of press attention, too. Before the ink had even dried on her trademark filings, news of her latest venture filled the headlines. According to media monitoring service Critical Mention, more than 725 U.S. media outlets have covered the story, translating to roughly 17.8 million TV impressions and 4.4 billion online impressions, which adds up to at least $287 million in free publicity. “All this without her even having launched the collection. This is the incredible power of her brand,” Jones noted.
Jenner’s foray into the baby business also comes at a time when interest in celebrities — and their children — has reached an all-time high, thanks to social media. Everyday fans now have unprecedented access to their favorite celebrities. Since giving birth to Stormi, Jenner has taken to social media to share many personal moments of her mom life, from family vacations and holidays to glimpses of her daughter’s enviable designer wardrobe.
The sense of intimacy this creates could spur people to want to buy into her baby brand, according to Erin Rechner, senior kids’ analyst for WGSN. “In today’s age, people strive to feel close to celebrities, and this is one way to fulfill that thirst,” she said, adding, however, that it will depend on where Jenner positions her brand on the price spectrum. “Will it be high-end luxury products that only people in her elite circle can afford? Or will she look to midmarket consumers — likely the majority of her fanbase — who would be willing to shell out money for something with the name Kylie on it?”