Kim Kardashian-West poses for KKW Beauty marketing image for

KKW Beauty vs Kylie Cosmetics

How KKW Beauty & Kylie Cosmetics Work Together to Dominate the Beauty Industry 

Let’s face it: KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics dominate the beauty industry. Well, that’s if you’re not counting Fenty Beauty. If you follow either Kim Kardashian-West or her younger sister, Kylie Jenner, you’re aware that they’re both releasing new summer collections. Some might argue that it is simply bad business to release new products around the same time as your competitors. Yet, Kim and Kylie do it all the time. Is it a coincidence or could it be a masterful plan crafted by the strategic clan to dominate the cosmetics industry? Scroll below for the tale of two beauty brands. 

From Seed Beauty to Kylie Cosmetics

In 2015, Kylie Jenner launched Kylie Lip Kits under the parent company Seed Beauty. The inspiration behind the lip kits came from her insecurities with her lips as a teenager. Kylie funded the first 15,000 lip kits with $250K and they sold out within a minute of launch. After its sold out launch, Kris Jenner brought on Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify to outsource sales. By February 2016, they renamed the company to Kylie Cosmetics, increased production to 500,000 kits, and the rest as they say, is history. 


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DOLCE K @lipkitbykylie

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Last year, Kylie Jenner covered Forbes’ August 2018 issue “America’s Women Billionaires”. They predicted that she was on track to become the youngest “self-made billionaire” at 21. At the time, Kylie had already earned $630 million through Kylie Cosmetics and another $300 million through other ventures. Of course the “self-made” part did not go over well with many people, as is usually the case any time a Kardashian/Jenner is recognized for anything. Nonetheless, Forbes’s prediction was correct and by March 2019, she was back in the magazine for being the youngest “self-made billionaire” in the U.S. 

Kylie Jenner covers August 2018 issue of Forbes magazine for becoming youngest self-made billionaire
Image courtesy of Forbes

There is something about that Kardashian/Jenner train, isn’t it? 

Okay, my turn

Cue KKW Beauty. To be clear, Kim Kardashian-West will not be outdone; not even by her sisters! In June 2017, the most famous Kardashian launched KKW Beauty, selling contour and highlight kits at a cool $48. Unlike Kylie, KKW Beauty launched with 300,000 kits, meaning she was banking on a huge demand. Well, she was right. Within three hours of launching, Kim announced that all the kits were sold out! She earned $14.4 million dollars in three hours. That’s wild.  


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From contour and highlight kits to lip sticks, eye shadow palettes, and more, KKW Beauty’s product mix expanded in the same way Kylie Cosmetics did. Last July, Business Insider reported that KKW Beauty earned $100 million in its first year. While the numbers for year two have not been confirmed, we’re willing to bet she’s at least matched that. Not only has she had several product launches since then, but her latest product line – KKW Body, body makeup for psoriasis, dermatitis, and other visible imperfections – is sure to help her rake in the dough! 

Nobody wins when the family feuds

Scrolling through Instagram these past few weeks, you may have noticed Kylie and Kim promoting their summer collections. Kim named hers “Soo Fire Collection” while Kylie named hers “Under the Sea”. If you reach a little, you may notice some similarities between both collections. Firstly, both collections feature bright pops of color that you don’t typically see either Kim or Kylie wear. While KKW Beauty’s features more orange, rust, and red; Kylie Cosmetics’s features more gold and copper with random pops of electric purple and teal. Both collections feature new lip colors; KKW Beauty only has three, while Kylie Cosmetics has six. A signature for her cosmetics line, Kim also introduced three new eyeliners in pigmented earth tones. While Kylie’s collection launched on July 10th, Kim’s collection won’t launch until July 19th. Talk about common courtesy. 

It’s clear that there is a larger strategy amiss with Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty. Given the age difference between Kylie and Kim – Kylie is 21 and Kim is 37 – it is safe to assume that their audiences are different. Whereas Kylie caters to Gen Zers, Kim caters to the millennial market that connects with women who are striving in business, “sex tape” start or not. By the time Kylie’s summer collection sells out, Kim will be just in time with her summer collection that could appeal to any late adopters who missed the “Under the Sea” launch. 

Overall, we really can’t be mad at these business savvy sisters. Neither company has been in existence for more than five years, yet they’re raking in numbers that cosmetics giants took many years to bring in. There’s no guarantee that the quality of their products is any better than what you will find with say, MAC Cosmetics or Dior, but we don’t imagine quality is what they’re selling. They’re selling emotional experiences! They’re selling cool unboxing videos on social media; cutesy launch parties; packaging, and all the visuals that people love in this Instagram Age.

No matter your views on the Kardashian/Jenner clan, there is much to learn about digital marketing and the importance of working with your family to build generational wealth. Sure, they had a leg up compared to most families, but if we continue to use that to discredit their business acumen, we may miss an opportunity to learn a thing or two. 

Are you buying what they’re selling? We’d love to hear your thoughts below!



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