How Rihanna Created A $600 Million Fortune—And Became The World’s Richest Female Musician

“Work, work, work, work, work, work.”

That’s the opening line of Rihanna’s 2016 dance corridor anthem titled, appropriately, Work. It might additionally function her private motto.

Famous first as a singer, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, 31, has since advanced into a method icon and make-up entrepreneur—and shortly she’ll be the primary black girl accountable for a significant luxurious style home. All these efforts add as much as a $600 million fortune, making her the wealthiest feminine musician on this planet, forward of the likes of Madonna ($570 million), Céline Dion ($450 million) and Beyoncé ($400 million).

[Read extra | Artist, Icon, Billionaire: How Jay-Z Spun Fame Into A $1 Billion Fortune]

Most of that comes not from music however from her partnership with LVMH, the French luxurious items big run by billionaire Bernard Arnault. Rihanna (pronounced “Ri-ann-ah,” not “Ri-ah-nah,” as she just lately clarified) and LVMH co-own the make-up model Fenty Beauty. It launched in September 2017 at Sephora, one other LVMH model, and on-line at, rapidly turning into a viral success. Fenty Beauty racked up a reported $100 million in gross sales in its first few weeks, propelled by Rihanna’s fame and 71 million Instagram followers.

The total private care business in America has grown enormous lately. According to Grand View Research, it might swell to greater than $200 billion in gross sales by 2025, up from nearer to $130 billion in 2016. The market noticed a report 134 M&A offers final yr, together with P&G’s $250 million buy of 10-year-old First Aid Beauty. Perhaps probably the most telling knowledge level: 11 of the 80 girls on Forbes‘ checklist of the Richest Self-Made Women made their cash in magnificence or skincare merchandise. Many did what Rihanna did, flip to the low-cost advertising alternative introduced by social media. That works finest for present celebrities, as Kylie Jenner and her Kylie Cosmetics proved out, who can push their new merchandise at their present followers.

Fenty Beauty has differentiated itself in one other manner, releasing 40 shades of basis, way over the handful of hues offered by different manufacturers. “It challenged the standard convention that you only needed a very defined set of shades to satisfy a market,” says Stephanie Wissink, a analysis analyst at Jefferies. “Not only did [Fenty Beauty] achieve meaningful sales, but it potentially changed the industry permanently.” 

Sales proceed to soar. Fenty Beauty generated an estimated $570 million in income final yr, after solely 15 months in enterprise. The total operation is value, conservatively, greater than $three billion. Forbes estimates that LVMH owns an estimated 50% of it, whereas Rihanna has about 15%, a determine a spokesperson for the artist disputed however wouldn’t make clear additional.

The Barbados native, who overcame hardships together with an abusive addict father and a well-publicized assault by then-boyfriend Chris Brown in 2009, additionally co-owns the Savage X Fenty lingerie line with Los Angeles-based on-line style agency TechStyle Fashion Group and has thousands and thousands in earnings from her profession touring and releasing as a singer, which make up the remainder of her fortune.

Her empire continues to develop. In May, LVMH and Rihanna introduced Fenty, a brand new clothes home that can make high-end garments, footwear, equipment and jewellery.

“They extended the offer to me and it was a no-brainer because LVMH is a machine,” Rihanna instructed The New York Times Style Magazine. “Bernard Arnault was so enthusiastic; he trusted me and my vision.”

The style line, which launched on-line in May, consists of sizes as much as U.S. 14, embodying the identical inclusive splendid of Fenty Beauty. It will exist beneath the identical umbrella as well-known manufacturers akin to Dior and Givenchy, marking LVMH’s first new home in additional than 30 years.

“What Fenty Beauty did to beauty, Fenty lifestyle is going to do to fashion,” says Wissink. “It’s going to raise the bar for what it looks like to build a brand that’s inclusive, game changing, global and iconic.”

Inset pictures: Getty Images

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