Rihanna, The “FENTY” Empire. From the Ground Up!
Updated: Oct 1, 2019
What does it mean to build something from the ground up? Well, in my opinion it means taking something that was in the mud and start to figure out how I can build a strong foundation first. Then next you will build your building frame brick by brick, until you have a solid and sound designed structure that can withstand all the rainy days, snow storms, tornados, earthquake and any other issue that will come up randomly in this thing called life. In today climate Rihanna is a great example of an entertainer turned business woman that has gone from young talented lady from Barbados. To now her last name “FENTY” is an official Maison House within one of the most influential Luxury Mother company brands in the world LVMH. Rihanna is the first Black female to do this with LVMH. As well as the first new designer to receive her own fashion house since 1987 Christian Lacroix.
“Ri Ri” was signed to Def Jam by Jay-Z back in 2005, to pursue her music career. Rihanna since than has sold over 280 million records & singles, accumulated 32 RIAA-certified platinum singles in her career and She’s one of the only artist ever with more than 100 million RIAA-certified singles. You could say she has out performed her contract. While becoming the #1 selling female Entertainer within the Hip Hop culture. Her formula for creating great singles & collaborations that can be played anywhere has work very well for her in this digital streaming age of music consumption. Singles like “We Found Love”, “Love the way you lie”, “Diamonds”, or “Umbrella” just to name a few had catapulted her into the spotlight. Music gave her the opportunity to market her brand onto other business areas. Rihanna was able to take advantage of her stardom by leveraging and generating sales for other Businesses. Now looking at the moves she has made over the years. You can tell that her team at Roc Nation & her foresight for business was strategic and carefully laid out step by step to build her sweat equity and influence through strategic partnerships that wanted to aligned themselves with an up & coming brand like Rihanna.
Next for “Ri Ri” was that she released her very first perfume Reb'l Fleur in 2011. Now she has a stable of different branded fragrances “Kiss”, Reb’l Fleur “Love Always”, “Crush”, “Nude”, “Rogue”, “Rebelle” & “RiRi” Just to name a few. She collaborated with other brands like MAC, Armani, Dior. She has helped sell magazines for Vogue, Elle, and just about every other top magazine known around the world within the fashion industry.
2014 she partnered with Puma. Which help launch her Puma Fenty branded collaboration. She created various styles within the companies portfolio that generated positive results. In 2016 Footwear News -- which hosts the annual "Shoe Oscars" and is considered the industry bible for footwear honored her with their Shoe of the Year award for her highly coveted Fenty Puma by Rihanna creepers.
2017 She partnered with LVMH owned Kendo Brands to create Fenty Beauty. In its first full year Fenty Beauty generated over $500 Million. She has created a beauty brand that caters to all woman skin colors and tones. Her Pro Filt’R Concealer has over 60 different shades to cover a woman blemishes, dark circles, & bags. That wide spectrum of colors has won her fans over and has gained momentum. This change has set the bar and now is a standard that everyone in the beauty industry now follows. They're now working to provide a wide range of colors and variations within each product they sell, whether its Lip stick or eye shadow.
2018 She launched her Savage X Fenty lingerie line. Savage X has disrupted and changed the perception of what the fashion industry has classified what beauty is suppose to be. Typically fashion has always presented beauty to be wearing a size 0 - 4 and if you didn’t throw up after you ate so you can model and walk the runway you wasn’t considered perfect or beautiful. Savage X Fenty. Has helped to change that narrative all while being at a fair price point. Savage X has promoted their message on their website by organically sharing their customers photos wearing their lingerie and showing no matter what size you are, you’re Savagely beautiful. It has worked!!
2019. Her influence and business savvy has garnered her the respect and earned her enough sweat equity, that LVMH partnered with RiRi without her having to come out of pocket and LVMH backed her venture with an $30 million investment. Mr Arnault has given me a unique opportunity to develop a fashion house in the luxury sector, with no artistic limits," said Rihanna, in a statement, referring to LVMH Chairman and Chief Executive Bernard Arnault. "I couldn’t imagine a better partner both creatively and business-wise, and I’m ready for the world to see what we have built together." Rihanna goal to start off the brand will be an online Luxury Boutique that host various popups. No fashion runway, no brick & mortar store just an online presence for now then build up from there. If this business model works it could change the fashion business as we know it. Think about it the over head cost will be low. If she proves that there is no real need to have an actual Brick & Mortar or market your brand using the fashion runway. You will have less overhead and larger profits. $30 million isn’t a lot of money to spend on a fashion business and the burn rate if you have too much over head could put you in the red in a year or 2 at the most for any luxury brand. So to start off online and then add the other pieces if you so choose, makes since.
As far as her Fenty maison collection goes. When you touch the fabric you can already tell the difference of the quality of the material used as well as the weight & weft density of the fabric. The Fenty sunglasses / shades. I think her customer base will support & purchase, along with her shoes. Building something from scratch is never easy and it takes time to figure out what your brand will ultimately become and to have the right team that can execute your vision, is very important. So my impression of the line is let’s wait and see to give it a fair assessment. This is only the beginning of her vision. You can tell she was very excited for the release of her new line. Based on how these first few pieces sell. She will then refine the line, based off the analytics that is received and go more into that direction. When we can see a more consistent theme & look for each season moving forward. I think the sky is the limit for Fenty. I’m very excited to see how far “RiRi” will take her new endeavor throughout her journey. Congrats!!
Article written by Jason Turner of YSYM Films
Pictures captured by Jason Turner of YSYM Films