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By Florence Robson
usician and business mogul Robyn Rihanna Fenty has officially been declared a billionaire by Forbes.
According to the magazine Rihanna is now worth a total of $1.7 billion. She has become one of the richest woman entertainers, second only to Oprah Winfrey. Her share (50%) in the eponymous beauty brand Fenty is now estimated to be worth $1.4 billion - in total, the brand is said to be worth $3 billion.
By shifting her role from celebrity ambassador to brand owner, the 33-year-old artist has accumulated stakes in billion-dollar brands and thus become part of the billionaire club herself. We break down the five deals that made her the world’s wealthiest female musician.
2014: Rihanna x Puma
In late 2014, Rihanna turned heads when she signed with Puma to be creative director of its women’s collections, in a deal rumoured to be worth over $1 million. Among her successful collaborations with the brand was the Fenty X Puma line, including the release of her signature Puma Creepers, which sold out in only three hours and led to a 40% increase in US sales of Puma women’s shoes.
"I never thought I’d make this much money, so a number is not going to stop me from working. I’m not being driven by money right now."
2016: Rihanna x Dior
A year after becoming the first Black ambassador for Dior, in 2016 Rihanna created a range of futuristic sunglasses with the brand – the first ambassador to release her own product with the fashion house – working closely with the design team on everything from choosing references to selecting materials. While neither Dior nor Rihanna has disclosed how much the deal was worth, the collaboration marked another major step away from endorsing a brand and towards launching her own.
2017: Fenty Beauty
Rihanna launched the now iconic Fenty Beauty in 2017 in partnership with Kendo, LVMH’s beauty subsidiary. Determined to rewrite the rules of the conventional beauty industry, she debuted the line with 40 shades of foundation that spanned evenly across the skincare spectrum.
It worked: Fenty Beauty generates $500 million a year and is now valued at over $3 billion, in which Rihanna holds a 50% stake as confirmed by Forbes today. The brand was also named one of Time Magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of 2017.
“I have 100% involvement in this process, which is what makes this so special and very fun,” Rihanna told Time Magazine. “I have so much creative freedom from products to packaging, and that’s really the only way this brand will stay true to my vision for it.”
2018: Savage X Fenty
Fresh off the back of Fenty Beauty’s immense success, Rihanna launched her inclusive lingerie line, Savage X Fenty, at New York Fashion Week in 2018. So hyped was the first collection that customers waited for hours in line to access the online store on launch day. The excitement hasn’t faltered since; the brand generates $150 million in annual revenue with 200% year-on-year growth, driven in no small part by its 4.2 million Instagram followers and partnerships with household names like Amazon.
Earlier this year, Savage X Fenty raised $115 million in Series B funding, bringing the company’s valuation to more than $1 billion. Before the funding, Forbes estimated Rihanna’s stake to be worth $270 million – and that figure continues to rise.
2020: Fenty Skin
Last year, Rihanna expanded her empire yet again with the launch of Fenty Skin, which she described in a press release as “my vision of the new culture of skincare”. The brand racked up sales of $30 million in less than four months on its e-store and is set to build on the enormous success of Fenty Beauty.
Rihanna is not infallible; the launch of Fenty Skin came hot on the heels of the announcement that her ready-to-wear label, Fenty (also created with LVMH), was set to close less than two years after production began, due to disappointing sales.
Yet, this stumble looks unlikely to make a significant impact on the singer’s long-term plans for the Fenty ecosystem. As she said last year in an interview with The New York Times, "I never thought I’d make this much money, so a number is not going to stop me from working. I’m not being driven by money right now. Money is happening along the way, but I’m working out of what I love to do, what I’m passionate about."
Looking at the business deals that took Rihanna from pop-princess to a business mogul worth 1.7 billion.
By Florence Robson
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