Kylie Jenner is the youngest of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, but her young age of 18 hasn’t stopped her from making headway in the fashion and beauty industries.
She has had several lines and endorsement deals with brands such as OPI, Top Shop, Bellami Hair, Sinful Colors, PacSun and Puma—just to name a few. Kylie’s work has been met with great success, but her cosmetic undertaking has certainly been the center of attention since its inception late last year.
There’s suddenly a new elephant in the room of marketing discussions—how the heck is Kylie generating so much hype and selling so much product?
As we like to say around here at Top Hat, we’re not the type to let the elephant in the room sit there without introducing it, inviting it to sit at the meeting table and giving it a heaping cup of coffee. So here’s a look at the Lip Kit Craze and my theory on what built its marketing success.
The Lip Kit Craze
In November 2015, Kylie Jenner released three matte lip kits and the world went crazy. The demand was so high that all three kits sold out in one minute, causing the site to momentarily crash—something that any cosmetic brand dreams about.
Since then, Kylie Cosmetics came to be and new products have been added to the repertoire. Recent interviews with the socialite have been focused on her astounding success and her plans for future projects. Kylie has mentioned on more than one occasion that she has plans to expand her cosmetic career and to ultimately focus on more behind-the-scenes projects.
Each member of the Kardashian/Jenner family has found their niche and they own it. Kylie is no exception. Whatever she puts her name on, it sells, but I have to wonder what is it that makes this young lady such a cultural phenomenon and what we can take away.
Family Name or Something Else?
Many people are quick to assume that it has to do with her family name. I would have to agree to some point that is certainly doesn’t hurt her career any by being a Jenner, but she works hard and the proof is in the pudding. There have been many instances in which a celebrity attempts to break out on their own and they fail. Something tells me the Kylie Jenner name isn’t going anywhere.
So, what is it that Kylie does differently from other people in her field? She hires the right people and does the right things. Yes, her fanbase is large and they are devoted, but that doesn’t always cut it when it comes to selling products.
One of her most recent branding escapades was the creation of a music video-like promotion for the new glosses. It was a unique way of spreading the word while creating intense hype around the products and evolving a trend she developed—a skill that Kylie has certainly mastered.
While I have never tried any of her cosmetics, as I am not much of a lipstick person, I have heard nothing but great reviews. Upon looking at all of the excitement that surrounds the young businesswoman’s endeavors, it’s easy to follow the rabbit hole of thoughts centered on her branding smarts.
Limited Production Run? Potentially
One has to ask, does Kylie’s team create a limited amount of products in order to create a higher demand? Everyone wants to get their hands on a lip kit and some eager buyers are going to great lengths to get them.
A simple Ebay search on Kylie Jenner yields results of products being sold for over roughly three times the original selling price.
What’s Really Causing the Hype?
What is it about the Kylie Jenner brand that has people swarming?
Could it be a strategy that is focused on creating hype or is it that she is a well-known celebrity who is utilizing her family name? Well, here’s my personal opinion and theory.
Making the Most of Exposure
Kylie was catapulted into fame when Keeping Up With The Kardashians first aired in 2007 and since then, she has had access to many resources, including trend-setting older sisters. Whether society wants to admit it or not, the Kardashian family has a lot of influence on its viewers. Kylie, so much like her sisters, has been the center of many rumors, praise and criticism. This has put her in the spotlight.
She has access to many resources that may not be readily available to the average person, and she knows how to use them.
For instance, Kylie has a mass following on social media. Her Instagram alone has 60.5 million followers. While many of her posts involve selfies or pictures with friends, each one is clearly calculated. Whether she is wearing the latest trends in makeup and fashion or visiting hotspots around the world, she is showcasing one of her most prominent features — her lips.
Controversy Created a New Market “Need” and Kylie’s Brand Took Advantage
A controversy that surrounded the starlet a few years ago may be a contributing factor to her great success. When comparing pictures of Kylie before 2014 to present day, the drastic change in the appearance of her lips is substantial.
As a young girl her lips were thin, but within recent years they have certainly become more prominent. Many media outlets asked Kylie about the change, but her retort was consistently the same—she insisted the change was due to her evolving makeup savvy. While some condemned her for skirting around the subject, it was obvious that she was not comfortable confessing to lip injections just yet.
Her fans grew increasingly frantic about achieving the same plump pout. Makeup tutorials, products and other fads quickly showed up in leu of Kylie’s change in appearance. Whether you view this as horrible or not, this marked an important milestone. Kylie’s lips, and the controversy around them, created a craze and a sudden market “need” that others were trying to fill.
Eventually, after months of speculation and fan’s attempts to recreate her famous pout, Kylie finally admitted to having temporary lip fillers on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. After her admission, Kylie began to develop her beauty line and fans were swarming for more information.
The Kylie brand took the wide-spread and consistent attention surrounding her lips and turned it around into a product line filling a new market need to get “Kylie’s lips.” The hype was so substantial that when Kylie Cosmetics was launched, the fans were following every marketing ploy.
Limited Production Run
It’s impossible to say for sure whether Kylie and co. ran a series of limited production runs on her products.
If They Did, It Was a Smart Move
If they did, it was a smart move because of the buzz it generated around her new product line. What do people want more than anything else? That product they can’t even get their hands on.
How does someone utilize this method? It takes market analysis and some strategy.
These are purely imaginary figures for the sake of this example:
- Let’s say Kylie’s team discovered the market size as 1,000,000 sure-fire buyers.
- They would then chose to produce 250,000 products and market the heck out of the product using Kylie’s resources.
- When it came to sell, they would’ve sold old instantly because you have 1,000,000-pumped-up people fighting for 250,000 products.
- The other 750,000? They yearn for that hot item and generate even more buzz. Now, everyone is obsessed with the scarcity and growing “myth” of the product. They simply have to have it.
It Might’ve Also Been An Accident Though …
There’s also the chance that they wanted to create a smaller run to test the marketability of the products. There’s nothing worse than producing more product than the market calls for. In that case, you lose a great deal of money. In this case, they accidentally manufactured limited production run hype.
There It Is
So there it is—a brief marketing analysis of the Kylie Jenner Lip Kit Craze.
Whether you love or hate her and what she’s doing, it’s an interesting phenomenon to examine. And at the end of the day, there might even be a few takeaways you can apply to your next marketing campaign.