Ten years after “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” debuted, the social media clan has its well-manicured hands in everything from beauty products to premium emojis
Updated: October 25, 2017
The Kardashians-Jenners are just like us, just richer.
A decade since the television show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” propelled a semi-famous family into perhaps the most valuable social media franchise in the world, a now-non-platinum blonde Kris Jenner was in a reflective mood. And little wonder: her family just signed a reported $150 million deal with E! for another five seasons of the TV program and she would reportedly be pocketing at least $15 million in management fees. In a conversation with fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger at the Women’s Wear Daily Apparel & Retail CEO Summit in New York on Tuesday, the 61-year-old entrepreneur spilled some of her business secrets and they’re surprisingly protean.
According to Jenner, who raised six children in marriages with Robert Kardashian and Caitlyn Jenner, much of the clan’s success came down to her just wanting to be a good mom. Take for instance how her second youngest daughter, the now 21-year-old Kendall Jenner, had long wanted to be a Victoria’s Secret angel. The problem: unlike Yolanda Hadid, the supermodel mom of family friends Gigi and Bella Hadid, Jenner had no experience with the world of high fashion modelling.
Still, Jenner somehow found the number of Russell James, the lingerie brand’s photographer of choice, and cold-called him when Kendall was still a teenager. “I was so scared,” she told the audience. “I told him ‘You don’t know who she is, but she’s beautiful.’” James agreed to drop by their home for a visit shortly thereafter and Jenner got her daughter to change into her “cutest party dress,” a pair of platform shoes and then casually walk down the stairs when the two adults were talking.
“She looked about 17 feet tall,” Jenner says. Kendall Jenner has since walked in two Victoria’s Secret annual shows.
Or there was that time her youngest daughter Kylie Jenner really wanted to start a beauty company and begged her mother to help her out. The older Jenner wound up cold calling people that she had found on Google. Eventually, Jenner found a manufacturer they liked and convinced them to set up a fulfillment center nearby so they could “keep it tight in that little circle.”
In the 18 months since it was founded, Kylie Cosmetics has done almost $500 million in business. (It’s also received significant flak.) “My role was to help them find their dreams,” Jenner said. “If [the kids] were doing what they love, that made me really happy.”
That said, has the Kardashian-Jenner brand plateaued? After all, the premiere of the latest season of its flagship product, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” recently saw the lowest comparable viewership numbers in almost a decade. Jenner says she does worry about oversaturation, though she prefers to see the glass as half-full.
“The young women are from Gen Z, the other kids are millennials and you throw in a Baby Boomer,” Jenner quipped. “It’s an amazing recipe.”
This story was updated on October 25, 2017 with news of a new deal with E!
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