For her first ten years in the public eye, Rihanna, for the most part, stuck to music. As a record-breaking, multi-platinum, Grammy award-winning artist, it was clear that she was a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Throughout her musical career, Rihanna dabbled in fashion, teaming up with Armani on a denim line in 2011 and collaborating on a sneaker collection with Puma in 2014. However, in August 2017 Rihanna decided to launch an enterprise of her own, a makeup company called Fenty Beauty.
Rihanna’s products were a smashing success as soon as they hit the market, as Fenty Beauty made a profit of $100M within its first 40 days.
Fenty Beauty’s success was not only fueled by Rihanna’s large social media following, but also by her partnership with the billion-dollar French luxury company, LVMH, which gave Rihanna a huge platform from which to grow her brand and expand into popular retail stores, such as Sephora.
This company was unique because it was one of the only brands at the time that really emphasized diversity in the makeup industry. She branded her Fenty Beauty as makeup for “every woman,” focusing specifically on “traditionally hard-to-match skin tones, creating formulas that work for all skin types, and pinpointing universal shades.” Rihanna was able to truly revolutionize the makeup industry, that had been previously catered primarily to white people.
Rihanna credits her upbringing for the central goal of her brand, stating “In my own household, my father is half black, half white…my mom is black from South America. I was seeing diversity, that’s all I knew… I didn’t even really know how bad [the void in the market for dark foundation] was because all I’d seen was black women put makeup on.” This objective was evident through not only Fenty Beauty’s wide range of 40+ foundation and concealer shades, but also it’s marketing campaigns, featuring models of every race, ethnicity, and skin color. When developing Fenty, Rihanna also prioritized creating affordable products without compromising on quality, most of the products ranging from $20-$40.
Currently, Fenty Beauty itself is valued at an impressive $600M, while Rihanna’s other company, a widely successful lingerie line called Savage X Fenty, is also valued at about $150M. Rihanna is not ready to slow down yet though, as she recently announced in British Vogue that she will be adding skincare products to her Fenty Beauty line in the coming year.
Although in the beginning stages of building Fenty Beauty, Rihanna still released some new music, over the past three years she has seemed to move away from music and focus primarily on her businesses. However, many were shocked to see Rihanna’s first musical feature in almost four years on PARTYNEXTDOOR’s most recent album PARTYMOBILE. This left fans begging Rihanna to return to music, specifically with her reggae-inspired album R9 that she’s been teasing since 2018.