The combined net worth of the top 60 self-made women is now a record $71 billion, 15% more than in 2017. The minimum net worth to make Forbes’ fourth annual ranking of these top women jumped 23% to $320 million, the highest since Forbes began tracking women entrepreneurs in 2015. Twenty-four of these women are billionaires, another record, up from 18 last year. These women make their money in everything from fashion and retail to biotech to trucking to venture capital.
Seven newcomers joined the ranks (6 from California), including 4 Instagram-savvy makeup moguls. The youngest is Kylie Jenner, who turns 21 in August. In fact, she is the youngest person to ever appear in these ranks. Half-sister of Kim Kardashian West, who is also on the list for the first time, Jenner has leveraged her massive social media following (110 million followers on Instagram) to build a $900 million cosmetics fortune in less than three years. That makes her worth more than twice as much as her more famous sister.
What her half-sister Kim Kardashian West did for booty, Jenner has done for full lips. Like Kardashian West, she has leveraged her assets to gain both fame and money. But while her sister is best-known for the former, Jenner has proved adept at the latter. In historic fashion.
Just 20 when this story publishes (she’ll turn 21 in August) and an extremely young mother (she had baby daughter Stormi in February), Jenner runs one of the hottest makeup companies ever. Kylie Cosmetics launched two years ago with a $29 “lip kit” consisting of a matching set of lipstick and lip liner, and has sold more than $630 million worth of makeup since, including an estimated $330 million in 2017. Even using a conservative multiple, and applying our standard 20% discount, Forbes values her company, which has since added other cosmetics like eye shadow and concealer, at nearly $800 million. Jenner owns 100% of it.
Add to that the millions she’s earned from TV programs and endorsing products like Puma shoes and PacSun clothing, and $60 million in estimated after-tax dividends she’s taken from her company, and she’s conservatively worth $900 million, which along with her age makes her the youngest person on the fourth annual ranking of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. (Forbes estimate that 37-year-old Kardashian West, for comparison, is worth $350 million.) But she’s not just making history as a woman. Another year of growth will make her the youngest self-made billionaire ever, male or female, trumping Mark Zuckerberg who became a billionaire at age 23. (Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel also became a billionaire in his early 20s, though it’s less clear when he passed that threshold.)
Basically, all Jenner does to make all that money is leverage her social media following. Almost hourly, she takes to Instagram and Snapchat, pouting for selfies with captions about which Kylie Cosmetics shades she’s wearing, takes videos of forthcoming products and announces new launches. It sounds inane until you realize that she has over 110 million followers on Instagram and millions more on Snapchat, and many of them are young women and girls–an audience at once massive and targeted, at least if you’re selling lip products. And that’s before the 16.4 million who follow her company directly, or the 25.6 million who follow her on Twitter, or the occasional social media assists from her siblings and friends.