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Nigeria's leading finance and market intelligence news report.

Rihanna breaks the glass ceiling, joins billionaires’ club

Barbadian singer, songwriter, performer and entrepreneur, Rihanna just made billionaire status according to Forbes.

The pop superstar turned beauty mogul has just broken into a class generally populated by white men, breaking more records such as becoming the world’s first black female billionaire musician and the second richest female entertainer coming in behind Oprah.

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Her net worth is estimated to be around $1.7 billion, impressively propped by some of her more recent ventures such as her new 50 percent stake in Fenty Beauty (her makeup brand) and Savage x Fenty, her lingerie company. Over two-thirds of her recently acquired wealth is by virtue of the Fenty Beauty brand, her joint venture project with luxury goods group, LVMH.

With the brand recently valued at $1.4 billion, it is clear that Rihanna’s inclusion centric branding for the line of beauty products has helped set her apart from the host of celebrity-backed or initiated beauty lines as she has comfortably beat out the closest competition (KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics) in the race to billionaire status.

Stocked by Sephora and sold online, LVMH and Fenty Beauty reportedly sold over $550 million worth of products in 2018 alone, a feat considering that was the brand’s first full calendar year in operation.

Beauty is big business as demonstrated by the post-pandemic growth estimate of $21 billion for the beauty industry globally. Much of this uptick is owed to industry leaders L’Oreal, Unilever and Estee Lauder but credit is due to the LVMH conglomerate for not only increasing market share through sales but by supporting brands that provide a sense of community to the consumers.

Non-western beauty cultures are becoming more influential; consumers beyond North America and Europe are remaking the beauty market in their own image and likeness. As a result of this attention shift to new regions, beauty cultures operating outside the conventional Western beauty standards look to more inclusive brands for a sense of belonging, something Rihanna’s Fenty and Savage X Fenty brands provide in largesse.

Everything from the availability of over 52 skin shades to lingerie for plus-sized women, centring the needs of the consumers while reinforcing their beauty in their traits is Rihanna’s secret weapon in search of global domination. Her Savage x Fenty lingerie line also raised $115 million in funding rounds, achieving a billion-dollar valuation as a result and further expanding her net worth through her hefty 30 percent stake.

While some fans of her artistic career might be underwhelmed by every headline since 2016 focusing more on her entrepreneurship journey, no one can be unimpressed by the story of an immigrant girl who went on to capture the very essence of the American dream in our lifetimes.

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