Owns Rihanna 100 Fenty Beauty
Many celebrities support products or sign license agreements. But among them all, Rihanna is the most interesting for the fashion and beauty industries. Rihanna's fans buy the products that RiRi advertises 3.7 times more often than fans of other celebrities, a study by the American marketing and consulting company, the NPD Group, found in 2016.
Rihanna's first sneaker collaboration with Puma, which was part of her Fenty x Puma line from September 2015, sold out in 35 minutes. The sportswear company named the singer in December 2014 as part of a rebranding process as creative director and global ambassador. The strategy has paid off: Puma CEO Björn Gulden told Reuters news agency that the pop star had boosted sales of Leisure Gear for women, an area that now accounts for a third of Puma's sales.
Their Savage x Fenty lingerie line, launched in May in collaboration with Techstyle Fashion Group, made customers wait for hours to access the online shop on launch day.
Savage X Fenty literally has a WAIT TIME OF MORE THAN AN HOUR BC TOO MANY PPL ARE ON- London Hazuka (@London_Hazuka) May 11, 2018
Rihanna's beauty brand, Fenty Beauty, launched in September 2017 and had sales of over $ 72 million in the first month. Once again, shoppers are more eager to spend money on Rihanna's makeup line than on products from other beauty celebrities, like tattoo artist and TV personality Kat von D, who has had a makeup line in partnership with Sephora since 2008; or sisters Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, who turned their reality TV fame into two multimillion-dollar brands. Fenty Beauty customers spend five times more than the average online cosmetics buyer, according to research by the Slice Intelligence data platform. "Fenty shoppers spend $ 438 annually on makeup. Kat Von D's customer spends $ 365 annually in the cosmetics category; Kim Kardashian shoppers spend $ 317 and Kylie Jenner shoppers spend around $ 198 a year, "the report said.
What does Rihanna have that makes her brands and brand licenses so attractive? Why are consumers more likely to buy products with their name on them than products from other celebrities? To find out, FashionUnited spoke to Joanne Yulan Jong, founder of strategic branding consultancy Yulan Creative and author of the book "The Fashion Switch: The New Rules of the Fashion Business"
Unique Selling Point # 1: Rihanna is approachable
"All brands are fighting for relevance in the market today. What makes their brand unique is their story. You can make a product, but at the end of the day, it's history that sells products. Rihanna is the best choice for a brand recommendation because she has history. She's this beautiful, successful woman from Barbados. Her ethnicity also plays a role, "says Jong.
But Rihanna isn't the only beautiful and successful woman of color. Singer Beyoncé, who launched her clothing line Ivy Park in 2016, also fits this profile. However, Ivy Park doesn't seem to be generating the same buzz as Fenty x Puma and Savage x Fenty. Why? According to Jong, the difference is that Rihanna managed to stay approachable. “There is still room for a personal connection with Rihanna. It allows people to project onto them. When a celebrity is too strong, too powerful, they are only seen as an icon, "she explains.
You can't help but wonder if there are pop stars out there with the same sales potential as the Barbadian singer. Jong backs Ariana Grande and says she wields similar power over a younger age group. The branding expert predicts Grande as "the next Rihanna" in terms of fashion collaborations and brand awareness.
Unique Selling Point # 2: It's not just about Rihanna
It is expected that products bearing Rihanna's name will do well in sales, considering the singer is a megastar with 62.5 million Instagram followers and millions of albums sold. In 2017, she made it to seventh place on Forbes' list of "Highest Paid Women in Music". While most of the fashion and beauty products promoted or co-designed by celebrities rely on celebrity fame alone to generate sales, Rihanna has shifted the focus from herself to the customer. She doesn't just target the fans who want to mimic her style. Instead, their collections are placed in such a way that they have something for all are.
Savage x Fenty, for example, offers 90 different lingerie and nightwear in seven different nude tones. Bra sizes range from 32A to 44DD while panties range from size XS to XXXL. The brand's website features models of various sizes and skin colors, with cellulite and stretch marks, so customers can better visualize what the pieces will look like on their bodies. Her beauty line follows a similar strategy: it includes 40 basic colors.
Rihanna's lingerie line is of course not the first or the only plus size line on the market, nor is it the first to recognize that the concept of "nude" should not be limited to beige:
While it is not common for most makeup brands to offer 40 base colors, large ranges are not unheard of in the market. MAC Cosmetics offers 42 basic colors, Bobbi Brown 30, to name just a few examples. MakeUp Forever advertised on Instagram to remind customers that it has had 40 basic colors since 2015.
While Rihanna's product offering and inclusivity discourse are not exactly new to the fashion market, the combination of these factors with the attractiveness of an assignable celebrity as a cash cow has proven.
To understand how it works, look no further than Rihanna's reply to MakeUp Forever's Instagram post. The pop singer herself commented on MakeUp Forever's profile and countered: "LOL. Still ashen". With this short sentence, Rihanna positioned her product line as the result of personal experience, while the competitors were dismissed as pure PR fin threshers. Rihanna claims she's already tried other makeup lines and found none of them are good enough. The longevity of their competitors no longer seems to play a role.
“And guess what happened? People believe it because they trust her. She looks real. Rihanna has been in the music, film, and fashion industries for a long time and she has always done a good job. Just compare her to Kim Kardashian who also launched a makeup brand with a wide range of products. People immediately believe Rihanna when she says she did her research. We can't say that about Kim Kardashian. She's a bit like Liz Hurley in the nineties: famous for being famous. Rihanna, on the other hand, is perceived as a credible and multifaceted businesswoman, "explains Jong.
Unique Selling Point # 3: Celebrity Fashion That People Can Afford
Many celebrities partner with luxury fashion houses or high-end brands whose items are priceless to most fans. Although Rihanna has worked with houses like Dior and Manolo Blahnik in the past, most of her collaborations have been with brands that offer a cheaper price range like Stance, River Island, and Puma. Additionally, all of the items on offer by their lingerie brand of the same name cost less than $ 100.
Choosing a lower price range corresponds to the image of proximity that she has created for herself and the image of inclusiveness that clings to her fashion and beauty brands. This is only logical: there would be little point in creating an "inclusive" collection when only a few people can buy it.
"I've worked with brands that made the strategic decision to reduce the margin on their collection but sell more volume. If you have a wide reach with a certain age group that doesn't have a lot of money, it makes a lot of sense. That's why Puma x Fenty works so well. You know the goal and work strategically ". Jong added that it was also wise of Rihanna to attach her name to athleisure clothing rather than traditional luxuries.
Unique Selling Point # 4: Women’s Empowerment
Last but not least, Rihanna's discourse on empowering women can be seen as an important element of her branding strategy. At a time when the #metoo movement is making headlines, many female pop stars have discovered the rhetoric to defend equality. However, Rihanna's story may sound more authentic than that of her colleagues because it comes from personal experience. The singer herself became a victim of domestic violence after she was attacked by ex-boyfriend and pop star Chris Brown in 2009. Since then, Rihanna has often taken revenge on abusive men in her music videos.
"Women should wear lingerie for themselves, damn it," the singer told the Vogue on the occasion of the launch of their Savage x Fenty line. "I can only hope that I will boost women's confidence and strength by showing lingerie in a different light. I want women to see their beauty."
The same applies to her cooperation with Puma, in which many pieces are gender neutral. "I always wanted to do what my brothers did," she explained Vogue . "Women feel strong when they can do the things that are only meant for men". Since Rihanna has built her image as an advocate for women's empowerment for years, it doesn't seem opportunistic for her products to be marketed as a tool for women to empower themselves.
"She's an empowered, beautiful, successful dark-skinned woman who isn't afraid to speak up," Jong concluded. "If you can buy a piece of this for $ 50, it's worth the money."
Imagesx: Fenty Beauty Facebook, Courtesy of Puma, Puma Facebook, Savage x Fenty Facebook
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