Why does Rihanna's fashion outsell other celebrity collections?

Friday, June 29 2018

Why does Rihanna's fashion outsell other celebrity collections?

Fenty x Puma Creeper, by Rihanna, named 2016 shoe of the year
Her lingerie line, Savage x Fenty, launched in May in partnership with Techstyle Fashion Group, had customers waiting hours in line to be able to access the online store 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, recorded over 72 million dollars in sales in its first month. Once again, shoppers are more eager to spend money on Rihanna’s makeup line than on products by other celebrities venturing in the beauty industry, such as tattoo artist and TV personality Kat von D, who has a makeup line in partnership with Sephora since 2008; and the sisters Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, who converted their reality TV fame into two multi-million-dollar beauty brands. Fenty Beauty customers spend five times more than the average online cosmetics buyer, according to research by data platform Slice Intelligence. “Fenty buyers spend 438 US dollars a year on makeup. The Kat Von D shopper base spends 365 US dollars per year in the cosmetic category; Kim Kardashian buyers spend 317 US dollars, and Kylie Jenner buyers spend roughly 198 US dollar per year in the category”, reads the report.
What is it about Rihanna that makes her brands and brand endorsements so attractive? Why are consumers more inclined to buy products bearing her name than products by other celebrities? To find out, FashionUnited spoke with Joanne Yulan Jong, founder of the strategic brand consultancy firm Yulan Creative, and author of the book “The Fashion Switch: the new rules of the fashion business”. Unique selling point #1: Rihanna is relatable
“All brands today are struggling with relevance in the market. The only thing that is unique about your brand is your story. You can make a distinct product, but at the end of the day, it’s the story that sells. Rihanna is the most marketable choice for a brand endorsement because she’s got that story. She is this beautiful, successful woman from Barbados. Her ethnicity plays a role, too”, says Jong.
However, Rihanna is not the only beautiful and successful woman of color out there. Singer Beyoncé, who launched her fashion line Ivy Park in 2016, also fits that profile. However, Ivy Park doesn’t seem to get the same buzz as Fenty x Puma and Savage x Fenty do. Why? According to Jong, the difference is that Rihanna has managed to stay relatable. “There’s still room for a personal connection with Rihanna. She allows for people to project themselves onto her. When a celebrity is too strong, too powerful, they are seen solely as an icon”, she explains.
One cannot help but wonder if there are any upcoming pop stars with the same sales potential as the singer from Barbados. Jong bets on Ariana Grande, saying she exerts a similar power over a younger age group. The branding expert forecasts Grande to be “the next Rihanna” in terms of fashion collaborations and brand awareness. Unique selling point #2: it’s not only about Rihanna
It is to be expected that products bearing Rihanna’s name perform well in sales, considering the singer is a multi-million album seller with 62.5 million Instagram followers, having ranked 7th on Forbes’ list of highest-paid women in music in 2017. However, while most fashion and beauty products endorsed or co-designed by celebrities rely solely on the celebrity’s fame to generate sales, Rihanna has smartly shifted the focus from herself to the customer. She is not only targeting the fans who want to emulate her style. Instead, her collections are branded as having something for everyone .
Savage x Fenty, for example, offers 90 pieces of lingerie and sleepwear in seven nude shades. Bra sizes range from 32A to 44DD, while panties go from size XS to XXXL. The brand’s website features models of different sizes and skin tones, cellulitis and stretch marks included, allowing customers to better visualize what the pieces will look like on their bodies. Her beauty line follows a similar strategy: it includes 40 shades of foundation.
However, Rihanna’s is not the first nor the only plus size lingerie line on the market, neither is it the first one to acknowledge that the concept of “nude” should not be restricted to beige: