People Are Questioning Whether Kylie Jenner Is Really the Youngest Self-Made Billionaire

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Kylie Jenner is back in the headlines today–although it’s thankfully not because of the Travis Scott/Jordyn Woods cheating scandals.

Forbes just announced that Kylie is the world’s youngest-ever self-made billionaire. But is that really accurate?

Kylie Jenner
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Kylie’s Cosmetics Empire

Kylie signed an exclusive deal with Ulta to distribute her lip kits, a makeup duo with a liner and matte liquid lipstick. They’d already proven to be successful online, but with brick-and-mortar distribution, Kylie was able to move almost $55 million worth of merchandise in just 6 weeks!

The cosmetics company belongs to 21-year-old Kylie alone. And with her fortune conservatively estimated to be $1 billion, she’s officially the youngest person ever to be a self-made billionaire. (The previous record holder was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who hit that milestone at 23.)

What Does “Self-Made” Mean?

However, some people are questioning whether Kylie really deserves the accolades. After all, Kylie was born into a famous, wealthy family. She didn’t exactly need to work her way up from nothing.

Forbes clarified that by “self-made,” they mean someone who inherited their entire fortune. Kylie did build her cosmetics company, so the argument that it wouldn’t have been successful without her family’s brand is not relevant, according to Forbes.

The magazine developed a system in 2014 to rank the self-made-ness of their honorees. They consider someone who inherited a fortune to be a 1 on the scale, while Oprah Winfrey (who did not have money growing up and experienced “substantial hardships”) to be a 10.

On that scale, Kylie is a 7.

Is Kylie a Great Businesswoman or Just Born Lucky?

Forbes praised Kylie for her savvy business sense. Her company has incredibly low expenses, compared to its revenue. She employees a total of 12 people–5 of them part-time–and outsources the manufacturing to a third-party company. Online merchant Shopify handles sales and shipping, while Kris Jenner does the books and manages public relations.

The products practically market themselves, with Instagram influencers falling over themselves to try out the latest shapes of lipstick. All Kylie has to do is post a selfie, and the rest of her business essentially takes care of itself.

When you put it that way, it’s hard not to feel a grudging respect for Kylie. Her business model capitalizes on cutting-edge methods of reaching customers and delivering products with as little overhead as possible.

Her famous family undoubtedly made her success possible, but they didn’t do the work for her. Khloe, Kendall, and Kourtney haven’t built billion-dollar companies. Even Kim’s own makeup line isn’t worth as much as Kylie Cosmetics.

You might not like it, but you can’t deny that Kylie deserves the title of youngest ever self-made billionaire.