Fashion and beauty moguls increase clout on Forbes list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women

July 11, 2018

by Yvette Thomas

Forbes has published its 2018 list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women, and what’s notable about this year’s list of 60 women is that four of the seven new entries on the list are entrepreneurs from the fashion and beauty industries: Anastasia Soare, Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian West and Huda Kuttan. The women eligible to be on the list are U.S. citizens who founded a company that is headquartered in the United States. All net-worth figures are estimated by Forbes, as of July 10, 2018.

Here’s a summary of the moguls from the fashion and beauty industries who made it onto the list:

The Billionaire Moguls

Doris Fisher, co-founder of Gap Inc., is ranked at No. 8, and has an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion. Gap Inc. is the parent company of such fashion retailers as Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Intermix, Weddington Way and Athleta. Although Gap Inc. has been hit hard in recent months with closures of many of its stores, don’t expect Fisher to lose her billionaire status anytime soon.

Tied at No. 13, with an estimated worth of $1.5 billion each, are Forever 21 co-founder Jin Sook Chang and Proactiv co-founders Kathy Fields and Katie Rodan. Forever 21 has successfully extended its youth-oriented fashion brand with the launch of lower-priced retailer F21 Red and the beauty retailer Riley Rose. Proactiv’s winning subscription-based business model, boosted by celebrity endorsements of the company’s skin-care products, has made Proactiv the leading mail-order service for non-prescription acne treatment.

Spanx founder Sara Blakely is No. 21 on the list, with an estimated net worth of $1 billion, thanks to her patented invention that changed the way undergarments can shape a body.  Also tied at No. 21, with an estimated net worth of $1 billion each, are Alex & Ani founder Carolyn Rafaelian (who has a majority stake in the accessories company) and Anastasia Soare, who built a cosmetics empire with her Anastasia Beverly Hills brand.

The Veteran Millionaire Moguls 

Most of the women on the list have companies that are more than 10 years old. Some have literally made their fortunes by their names, since their names are the same as their companies. They include fashion designer Tory Burch (No. 29 on the list, with an estimated net worth of $800 million); fashion designer Vera Wang (No. 34,  net worth of $630 million); jewelry designer Kendra Scott (No. 40, net worth of $500 million); and fashion designer Donna Karan (No. 43, net worth of $470 million).

The Upstart Millionaire Moguls

Fashion and beauty moguls on the list who have companies that are less than 10 years old owe most of their marketing success to TV and social media. With the help of mother/manager Kris Jenner,  Kylie Jenner (No. 27 on the list, with an estimated net worth of $900 million) parlayed her reality TV fame and social-media savvy into the Kylie Cosmetics company, which was founded in 2016. Kylie’s half-sister and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” co-star Kim Kardashian West (No. 54, net worth of $350 million) has made most of her fortune from reality TV and licensing her name to video games, but Kardashian West’s fashion/beauty ventures have contributed significantly to her wealth. KKW Beauty, the cosmetics line that Kardashian West launched in 2017, had $100 million in sales in its first year, according to Forbes.

Huda Kuttan (No. 37,  net worth of $550 million), who started off as a makeup artist, became a beauty blogger in 2010, and then used that Internet notoriety to launch the Huda Beauty cosmetics company, which she co-founded with her sisters in 2013. Jamie Kern Lima (No. 44, net worth of $440 million) used to be a TV reporter, but transitioned into the beauty industry by founding It Cosmetics in 2010, when she first began selling the company’s products on QVC. In 2016, she sold the company to L’Oréal for $1.2 billion, while still retaining leadership of It Cosmetics, making her the first female CEO of a L’Oréal-owned company

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