A Quick History of the Failed Kardashian Beauty Brand and Why Nobody Talks About It

A Quick History of the Failed Kardashian Beauty Brand and Why Nobody Talks About It

07.12.2021 Off By manager_1

selective focus photography of eyeshadow palette

Although it may seem difficult to remember a simpler time, when the Kardashians weren’t the well-respected global influencers that they are today, but were just regular celebrities who hawked products through licensing deals, it is possible.

Think back to the years 2011-2015. “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” was already on the air for years and the Kardashian sisters were regular, controversial, fixtures on covers and in the tabloids. Kris Jenner was already leveraging the snowballing popularity of her daughters and turning it into a somewhat of an empire, although not yet. It was actually the three sisters – Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe who were considered a marketable, burgeoning brand back in those days. It’s unlikely that you would see one of them on a magazine cover. They were a package deal, a trio of reality TV stars with tanned skin who seemed perfectly suited to continue in the same lane.

It’s unlikely that anyone in the beauty business could have predicted that Kim would sell $10 million worth perfume in one day. Or that Kylie Jenner would become a global celebrity. Before the Kardashian-Jenner women became the beauty-industry-disrupting mega-forces they’re regarded as today, there were many other Kardashian beauty brands, products and tools — and not all of them were a hit.

Khroma Beauty was a makeup line by Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney launched in 2012. It only lasted one year in retail stores. After multiple lawsuits were filed against the brand for copyright infringement, it was taken off shelves. A lawsuit was first threatened by Chroma Beauty, a Los Angeles-based beauty business, then Florida-headquartered company Kroma Beauty stepped in with their own suit for copyright infringement, seeking $10 million in damages for “theft” of its brand name.

A U.S. District Court judge issued a preliminary order against Khroma Beauty and Florida’s Kroma Makeup in March 2013. Boldface, the licensing firm that managed Khroma Beauty appealed the decision. However, the injunction was stayed on appeal and Khroma Beauty was officially renamed as Kardashian Beauty.

An ex-employee of the Kardashian-Jenners, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that the name of Khroma Beauty was the most difficult problem. However, another major challenge for the brand was the involvement of the sisters. This was a licensing deal, Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty are directly from Kim and Kylie. The Kardashians weren’t as involved in this project than they are with their current brands. Khroma wouldn’t have been a success even without the lawsuits. “I think Khroma’s eventual folding into Kardashian Beauty, which was what Khroma became, is a clear indication of that.”

It seemed for a while that Kardashian Beauty was on the verge of becoming a big hit. According to the source, “It was an accessible drugstore brand.” “Serious beauty enthusiasts weren’t interested, and even though some products had cult-like followings. Kardashian Beauty didn’t have the industry respect Kylie Cosmetics or KKW have now.”

Some successes were achieved: Kim’s popularity and sales of fake lashes from the brands soared when she married Kanye West. One estimate says that sales of the exact pair Kim wore down her aisle shot up by 48 percent within the first few days after the nuptials. Kardashian Beauty launched a line of black oil-based hair products in 2015 that included a shampoo, conditioner and shimmery oil spray. These products received rave reviews from beauty editors, and gained a large following. The 3-in-1 hairstyling iron by Kardashian Beauty was also awarded the Allure Best of Beauty Award.

“People are becoming their own experts and they’re driving different businesses, like the contour business,” said Allure Founding Editor (and then-Editor-in-Chief) Linda Wells at an event celebrating the Best of Beauty Awards. To anyone in the industry that’s not familiar with the topic, it seems outlandish. But the Kardashians and their followers turned that into a huge phenomenon. This quote speaks volumes about 2018’s perspective. Kardashian Beauty also faced its fair share of challenges.

Hillair Capital Management brought a civil suit against Khloe, Kourtney, and Kim in 2016. After Boldface, the business partner of Boldface, started to fail, the firm claimed that it invested $10 million in Kardashian Beauty. Boldface was bought by Hillair, but the sisters weren’t happy with the terms and stopped publicizing the brand.

Hillair filed suit against the sisters to recover the $10 million and the $180 million that the brand was expected to make if they were promoting it. This is because influencer brands are worth nothing if they don’t use their public platforms. (Estee Lauder might have gained from looking back at the example before it selected Kendall Jenner to be its face for its now-defunct, millennial-targeted The Estee Edit. She didn’t need to use her social media promotional muscles.)

According to the source, Kardashian, Kim, and Khloe were not invested in Kardashian Beauty personally and were putting their name on a lot products at the time — this was around Macy’s’s Kardashian clothing and shoe lines, as well.” The family was essentially a package deal. With the advent of Instagram and social media influencers I believe the sisters saw the potential for individual projects. Although they each had their own personalities and quirks, social media allowed them to leverage those personalities to reach a wider audience. They were able to build their personal brands beyond the TV audience.”

The family’s status started to shift around the same time as Kim and Kanye’s wedding, when Kendall began her modeling career and Kim and Kanye gained fashion-world attention. They were accepted by the high fashion community. According to the source, “I believe that this was the turning point in the success of their individual projects.” “The fact that Kendall was on Vogue’s runway and Kim was on Vogue’s cover gave serious beauty lovers permission to embrace these products lines.”

Kylie Cosmetics was launched in 2016 and broke Google Analytics. It showed the Kardashian sisters, as well as the entire industry, what a successful, disruptive, and smash-hit beauty brand can look like. The family was able to make things work with Kylie’s first venture into business. Kylie was able to retain full creative control of her brand and its earnings. By partnering with Seed Beauty, Kylie also created a business model that allowed her company to produce low-cost products in a much shorter time.

According to the source, “The Kardashian-Jenners have a reason they are wealthy: They are very conscious of where and how much money they spend.” “I don’t know what their profit margins are, but I can tell you that they are very smart businesswomen when pricing products and maximizing profits. The revolutionary power of Kylie Cosmetics was derived from their authenticity as extensions of Kylie, the woman. Its sense of urgency and immediateness that plays into the culture obsession with “drops”. Direct marketing via social media is also possible.

It was Kylie’s success as a beauty entrepreneur that inspired Kim to take on the role of a brand ambassador in this category. According to an anonymous source, there is healthy competition among the sisters, particularly Kim and Kylie. “Kim has been the most successful individual sister and Kylie’s success may threaten that. Although there is a lot love between the sisters, and competition is healthy, I think Kylie Cosmetics would not exist today.”

Kim spoke with journalists in November to highlight that she had been a beauty entrepreneur long before Kylie. She also pointed out that her business was different from Kylie’s. “I love that Kylie started it with makeup, and that I was the first to do that for fragrance. It’s a new model, with so many possibilities. But it’s amazing when it’s possible to really go head-to-head with major brands just doing it their own way.” She said that they “definitely discuss[es] the business and we talk about our approaches and what we love to do.”

“The success stories of Kylie Cosmetics, KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics show that the involvement of the sisters is essential to any project’s success,” says the anonymous source. According to an anonymous source, Kourtney and Kim were not involved in Kardashian Beauty, Kardashian Collection’s clothing line or in any of their official apps. All businesses suffered the consequences. It’s evident that when a Kardashian/Jenner sibling is passionately involved in a project, such as Kylie Cosmetics or Good American, the business thrives. The consumer is savvy. They can tell when something is coming from the sisters and when it is a marketing ploy.

Khroma Beauty and Kardashian Beauty had to fail in order for Kylie Cosmetics or KKW Beauty to succeed. This may be an exaggeration. Did the Jenner-Kardashian team learn anything from their legal experiences and legal problems working with outside licensing companies? Absolutely. Did they use their learnings to create the industry-leading companies we now know? All indications point to hell. Khroma Beauty continues to exist, even though very few people remember it ever existed. Nobody has ever accused the Kardashians that they are incapable of reinventing their lives.