Celebrities have been capitalizing on their fame to launch successful businesses for decades. The multi-million-dollar empires of Oprah Winfrey (Harpo Productions), Robert De Niro (Nobu Hospitality), and Martha Stewart (Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia) often comes to mind.
The rise of social media has made it possible for more celebrities—whether on the big screen or TV, on stage, or on YouTube—to start their own businesses. With more than one billion people worldwide now using social media, it’s no surprise that celebrity-led eCommerce brands have become a lucrative business model for many entrepreneurs.
But what strategies do celebrities use to maximize their eCommerce business success? In this article, we explore the business strategies behind some of the most successful celebrity-owned eCommerce businesses and how they leverage their fame to create sustainable ventures.
Fabletics by Kate Hudson
One of the most successful eCommerce brands is Fabletics by Kate Hudson.
Fabletics’s business model consists of a monthly subscription service for a specific niche—athleisure wear. Customers can purchase individual items and join their VIP membership program starting at $49.95 a month. Subscribers receive a box of specially curated yoga and athletic gear based on their individual needs.
To date, Kate’s star power has helped pull in over 1.4 million subscribers and helped Fabletics bring in over $250 million in revenue annually.
Much of their growth is attributed to direct-response advertising, which distributes highly targeted ads with specific calls to action (CTAs).
For example, they run TV and YouTube ads for their premium performance leggings. The call to action was to go to the website and save. The CTA was to log onto the Fabletics website to get discounts and special offers.
Key Takeaway: Find one or two variables that will help you stand out in your niche. Fabletics’ focus was on athleisure, specifically yoga wear. Find qualities that make your brand unique and memorable—whether it’s quality, convenience, affordability, or customer service.
Kylie Cosmetics by Kylie Jenner
Years before bankruptcy rumors and tax fraud accusations dampened her company’s reputation, Kylie Jenner took over the beauty industry with her makeup brand Kylie Cosmetics.
She began her foray into the beauty industry in 2015 by selling kits that include lipstick and matching lip liner. The kits were hugely successful, with the first release selling out almost immediately. Sales moved to Shopify’s eCommerce platform in December 2015, just one month after the lip kits were launched.
Kylie Cosmetics has earned over $630 million in revenue in just two years since this upgrade. This includes approximately $330 million in 2017.
Kylie’s social media influence has contributed significantly to the brand’s success. Her business strategy consists of almost constant Instagram and Snapchat posts showing her using her product and teasing new product updates.
What sets Kylie Cosmetics apart from its competitors is that the reality star-turned-businesswoman made her professional brand into a natural extension of her personal brand.
She promotes products to her 380 million followers on Instagram as well as models them for Kylie Cosmetics campaigns. She also capitalizes on the Kardashian fame by having her sisters feature Kylie Cosmetics on their social media and appear in campaigns.
Key Takeaway: Although you don’t need to have millions of followers as she does, make sure you’re posting on social media regularly and reminding your followers about what your eCommerce business has to offer. You want to pique their interest and pique their curiosity about what’s to come.
OVO Store by Drake
Drake is one of the most successful artists in the music industry today, and he has taken his career to the next level by launching an eCommerce store called October’s Very Own, also called the OVO Store.
The OVO Store is a subset of the much larger brand called OVO Sound, a record label based in Drake’s hometown of Toronto, Canada, that has helped launch the careers of several emerging artists.
OVO Sound has spawned several subsidiaries, including the following:
- OVO Fest: An annual concert in Toronto headlined by Drake and other A-list performers.
- OVO Sound Radio: Drake’s weekly radio show
- OVO Clothing: Sells high-quality clothing inspired by its Canadian roots. It hosts exclusive merchandise designed by Drake himself, as well as collaborations with other musicians and fashion designers.
The OVO brand is successful for reasons other than Drake’s name and social influence. Almost everything he does is related to Toronto — he has created a local community of fans who want to be associated with him and his brand.
More than any other artist before him, he has elevated Toronto to the global stage and made it fashionable to be Canadian. People who buy Drake’s products and follow his music and community on social media are the driving force behind the brand’s rapid growth.
Key Takeaway: The success of the OVO store demonstrates that you can start small and local. The key here is to build a relationship with your core audience. As customer loyalty grows, express gratitude to them so they can become advocates. Talk about your customers and let them know how much you appreciate them. They’ll be eager to share your product with their friends and family, and you’ll see steady growth.
From leveraging their brand to creating unique products tailored to their fans, these celebrities have been smart about their business strategies and have managed to make their mark in the eCommerce industry. Whether you’re a celebrity or not, these lessons are valuable ones that any aspiring entrepreneur can learn from.
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