There’s a lot tea to share on this subject, so boil the kettle, grab a cuppa and find out why there’s so much shade on Kylie Cosmetics compared to the praise and professionalism of Rhianna’s Fenty Beauty. As someone who ran a small line for a few years, as well as being the art director of a multinational company, and still do packaging and design for cosmetics companies, I think I am qualified to comment on this subject. I have tried to cut Kylie Cosmetic some slack, but her brand just seems disorganised and a vehicle for self promotion.
Fenty on the other hand doesn’t even use Rhianna’s name, has great quality control, excellent customer service and the products are high end and 100% cruelty-free. Fenty also doesn’t sell in China, which requires that the brand carry out animal testing not invitro testing (in a test tube or lab) testing, so no brand selling or made in China is cruelty-free.
To start any company requires finding and filling a niche, marketing and setting up inventory and infrastructure to sell the products, which also included quality control and great customer service. A lot of people see the mark up on makeup and skincare and think it’s a gold mine, but it isn’t. A start up makeup brand (and existing makeup brand for that matter) has to give away a huge amount of products to influencers and magazines.
There is also the issue of email, live chat and telephone customer service team, who have the authroist to solve problems. They need scripts for every eventuality, including in Kylie Cosmetics case, packaging arriving without the product.
That brings me to the fact that a cosmetics company however large or small also needs a quality control system to ensure what the customer pays for is why they get and and ensure that the manufacturer is performing to standard.
With the huge turnover of Kylie Cosmetics I cannot see why these systems are not effectively in place. It’s either ignorance or greed, or a little of both. In any case, it’s not about the customer, it’s all about what Kylie wants.
Kylie Cosmetics Narcissism v’s Fenty’s Altruism
A company needs an ethos that sum up the brand’s philosophy. I believe that Kylie designs her cosmetics by selecting a stock formula and colour range for herself, and hopes you will like it too. “I made this the perfect palette for me” – Kylie Jenner. (Ironically it is a dead ringer for Youtube superstar Shaanxo – see below).
Fenty is designed to include all skin tones and to make all women feel beautiful, regardless of skin tone: “Designed by Rhianna to look good on everyone” – spokesperson for Fenty. “I want women of all colours and races to feel included” – Rhianna
Kylie Cosmetics has copped some serious criticism regarding QC and customer service
Quality control is vital for the production of a consistent line and Kylie cosmetics have consistently complained that their products are missing (i.e. the tube was empty or the palettes pan was missing or there is no product in the pencils).
Being an online brand means you need to up your online customer service game. You need a call centre and live chat facility. You need to solve problems immediately. Kylie Cosmetics has an unprecedented number of complaints to the Better Business Bureau with 60% of all reviews being negative.
According to USA today:
Kylie Jenner said in response to an appalling “F” rating with the BBB originally: “I’m sick and tired of people coming for my business…I love everything about Kylie Cosmetics and I will do anything in my power to protect and improve it every day and make you guys happy… I love you and apologize to anyone who felt the urge to complain and didn’t receive the service they deserve.” I note now that she has worked with the BBB to improve her customer service and is now a B+.
According to Kylie Cosmetics the reason for the product missing from palettes and pencils, the BBB claims:
“The company replied that because their product is shipped in highly recognizable packaging, they feel that packages are being vandalized or stolen. The company also indicated that they were taking steps to change their packaging so that it is less recognizable.” the website states. My question would be when just steal a palette or the core of a liner? No, IMO this is the manufacturer rushing and not using quality control measures at the point of filling. I’m calling BS on this.
It seems that Kylie is using a factory that produces budget cosmetics, such as Color Pop and is not employing the right people with experience in new product development, or just not taking all precautions to check quality or brand consistency. Anecdotally, her company doesn’t appear to care about the consumer or follow up with consumer complaints and refunds and exchanges. What she doesn’t appear to have done is spent time creating the infrastucture needed to ensure quality control.
The Kylie Cosmetics range seems to ad hoc, short term and not well executed, where as Fenty has really strong, original branding, rather that Kylie who copies someone’s Instagram post for her branding. Rhianna’s Fenty took years to create, Kylie’s took a few months it would seem. That’s the difference IMHO.
Fenty has had rave reviews and is showing its popularity via sales
Women of all skin tones have raved about the quality and shade selection of Fenty. Beauty gurus and bloggers who have tried the range of in love with it, and there have been little to no known QC issues.
According to Tribe Dynamics for the month of September, Fenty sold about $72 million as opposed to Kylie Cosmetics who was down at about $23 million. Kylie cosmetics growth has almost stalled with Fenty taking the wind out of the Kylie Cosmetics sails.
Fenty growth is exponential with Kylie’s stalling
Imitation versus Innovation
Kylie gets her inspiration from Instagram but doesn’t have the creativity to back it up and evilve the idea. She needs a creative director who really understands the industry. I feel she uses stock formulation private label as opposed to creating a new product. Kylie needs a stronger team to resurrect her brand from the negative publicity.
Fenty are releasing original product after original product, that are high performance original formulations. Fenty have done quality control, have retail (Sephora) and e-commerce and they have given the public what they need, not what Rhianna wants. Kendo (who produce Kat Von D) are the powerhouse behind Fenty, so Rhaianna has been very clever to partner up with a very successful and experienced team, and it shows. I have not seen a single product that resembles Fenty’s packaging or formulation. The tester stand is to die for.
Cruelty-free v’s the use of “real” fur/hair in Kylie’s Brushes.
Again we see Kylie cosmetics putting her needs before those of others, in this case using fur for her “luxury” brushes instead of a high quality synthetic fibre.
Fenty Beauty is 100% cruelty-free.
Kylie Cosmetics just release a “luxury line” of “real” brushes, stating that that fur is better than synthetics. Her range uses fur in the massively overpriced $360 brush set, which is encased in a cheap silver plastic brush case. If Kylie really wanted luxury the case would be high quality leather.
That’s it for me today, I hope this offered an insight into the ethos of 2 of the top 5 celebrity makeup lines. I can tell you that I’ll be getting Fenty any day over Kylie. I just think Kylie is riding a wave of celebrity, but hasn’t produced products that are high enough quality to bolster her when her celebrity is not enough to keep the she or her advisers see on the internet. The world is too small to copy other people’s ideas or produce a substandard product with little to no quality control.