The Kylie Empire
In a world where, for some people, following a celebrity’s steps becomes more important than one’s own life, the well-known Kardashian family has been thriving. Kylie Jenner, the youngest of the Kardashian sisters has released her own Cosmetics brand not so long ago. Kylie’s beauty brand focuses on selling top-notch lipsticks and eye shadows. But what is so different after all in her brand that makes it stand out from other competitors such as Maybelline and Cover Girl, for example? The secret reason behind Kylie Cosmetics’ prosperity is not the quality of the products itself, but, instead, the lifestyle that a Kylie Lip Kit provides to the people who own them. Customer’s who buy Kylie Cosmetics have inside them the desire of mimicking Kylie’s footsteps. Kylie’s Lip Kits, sold at 29 dollars, almost always sell out just a few minutes after they are released on Kylie Cosmetics’ website.
And, right after that they appear on secondary markets at a higher cost. The demand for it is so high that, moments after it becomes sold out in the official website, consumers can find it at eBay for a mark up of almost 10,000%. Similar products can be found at retail stores such as Walgreens or Wal-Mart for one-fourth of Kylie’s prices, but the simple fact of owning a Kylie Cosmetics’ product comes with a status, and this is the reason why consumers are willing to pay higher prices for a lipstick. “There are lots of substitutes if you want your lips to look a certain color, the problem is [that] people aren’t buying functionality, they are buying desirability” (qtd. in Forbes). Kylie’s consumers do not want just a lipstick; they want to build their identity as being similar to hers.
Buying Kylie Jenner’s lipsticks over some other comparable brands may also change the social class perception of its consumers. Kylie Jenner targets her lipsticks for upper middle class and above mainly because of the price, but nowadays it has become more difficult to determine a person’s social class for sure based on the products he or she owns. So, a consumer who wants to build up on her perception might save extra money for a luxurious product, but secretly save money on other aspects of her or his life. In addition, a product can determine if a consumer is seen by others as being rich or poor, classic or trendy, and so on. Furthermore, how much a consumer is willing to spend in a product tells a lot about how he or she wants to be seen in his or her societal circle. Even though there are several brands that offer the same exact product and provides identical quality, owning Kylie Cosmetics’ over the others make the consumer achieve a social distinction from other people who buy lipsticks from the similar brands such as Maybelline or Revlon. Thus, these consumers’ desire to show to their social circle that they have reached a certain status is what motivates them to spend a little more for brands like Kylie’s. Instead of building their own consumer identity, people usually tend to copy celebrity’s lifestyle in order to improve his or her standing in the society.
Would you buy a Kylie Lipstick just because of the status associated with the brand? Or would you find a generic and inexpensive similar product in the market? Let me know what you think.