From Reality TV Royalty to Billion-Dollar Businesses: How the Kardashians Built Their Empire

There are few families that are more visible in the public eye than the Kardashians. From reality TV royalty to makeup moguls, their brands have made them some of the most recognizable faces in the world and turned them into household names, especially with younger generations. It all started with Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe Kardashian’s show on E! Network called Keeping Up With the Kardashians , which documented what it was like to grow up as part of this famous family.

The Kardashian Group of Companies

In 2007, Kim Kardashian became a household name when she began starring in her own reality television show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. In that same year, Kim and her family launched their own clothing line, DASH. As of 2017, DASH is valued at $14 million. By 2010, Kim Kardashian had extended her business ventures to cosmetics with her brand KKW Beauty. Today she has over 25 million Instagram followers who tune in for makeup tutorials and fashion advice.
In 2012, Khloe and Kourtney created an app called Sugar, which has since been deleted from Apple’s App Store. In 2015, they debuted a spinoff of their popular game called Dash & Dot–a follow up to the original game that was released two years earlier. Kylie Jenner also got into business by launching Kylie Cosmetics in 2016; as of December 2017, it has sold nearly $630 million worth of makeup. Kim’s company KKW Beauty made history by becoming one of the most successful beauty brands ever released on Snapchat just four months after its debut; today it boasts over 4 million followers on Instagram and a revenue exceeding $1 billion dollars!

Keeping Up With the Kardashians

The success of Keeping Up With The Kardashians has made for a very interesting story. For one thing, it’s hard to believe that a show about rich and famous people being filmed by other rich and famous people would be so successful with audiences, but KUWTK has had the most successful first seven seasons of any reality show on television. And its popularity shows no sign of slowing down. But there’s more than just drama, tears and laughs happening on this show—the Kardashian empire is built on more than just an entertaining show. It started with Kim Kardashian getting paid $20,000 to share her entire wedding via social media and progressed from there. Kylie Jenner (Kim’s half-sister) has now become a highly sought after model at 16 years old after her make up company sold out in minutes when she released it last year; Khloe Kardashian (Kim’s older sister) runs her own clothing line which debuted at Target last year; Kendall Jenner (Khloe’s younger sister) is already making $4 million per day as the face of Estée Lauder cosmetics; and Kylie’s youngest sister, Stormi, who was born February 1st of this year, will likely have several deals before she even turns 1.

Kourtney and Kim Take New York

In 2009, Kourtney and Kim went on a mission to New York City with their mother Kris Jenner. After being turned down by multiple publishing houses, they self-published their book Kardashian Konfidential on Amazon. A year later in 2010, they brought out their own brand of makeup called Kardashian Beauty. By 2011, they had released their first fragrance DASH Fragrance and eventually expanded into clothing and jewelry lines. In 2012, after moving back home to Los Angeles from New York and filming the reality show Kourtney & Kim Take Miami, they opened a high end clothing boutique Dash which was later followed by Dash Boutique and Dash Denim. In 2013, they debuted a new show entitled Khloe and Lamar which was loosely based on their lives as newlyweds living in L.A., but only lasted for two seasons due to low ratings. The following year, Kim married Kanye West at the Forte di Belvedere overlooking Florence, Italy where she wore her now famous cream dress made by designer Giorgio Armani worth an estimated $11 million. The wedding cost $10 million just for catering alone according to TMZ! They also debuted another reality series entitled Keeping Up With The Kardashians which is still running today!

Khloe & Lamar

Khloe Kardashian and her now husband, Lamar Odom, met in 2004. Even though they didn’t marry until after their reality show aired, Khloe knew right away that she wanted to spend her life with him. He made me feel so important and special, she says. I had never felt like that before. After a year of dating, Khloe’s father gave them his blessing to marry on television. But a few months after the wedding, Lamar was arrested for DUI and drug possession. Khloe took it upon herself to stand by her man and save their marriage. They’ve been together ever since and even have two children together. In 2011, the family faced yet another struggle when Lamar was found unconscious at a Nevada brothel. It is thought he had overdosed on cocaine and other drugs while partying with an escort service that night. Khloe couldn’t believe this was happening again! She tried to protect him from himself but soon realized there would be no stopping Lamar from using drugs if he really wanted too.

The Many Kardashian Product Lines

This year, the Kardashians are projected to take in $360 million in retail sales, according to Forbes. The family’s empire includes everything from apparel lines with sister Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner, a book series with Kim Kardashian West and Kourtney Kardashian, and numerous fragrance deals. And they’re all manufactured by one company: Dash Hudson Inc.
Dash Hudson was founded by Kris Jenner back in 2012 with Kim Kardashian West as her first client. In an interview with Forbes earlier this year, Mrs. Kardashian revealed that she doesn’t own any stake in Dash Hudson but is compensated for her work with them on a project basis. I get paid very well, she said. It’s very lucrative. For example, Mrs. Kardashian received $25 million upfront plus 20% of future earnings when she agreed to launch a beauty line with the company back in 2014. But it isn’t just about cash flow–the reality star has also noted that having her name associated with products such as My Little Pony dolls and PacSun clothing has given her children extra financial security in their lives.

A Timeline of Major Events

2003 – The first season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians premieres on E!
2007 – Kim debuts a clothing line at New York Fashion Week
2008 – Kourtney and Kim open their first DASH store in Los Angeles
2010 – Khloe, Kourtney and Kim open a second DASH store in Miami
2012 – The Kardashian sisters launch their own mobile game, Dash or Snapshot
2016 – Kylie Jenner creates her own collection for PacSun’s Fall 2016 line 2017 – Kendall Jenner co-founded an athleisure company, Reformation
2018 – Kendall announced she is launching a fashion label called JustKendall. I’m super excited because it has always been my dream to have my own line, she told People. And now I can say that I am doing it. What made the Kardashians famous in the first place? They made it into reality TV royalty by being themselves while documenting every moment of their lives on camera. And they’ve never looked back since.

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