Work, Work, Work: Business Lessons From Rihanna’s Growing Empire


Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Many know Robyn Rihanna Fenty simply as Rihanna. The Barbadian singer is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. This is due to earning 14 #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, paired with 31 Top 10 Hits on the same chart. A Grammy award-winning artist, Rihanna has eight under her belt and the inaugural Icon Award at the American Music Awards of 2013. As it can be seen, she is widely known for her musical talent, but her fashion brings along even more fans. Fans can never expect what Rihanna will wear next. From her revealing outfits to the extravagance her style brings, fans are always kept on their toes. This versatility has earned her the Fashion Icon Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. A woman of many talents, Rihanna has also proven herself as a successful businesswoman.

Rihanna has been a part of several business ventures. Through these ventures, she’s created products that consumers enjoy and built up her name in the business industry.

Take Fenty Beauty for example. Fenty Beauty has out-sold Kat Von D Beauty, both Kendo-owned, Sephora-exclusive brands (in Canada and the U.S.—Fenty is sold at Harvey Nicholls in the U.K.). However, when it comes to each brand’s customer spending habits, Fenty Beauty comes out on top. Slice Intelligence found that Fenty Beauty fans spend an average of $471 (USD) each year in the makeup category, compared to Kat Von D customers who spend $371, Kim Kardashian West customers who spend $278 and Kylie Cosmetics customers who spend $181. How much do customers who don’t buy makeup from any of those four brands spend? Only $71 per year.

And that’s not it. WWD reports that “as a group, sales from all four of the brands account for 29.2 percent of all online beauty revenue in the U.S., even though their collective customer base represents only 12 percent of shoppers.”

Whether you are an entrepreneur or just want to make more boss moves in whatever you do, there are several business lessons we can learn from Rihanna.


One of the first business ventures Rihanna took part in was body fragrances. In 2005, she had an endorsement deal with Secret Body Spray. This opportunity led her to create her own fragrance brand. She released her first fragrance, “Reb’I’Fluer” in January of 2011, and the success of this fragrance led her to release more successful fragrances, including male versions.

In 2014, Rihanna partnered with Puma in creating a women’s collection in apparel and footwear called “Fenty x Puma.” The following year she released her first sneaker and it sold out within hours of the launch. Over the next couple of years, she released a variety of other footwear, which were all successes as well. She was the first woman to win the Shoe of the Year Award. Going along with her sneaker trend, Rihanna partnered with Stance in creating a sock collection, “Fenty for Stance by Rihanna.” This collection is continuing to reach benchmarks.


Photo: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

A lesson that we can take away from these ventures is the importance of collaborations. Collaborating is working with another person or company in order to produce a new product. Rihanna’s collaborations with Secret Body Spray, PUMA and Stance gave her the opportunity to reach a more diverse population of consumers. A Forbes Leadership article informed readers that, “Collaboration is the keystone of leadership success.” The article encourages business professionals to exercise collaboration if possible, emphasizing that collaboration is not based on a liking of a person or company, but instead individuals coming together and focusing on the common goal.

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