Kim Kardashian has spent her career in front of the camera and on red carpets, but the beginnings of her company Skims are far less glamorous.
The reality star spent years looking for underwear that matched her skin tone, but most brands only sold products in one or two shades. She spent moments before important events exaggerating and trying to dye her own clothes darker with home remedies.
“I took my shapewear and dyed it with tea bags and coffee in the bath,” Kardashian, 42, said. Time magazine in a recent interview.
So she teamed up with business power couple Jens and Emma Grede create more shapewear options. They launched Skims in late 2019.
The company built the brand on inclusivity: It sells bras, underwear, dresses and more in 10 skin tones and a wide range of sizes. It also has an adaptive range for consumers with limited mobility.
While Skims is a commercial success, Kardashian is focusing less on logistics and more on creative and marketing tasks, she told Time.
She assists and often plays on photo shoots, approving fabrics and designs and estimates that she has tried over 7,000 products.
The company said Kardashian, who is Skim’s creative director, is the brand’s largest shareholder. Kardashian put some of her own money into the company, but told Time her only regret was not investing more.
Skims is arguably Kardashian’s most successful business venture. She has previously endorsed several cosmetic lines, a perfume, a jewelry collection and a mobile game to name a few. Most were profitable at one point, Time reported, but had no lasting impact.
“In the beginning, when I didn’t really understand where my career was going because I was just kind of winging it, I was doing licensing deals with a lot of different companies that would contradict each other, like a weight-loss cupcake brand… a weight-loss pill at the same time ,” Time said.
However, Skims helped Kardashian land on the Forbes billionaires list for the first time in 2021. She currently has a net worth of $1.2 billion, thanks in large part to Skims and her skincare line SKKN, formerly KKW Beauty, according to Forbes.
She also founded the private equity firm SKKY Partners with Jay Sammons, a former partner at the Carlyle Group investment firm, last fall.
The company’s latest valuation is $2 billion more than Kylie Cosmetics, which was sold by her sister Kylie Jenner. 51% of in 2020. One of the most famous shapewear companies, Spanx, was valued at $1.2 billion two years ago.
“Of course you have high hopes, but [Skims] it definitely surpassed anything I ever imagined,” Kardashian told Time. “I still have like impostor syndrome or whatever. But I think that’s part of what keeps me going.”
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