The Stepping Stones of Success that Fueled the Kardashian Empire


“Sluts, Skanks, Fake, Drama-filled, Douches, Bitches, Plastic, Ungrateful, Spoiled…”

These are all words [present in the comments section] on every single one of the Kardashians’ Instagram pages–from the matriarch of the family, Kris Jenner, to the youngest billionaire and sister, Kylie Jenner.

¨The Royal Family of America,¨ according to one anonymous source. Their wealth, looks and businesses have catapulted them into the limelight from the time they could hold a golden spoon to their mouths until now. But where are we as a society now, and more importantly where are they present day and what led them here? 

I reached out to Becca Onken, a teacher at Baraboo High School in Wisconsin, who is a passionate fan of the Kardashians. She takes an abnormal approach to the Kardashians. She does not view them as fake figures on Instagram and on TV; she views them as real humans who make mistakes and who go through the same problems as you and I, such as fighting with our families and friends. It’s important that we look at the Kardashian through a lens in which they are real, have real emotions, weaknesses, and strengths. 

¨Power. Success. Hustle. The most extraordinary immigration success story.¨ ¨Four generations later, their descendants have amassed an empire. Starting from nothing and then having your children, and their children’s children’s wealth and status grow is the stereotypical American dream,” Onken remarks. ¨Most people only know them from the show or from the scandals that plagued Kim and Khloe in their younger years. However, the family members have many successful companies and do use their influence for good.¨ We see this in Kim’s prison reform work and Kourtney’s Armenian genocide awareness work with her very popular lifestyle brand Poosh. 

While the Kardashians work hard, Kris Jenner works harder. The self-proclaimed ¨momager¨ of the six famous sisters knew her way around the business industry from a young age. Marrying 

infamous Robert Kardashian (best known for being good friends with accused murderer OJ Simpson) was just a stepping stone for Kris to achieve her bigger goal, financial success for her family, and world-renowned fame. 

Kris worked her way up from the bottom to the top. A childhood friend whose mother was a manager for multiple high-profile celebrities. Seeing how much power and responsibility this woman had made Kris even hungrier for success than ever. She knew what people of the early 2000s wanted to see. The public was hungry for any inner look at the life of the rich and famous, and Kris Jenner knew how to market her ¨picture perfect¨ family to fit those parameters.

The Kardashians are known for the massive amounts of money they make. But what made it so easy for them to make businesses without any major consequences? This is because the Kardashian Klan had the generational wealth to back them up. Robert Kardashian and his family had been in California for four generations at that point and were D-list celebrities. They had the money to promote these new businesses without the constant fear of failure that many other young entrepreneurs have to endure. They had the safety net of privilege, money, and supportive parents that could pick them right up again and tell them to start anew. 

The safety net the three oldest Kardashian sisters have is abundantly clear in their failed prospect of a fashion store called Dash, located in Miami. It was open for a few years until it ultimately closed down due to the business of the sister’s schedules and the more successful business they were now venturing in.

While Kourtney went for a lifestyle brand and Kim went for makeup, Khloe took what she learned from the Dash Miami stores and took that newfound knowledge to promote and create her now wildly successful denim brand Good American. With that newfound information and their generational wealth that all the sisters, and inherited learned from her mistakes and now Good American is worth 19 million dollars. The company made 1 million dollars on the brand’s very first day of sales.

Kourtney´s lifestyle brand Poosh, while the least successful of her sisters, is still widely successful within her target market of upper to middle-aged white women who care about which serums to use or ¨why you should try dry January.¨ Which are both titles of articles on her website.  Her brand’s net worth is within the 15-16 million-dollar mark.

Kim Kardashian, best known as being the most well-known Kardashian/Jenner sister, has three widely successful brands all worth over 5 million dollars. Her three brands are Skims which is a shapewear brand, Kim Kardashian Fragrance, and the first brand she created, Kim Kardashian Beauty. She has collaborated with every single one of her sisters in one way or another throughout her business history whether it be a fragrance or a Khloe Kardashian-themed makeup up palette. 

Kendall Jenner may not be as renowned in the business world as her sisters, but she is beginning to tip her feet into the pond a bit. In 2021 she created and launched her tequila brand 818 which sold out immediately; it made her 3.2 million dollars on the day of its launch. Kendall’s announcement didn’t come without some controversy. Many pointed out the cultural appropriation which was present in her launch video of her in a field helping harvest an agave plant from which tequila is made. Jenner was criticized for appropriating Mexican culture and failing to give credit to the local agave farmers at which her promotional videos were shot. Kendal nor her management has never commented on this and it does not look like they are planning to.

Kylie Jenner, easily the most successful of the sisters in the business world, has a multitude of companies including everything from baby products to swimsuits. Kylie Cosmetics is one of her biggest brands and has a net worth of 1.2 billion dollars since it was started in 2016. Her other popular brands include Kylie Skin, Kylie Swim, Kylie Babie, and her multiple collaborations with all of her sisters. People who say that Kylie Jenner has been given everything must not forget that she was a billionaire by the time she was 21.  She must have a pretty successful business model and a good concept of the industry to be that successful at such a young age.

The Kardashian sisters worked their way through the industry with such ease and speed that they took the whole world by storm. However, what makes their newer businesses so successful compared to their flop brands like Kardashian Kard and their diet pill venture is that they didn’t have the same amount of notoriety as they do now. They didn’t have the millions of dedicated fans who follow their every move now, and they didn’t have the millions of dollars from social media posts in their pocket as a backup, as a safety net. 

In the Kardashian Klan, it all comes back to security and what keeps them safe and successful. That is what Kris wanted, and she passed that along to all of her children and her grandchildren. That dire need to succeed, the need to know deep down that no matter what happens everything will be fine and everything and everyone around them will be safe is vital to the survival of the Kardashian Family, their legacy, and how they will leave their mark on the world.