How The Original Beauty Influencer Became The World’s Richest Supermodel

Thanks to a 50% stake in skincare line Meaningful Beauty, Crawford is one in all America’s 100 wealthiest self-made ladies.
by Madeline Berg

Long earlier than influencers like Kylie Jenner and Jeffree Star had been slapping their names on beauty and skincare traces in an effort to monetize their social media followings, there was Cindy Crawford. Rather than shilling her product on Instagram or YouTube, you would discover the previous supermodel on home-shopping channels preaching the advantages of her skincare line, Meaningful Beauty, via infomercials. She had tens of millions of followers due to her profession as one of many authentic supermodels and, via tv, a platform to achieve them.

It proved a profitable system: Over the previous 17 years, Crawford, who owns 50% of Meaningful Beauty, has constructed a $400 million model that has carried out greater than $100 million in annual income for at the very least the previous ten years, in response to somebody accustomed to the corporate’s funds. Her fortune is price $225 million, Forbes estimates, due to her potential to excellent a direct-to-consumer magnificence mannequin that has since been repurposed by the likes of Jenner, Emily Weiss of Glossier and Rihanna.

In 2004, when Crawford based Meaningful Beauty, it was much less widespread for celebrities to have an possession stake within the manufacturers they had been linked to. Why take the danger when an endorsement deal—fast cash upfront and little dedication—was an choice? Crawford was accustomed to that world: She turned the face of Revlon in 1989 and signed with Pepsi in 1992. Between these offers and modeling contracts—she’s graced greater than 1,000 journal covers and walked in a whole bunch of runway reveals—she was making tens of millions. 
But these contracts might finish at any time: In 2000, Revlon parted methods with the then 34-year-old Crawford. At the time, it was reported that the model needed a youthful mannequin to draw youthful clientele, although Crawford has since disputed this. By beginning her personal line, and one centered round anti-aging merchandise that she would by no means be “too previous” to market, Crawford might management her profession.
“It was time for me to do my very own factor,” she mentioned in an e-mail to Forbes. “I needed to have pores and skin within the sport—no pun supposed. I beloved realizing that in success, I might profit.”
Using formulation developed along with her personal dermatologist, Dr. Jean-Louis Sebagh, and partnering with advertising and marketing agency Guthy-Renker, which owns the opposite 50% of Meaningful Beauty, Crawford launched the direct-to-consumer model. 

She hawked  the road via infomercials, following the identical playbook that Guthy-Renker used with acne-treatment Proactiv via spokespeople like Diddy and Britney Spears. 

“Twenty years in the past, that was not precisely aspirational,” says Greg Renker, cofounder of Guthy Renker. “She took a threat.”
She didn’t precisely see it that means: Being a supermodel, Crawford’s personal pores and skin was the product’s finest promoting level. And an infomercial would permit her to inform the story of her model in a means a web page in {a magazine} or a billboard in Times Square by no means might.
But it turned out she couldn’t promote it alone.
“This enterprise was a wrestle at first. We didn’t hit it out of the park from the start,” says Renker. “The solely actually magic system is willingness to maintain testing and attempting.”
So Crawford and Renker rolled up their sleeves, and started testing all the pieces from the music that performed to the visuals within the background to the traces being learn. They additionally started incorporating Dr. Sebagh within the infomercials, which turned out to be the lacking ingredient. 
“When we started to make a shift in our presentation to emphasise the expertise and knowledge and know-how of the physician, the patron put extra religion and belief in our product,” says Renker
Within 5 years, Meaningful Beauty was Guthy-Renker’s second-largest magnificence model, behind Proactiv.
Of course, the model’s technique has needed to change as social media has taken the place of conventional tv in relation to magnificence advertising and marketing—although Crawford continues to be utilizing the direct-to-consumer abilities she honed doing infomercials. Crawford now depends on each her private Instagram account (with 5.4 million followers_ and Meaningful Beauty’s (70,000 followers) to advertise her merchandise, together with Meaningful Beauty’s new haircare line, which launched in June. While she continues to be doing infomercials, merchandise are not launched on tv, and at the moment are accessible on Amazon and at Ulta shops, which shopper merchandise guide Shannon Coyne says is a necessity as a way to proceed progress.

With 17 years below her belt, Crawford has a leg up on youthful influencers, whose merchandise are usually pushed by tendencies and sometimes fall out of favor, whether or not as a result of fickle nature of the wonder trade or scandals surrounding the influencer. 
“If something, what I’ve realized is these celebrities, from a model perspective, have extra endurance than the influencers,” says Coyne, cofounder of Bluestock Advisors. 
And skincare is hotter than ever: Over the previous two years, skincare corporations Drunk Elephant, Filorga Cosmétiques and Thayers Natural Remedies had been snatched up by magnificence conglomerates at multiples of greater than 6 occasions their annual revenues. As of 2019, the newest information accessible, the worldwide skincare market introduced in $140 billion in retail gross sales, in response to Euromonitor, and it’s anticipated to achieve $181 billion by 2025. According to a 2020 report carried out by L’Oreal, skincare accounts for 42% of the wonder market.
“Skincare is without doubt one of the quickest rising classes on-line,” says Coyne, who says skincare gross sales have really grown since 2019, whereas make-up continues to be down double digits. “I feel this pattern will proceed as folks give attention to pores and skin, self care, well being and minimalist tendencies.”
Still, Crawford hasn’t completely come to phrases with the model’s success.
“Every time a lady walks as much as me at an airport or in a grocery retailer and tells me how a lot they love Meaningful Beauty, I get a thrill,” she says.

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