Rihanna formerly worked with Puma as creative director, but has been broadening her offerings far beyond sportswear. Two years ago, she worked with LVMH to debut Fenty Beauty, which catered to a diverse group of shoppers from the outset by offering 40 shades of foundation for all skin tones. The brand generated $100 million in sales during its first 40 days of business, according to a Vogue report. More recently, in 2018, she introduced Savage X Fenty, a lingerie line. Each brand has built up a massive following on Instagram, where Rihanna uses the platform to cleverly tease out products and sow demand.
Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH, said in a statement that Rihanna is recognized as a singer, but he learned through the Fenty Beauty work that she is also a “true entrepreneur” and “a real CEO.”
He noted, “To support Rihanna to start up the Fenty Maison, we have built a talented and multicultural team supported by the Group resources.”
Other brands have gotten in trouble for not building such multicultural teams. In recent months, high-end brands including Gucci, Prada and Burberry have all come under fire for releasing products and marketing criticized by consumers as being racist. Marketing experts urge brands to keep the group of decision-makers as diverse–representing a broad range of ethnicities, ages and geographies–as possible. In another major collaboration, Beyoncé announced last month she would be designing a line of sportswear and shoes for Adidas. The announcement was followed by reports that the singer had earlier walked out on a potential deal with Reebok, which is owned by Adidas, because the team was not diverse. Reebok subsequently denied the report, but many shoppers reacted with outrage.
Consumers were thrilled at the upcoming Fenty apparel line. Many applauded the advances made by Rihanna, who is originally from Barbados, for black culture.