Kendra Scott, Carolyn Rafaelian Made This Forbes List Again

MajorsJul 12, 2018

Kendra Scott, Carolyn Rafaelian Made This Forbes List Again

It also includes Kylie Jenner, who’s on track to become the youngest-ever self-made billionaire.

Carolyn Rafaelian (left) and Kendra Scott made Forbes’ list of the richest self-made women in America, ranking at Nos. 21 and 40, respectively.

New York—Forbes, that frequent publisher of lists of people who’ve made a lot of money, just released its latest, the 2018 ranking of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.

Once again, the list includes two women well-known in the jewelry world: Carolyn Rafaelian, whose Alex and Ani bangle bracelets are carried by fine jewelers nationwide, and Kendra Scott, who started her eponymous costume jewelry company with $500 in her spare bedroom.

Rafaelian ranks No. 21 out of 60 with a net worth of $1 billion.

A Rhode Island native who is the daughter of Armenian immigrants, Rafaelian started bangle brand Alex and Ani in 2004. The company is named after her two daughters, and its bangles are made in the same factory where Rafaelian’s father manufactured American flag pins and costume jewelry.

She remains the company’s CEO and chief creative officer and holds a majority stake in Alex and Ani.

Scott, meanwhile, ranks No. 40 with an estimated net worth of $500 million. She has 79 of her own stores, and her jewelry is carried by department stores and other retailers nationwide.

Both women made the list last year as well.

If there was a lesson to be taken away from the 2018 list of the U.S.’s richest self-made women, it’s this: There is a lot of money to be made in cosmetics, and the best way to make it is to have a huge Instagram following and showcase the products there.

Kylie Jenner (No. 27) started her cosmetics business two years ago selling a $29 kit consisting of lipstick and a matching liner. She leveraged her 110 million Instagram followers to turn Kylie Cosmetics into an $800 million company, Forbes estimates, and personally is worth $900 million.

At only 20, she’s on track to become the youngest-ever self-made billionaire and is the youngest woman on the 2018 list (Taylor Swift is second at age 28.)

Joining her on the list are several other women who’ve made a fortune in cosmetics thanks in large part to the power of social media.

According to Forbes, Anastasia Soare’s (No. 21, $1 billion) Anastasia Beverly Hills brand took off after her daughter opened an Instagram account for the company that now has more than 17 million followers.

Huda Kattan (No. 37, $550 million) used her status as an Instagram influencer to help launch Huda Beauty after she couldn’t find any false eyelashes that she liked.

The company now has 26 million followers.

Also making the cosmetics/social media mogul cut is Jenner’s half-sister, Kim Kardashian West (No. 54), who can attribute some of her $350 million fortune to her contouring kit and perfume company, KKW Beauty.

Other women on the list include:
--Media mogul Oprah Winfrey, No. 6 ($3.1 billion);
--Clothing designer Vera Wang, whose brand is licensed by Zales, No. 34 ($630 million);
--Madonna, No. 36 ($590 million);
--Judy Sheindlin (aka Judge Judy), No. 48 ($400 million);
--Beyoncé Knowles, No. 53 ($355 million); and
--Taylor Swift, No. 60 ($320 million).

The entire list can be viewed on
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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