Prior to being a household name, before having a widely successful TV Show and even before Kayne, Kim Kardashian had a very successful online business.  

Kim worked in and loved fashion. So naturally, her first business was fashion related. As with many of her fellow members of Gen Y, in the early 2000s, there was a love for the idea of eBay. During her search for the next statement piece to add to the collection, she came across 5 pairs of shoes for $700 each.

Whilst to the average person this is an insane amount to pay for shoes, they were actually the shoes J-Lo wore during the filming of a music clip. She knew they were worth more than $700. Especially to a dedicated fan.

Here lays the first lesson. Knowing your market. In true entrepreneurial form, she had little cash and decided to raise funds. She managed to get a loan from her father for $3,500 and had to pay it back with interest. Yes it was convenient that her dad had the cash but this is no different to you or I going to the bank to fund a venture. Debt financing was her only option so she secured the funds.

Kim contacted the seller and purchased all 5 pairs of shoes for a total of $3,500. She was able to re-sell the shoes for $2,500…..each! Bringing in a grand total of $12,500.

She says she became addicted to those profits and wanted to build on the momentum. She would team up with her celebrity friends and sell their old clothes taking a cut of the revenue.

To further boost her image, she worked with childhood friend Pairs Hilton. Kim was featured on Paris Hilton’s TV show as a celebrity closet organiser. This little stint would return her over $200,000 in sales from her eBay account.

That’s lesson number two. Leveraging your brand using influencer marketing. Kim knew that Paris had an audience of her ideal customer. She was able to leverage this and place herself in front of this audience for a minimal investment. Influencer marketing is massive, particularly on Instagram.

Kim would later branch out into other areas to build on her entrepreneurial momentum. In 2009 she launched a successful workout DVD called “Fit Into Your Jeans By Friday.” At this stage, she had built a personal brand and produced another product that would appeal to her specific market. This also brings up the third business lesson. Know how to communicate your value proposition in a short, sharp manner. The name of the DVD gives potential buyers absolute clarity about what is on offer without getting too fancy with names.

Regardless of your opinion and thoughts about the Kardashian family, there is no denying their commercial success. We’ve explored the less publicized business endeavours from Kim and have identified 3 great business lessons that you can implement in your own way.

By Phil Usher

Image Source: by Alessio Bruno