Debate Paris Hilton's current cultural relevance all you want, but she is laughing all the way to the bank.
The 33-year-old entrepreneur/DJ sat down with Women's Wear Daily to discuss the empire she has been creating. Before you roll your eyes, let this sink in: her fragrances alone have done $2 billion in sales.
“I would say that the success speaks for itself. [My brand] is one of the number-one celebrity fragrances out there and I have 17, which is a lot more than, I don’t know, most people,” Hilton said. “Every single month we are getting more sales and more countries wanting to sell the fragrances.”
Donald J. Loftus, president of Parlux — the New York based company whom Hilton has partnered with — backs that up.
“Over the 10-year period we’ve done $2 billion in sales,” he added. “Yes, it’s a lot of fragrances, but the strategy is to make sure it stays fresh every six months so the consumer keeps coming back. The business is actually growing year after year because she’s always doing new things — the DJing, a hotel, her singing, and her handbag line. The fans are fascinated by her as a result.”
Hilton counts Elizabeth Taylor (whom she was briefly related to) as her inspiration.
“I grew up with her," she stated. "She married my grandfather’s brother, so she was my great aunt. I don’t know how many fragrances she had, but a lot. I always looked up to businesswomen like that who build their own brands. Oprah as well is another one I’ve always admired. And I don’t know anyone else who’s been doing celebrity fragrances as long as me other than Elizabeth Taylor.”
Adds the former reality star: “I didn’t want to just be known as the Hilton Hotel granddaughter. I wanted to be known as Paris who created her own empire.”
Kim Kardashian's frenemy isn't relying solely on her fragrance to create that empire. Paris has 16 other licenses in clothing, accessories, beauty, and real estate ventures (her first residential property opened in the Philippines this year and apparently she’s planning to go into hotels and casinos). Paris will also drop her second album next year and she spent the summer DJ'ing around Europe.
One thing Paris is acutely aware of is her international marketability (70 percent of her fragrance sales are outside of the U.S.).
“Capturing global attention and hanging onto it takes an insane work ethic. It is a talent,” Brian Dow, partner at APA talent agency, where he heads the branded lifestyle division, tells WWD. Fun fact: he also counts Kim as a client. “In the U.S., she [Hilton] is not that relevant right now, but in certain markets like China, she is extremely relevant. You can really only be in so many places at one time anyway. Once you hit a certain point you can work forever. You just keep going.”
“People who don’t know me, they’ll say certain things," Paris concluded, referring to those who said she would be a flash in the pan. "You could say that about someone who’s been around for a second, but I’ve been in this business for so long, and I’m killing it.”
$2 billion dollars certainly speaks for itself.