Kardashian Sisters Win Multi-Million Dollar Suit Against Former Beauty Partner

Long before there was KKW Beauty or Kylie Cosmetics, there was the makeup line Kardashian Beauty. Now, nearly a decade after it launched and following a five-year legal fight, sisters Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian are being paid the amount in-full that they claim they were owed for the endeavor.

On July 6, a California State Appeals Court judge ruled the Kardashians were rightly owed $11.5 million in royalties from Haven Beauty and subsidiary Hillair Capital—the licensors of the beauty line—as well as $2 million in post-judgement interest and costs on appeal.

Launched in 2012, the makeup line—originally dubbed Khroma Beauty—was a licensing partnership with Boldface Licensing + Branding, a company that was later bought by investment firm Hillair Capital. Sold at drugstores and big box chains, the brand offered a number of products, including fake eyelashes, hair irons and shampoos. Under the five-year deal, the Kardashians, then most famous for their reality television show, would receive a $1 million advance, as well as royalty fees, for licensing the Kardashian name and their images and likeness to the products. 

But by 2016, as the deal came to a close and the relationship with Hillair degraded, the three sisters had yet to receive millions owed to them in royalties, according to the court filing. The legal back and forth began, with Hillair alleging that the Kardashians failed to properly promote the brand. In 2018, a judge sided with the Kardashians for the first time, and another judge upheld the decision earlier this week.

The $13.5 million award is small change compared to the billion-dollar Kardashian machine—and specifically compared to the value of Kim Kardashian West and Kylie Jenner’s new beauty brands. These second stabs at beauty have come to be much more lucrative for the Kardashian-Jenners, in part because the sisters owned all of their businesses from the start, rather than simply collecting royalties. That model paid out when beauty conglomerate Coty purchased a 51% stake in Kylie Cosmetics for $600 million in 2019 and a 20% stake in KKW Beauty for $200 million in January 2021.  

But those recent beauty deals have come with legal drama as well. Last summer, Seed Beauty, the manufacturer for both Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty, sued Coty and the two beauty brands, alleging there was improper sharing of trade secrets and in the hopes of preventing further misappropriation of trade secrets. (According to Coty’s most recent quarterly report, a request from the company to move into arbitration is still pending.) Earlier this month, with the suits still ongoing, Jenner and Kardashian West both announced they would be relaunching their brands with a new manufacturer. Jenner touted that all of Kylie Cosmetics products will be made using vegan and “clean” formulas free of parabens and gluten, while Kardashian West said the new KKW Beauty would be “a completely new brand with new formulas.”

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