Kanye Wests net worth – $53 Million under to $240 Million over
Enigma isn’t a strong enough word to describe Kanye West. For now, it is going to have to do. West’s polarising nature transcends popular culture. Whether it be for his fashion, for his politics, or his open approach to his mental health, West is always on the cusp of something new. Consistently rewriting rules and going against the grain. Kanye West’s net worth is reported in 2019 as $240 Million. A figure that looked drastically different in 2016 when he was reportedly $53 Million in debt.
How West has been able to resurrect his financial situation has been nothing short of awe inspiring. A testament to unwavering personal belief, and ultimately the strength of his “ideas”. The same ideas he made headlines for in 2016 when he publicly reached out to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg via twitter in search of a $1 Billion investment to assist his creative process. An attempt that at the time seemed laughable. Ye, however, is now seemingly the one laughing. As ultimately, West would go onto secure an unprecedented deal with Adidas that would solve his financial woes forever. While somehow allowing him to maintain complete creative control of his “ideas.”
How did Kanye West get into $53 Million of debt?
Despite Kanye West’s substantial earnings from his successful musical career debt had culminated from him following his dreams in the fashion industry. Despite a clear and very much evident eye for design, Kanye very quickly learned the realities of the industry.
In 2009 he put all his musical endeavours to one side to work on his label Pastelle. Unfortunately the brand shuttered after only nine months. In addition to this West threw money into the G.O.O.D Music merchandise marketed to fans of his record label, which never really took off. Then was rather quickly chewed up and spat out for his attempt at a high-end women’s-wear line called Kanye West in 2011. What West had learned was that the fashion world is unforgiving. To be successful a brand requires a large amount of initial investment with huge amount of risk if the brand doesn’t take off. Kanye experienced this first hand, being left with nothing but $30 million dollars of debt from these experiments in fashion.
Kanye’s creative nous eventually landed him at Nike. Unfortunately, this did not stem the tide in terms of losses. After not securing a percentage of sales from the Nike Yeezy products he was forced to move laterally to rivals Adidas in search of more creative freedom. Spending a further $16 million getting his initial product line off the ground.
Kanye Wests Adidas deal
West’s partnership with Adidas is attributed to being the principal reason for his financial resurgence. Kanye was able to negotiate a virtually unheard of 15% royalty on the wholesale price of his products, plus a marketing fee after he brought his brand over to the apparel brand from Nike in 2013. To put this in perspective, Michael Jordan gains 5% royalties from sales of products in his Jordan line. Which still generates approximately $3 billion in annual sales for Nike. So, Kanye has been granted 3 times the royalty stake and owns his own brand where as Jordan does not.
This is the principal reason why Kanye West has been able to become a centi-millionaire at a much younger age and much faster than Michael Jordan. Despite claims in songs like ‘Facts’ and ‘Yeezy just jumped over Jumpman’, this is yet to be factually accurate. With Yeezys’ sales valuation in 2019 being market at $1.5 Billion – half of Jordan’s the gap is most definitely closing however, and considering the huge discrepancy in establishment between the two brands, with Yeezy running for just over 3 years while Jordan has been running for over 30, West’s feats are all the more impressive.
Success of the Adidas Yeezy Product Line
Of course the real reason for Kanye West’s success is down to Adidas’ handling of the Chicago born creative. Allowing Ye free reign of the production process has lead to a portfolio of shoes that has seemingly never waned in quality or execution. After all Kanye West has always described himself as a “product guy at my core”. West goes on to explain his design process like that of miniature vehicles. Working on shoes like someone would work on the prototype for a new car. Sighting the movie Akira that he went to see at a very young age with his mother Donda as a primary inspiration for the tone and colour palette that runs through the entirety of the Yeezy product line. As well as auto shows he attended with his Dad. Noting that “there is a little bit of Lamborghini in everything I do”.
I think the principal crux of Yeezy’s success is its unapologetic nature. Coupled with its braveness to challenge established norms in fashion. That has lead us to be asking questions about Kanye West’s net worth and not answering the question starting with a minus sign. Yeezy is not a brand built by committee. It is a brand that is one track minded, and solely focuses on its vision. West is able to continue to change what we think is acceptable in footwear fashion, because ultimately, if you are on top you make the rules.
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