Just a few years ago, Kim Kardashian was dyeing her own shapewear in a sink with teabags. Fast forward to the present day, the idea has blossomed into Skims — a $3.2 billion brand that has catapulted the reality TV star into a business titan.
“For me, I was just looking for a solution to the fact that I love to wear shapewear and there wasn’t a color tone that fit my skin tone, let alone most of my friends,” she told CNN This Morning anchor Poppy Harlow at the Time 100 Summit on Tuesday, adding that there “was nothing in between” a pale or a black color in shapeware at the time.
Skims is valued at a reported $3.2 billion and was named one of Time’s most influential companies for 2023. For Kardashian, the brand was aimed at filling a need that didn’t exist in the marketplace, which was to offer a wide variety of shapeware colors for women. Her business prowess has expanded beyond Skims with a private equity firm she co-founded last year called SKYY Partners.
Kardashian told Harlow that she “absolutely” trusts her gut over data when it comes to finding companies for SKYY to invest in.
“The businesses that I have now have a complete and equal respect and trust in each other to run and do our thing. if you trust each other like that, it absolutely can be magic,” she said.
As she gets older, the 42-year-old Kardashian realizes she now has the luxury of choosing people she wants to surround herself with. “If you’re at a place and you take your time, you realize you absolutely do not want to be in business with people that you don’t want to spend holidays with and that you don’t like,” she said.
“It sounds really simple, but i didn’t have that opportunity for so much of my career of choosing who I want to be in business with or what deals i did or having the opportunity to get know them,” she told Harlow.
Another aspect of Kardashian’s life is her focus on criminal justice reform. Notably, about five years ago, Kardashian worked with former President Donald Trump to commute the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a first-time nonviolent drug offender.
It was a moment that changed her life, she said.
“I had no connection to the justice system. As I got to figure out how to help someone and how to make a difference and get them out, I was genuinely naive to all of the issues with our [justice] system,” she said. “Once I saw that I was able to make a difference, I couldn’t stop there.”
Kardashian said that freeing Johnson was a “fairly easy experience” for her, but admitted that she knew it shouldn’t have been. “It takes 10 to 20 years to do what I did in six months, and I didn’t realize the fight at the time. To me, that was a few phone calls and that really struck me …. that that process has to change.”
She said that she has reached out to President Joe Biden to assist with commutations for other people, but hasn’t heard back.
To that end, Kardashian’s mission of becoming a lawyer is inching closer to reality. She plans to take the California bar exam in 2025. “I would be just as happy as being an attorney full time and doing that,” she said of giving up her life in front of the camera.