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Former First Lady Michelle Obama has quietly been a titan of business earning a $70 million through deals with Spotify, Netflix and even influencing the fashion industry.
According to Vanity Fair, in her eight years as the first lady, Obama drove more than $2 billion to the “retail sector” with her fashion choices alone and companies saw “a 2.3 percent stock gain when she dons their products—five times that of a typical celebrity endorsement.”
It’s not the first time a Michelle Obama endorsement has led to more money for a brand. When she and former President Barack Obama signed their Spotify deal in 2020 the streaming platform’s stock jumped five percent and led to a boost in subscribers.
“Spotify’s total monthly active users and premium subscribers both increased by 31% year over year, to 286 million and 130 million, respectively, in the first quarter,” Nasdaq reported.
Despite the success of the Spotify deal, it was fashion where Obama made her mark. Because she wasn’t paid to wear brands according to David Yermak of the Harvard Business Review, women who turned to the first lady for their fashion choices were able to put more stock into what she wore.
“The stock price gains of the companies whose clothes she wore in public appearances—29 brands in all—are cumulative abnormal returns. That is, the returns cannot be attributed to normal market variations,” Yermak wrote. “Some companies that sell clothes that Obama frequently wears, such as Saks, have realized long-term gains.”
Additionally, Obama has a knack for mixing expensive, exclusive fashion with everyday items from stores such as J. Crew and Ann Taylor.
The Obamas also have a deal with Netflix, which streams her puppet show that teaches children about healthy eating, Waffles + Mochi.
The former first lady is still hard at work, helping girls of all races to follow in her footsteps through the Girls Opportunity Alliance which seeks to empower adolescent girls around the world through education, allowing them to achieve their full potential and transform their families, communities, and countries.