Lifestyle

Go Behind the Scenes With Kendall Jenner at Her 818 Tequila Launch Party

Griffin Lipson

Kendall Jenner is no stranger to tequila. The supermodel is so keen on the liquor, in fact, that she created her own brand and named it “818” after her San Fernando Valley area code. “I’ve been a huge tequila lover for several years now,” Jenner, 25, exclusively tells ELLE.com. “After trying different types, I wanted to make one meant for enjoying with family and friends.” To help accomplish her goal, Jenner enlisted David Yan Gonzalez, 818’s director of tequila operations, who descends from three generations of tequila makers. “I’m excited to step into the spirit industry, which has historically been male-dominated,” Jenner adds. “Hopefully I can inspire other women to become founders or work in the same field, which definitely needs more female representation.”

Coming from a family of women entrepreneurs, Jenner has plenty of relatives to consult on her new endeavor. “My family is full of strong women,” she says. “Watching what they have accomplished has taught me so much about perseverance, dedication, and diligence. They work incredibly hard and take all of their work seriously—even when they experience setbacks, they push through. That has definitely impacted my approach to my own business.” It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, though, namely claims of cultural appropriation surrounding 818’s initial launch.

Jenner’s sister Kylie, who was famously named the youngest self-made billionaire by Forbes in 2019, offered her advice for running a business: “Kylie has so much experience with creating a community of people that love her products and brand—and she enjoys engaging with them and creating new ideas for them to be excited about. She told me to think about our 818 drinkers and consumers, and to put them first in our planning. That’s a North Star we have held up.”

The results speak for themselves: 818 sold out online in less than four hours, and in some instances, liquor stores reported selling 10 cases in just one day. Still, Jenner remains humble—and recognizes how team work plays a big part in her company’s success. “It’s important to have a strong point of view, and also hire the best people,” she says. “There’s always more to learn.”

Here, join Jenner as she parties the night away during the New York rollout of 818—tequila in hand (naturally).

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“The perfect afternoon.”

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