Actress Jessica Alba Leverages Fame For Entrepreneurial Success

j alba

0514_jessica-alba-pose_400x559-214x300In January, actress Jessica Alba was once again on the press circuit, meeting with magazines and daytime shows to talk about her work. But this time she wasn’t publicizing a movie premiere—she was promoting the launch of her new startup, The Honest Company.

Alba, 31, became an entrepreneur out of necessity. Pregnant with her first child in 2008, the actress read the book Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan and realized how difficult it would be for an average mom to keep her house toxin free. She teamed up with Gavigan and serial entrepreneur Brian Lee (LegalZoom and ShoeDazzle) and used her own money to start The Honest Company, a website that offers monthly deliveries of nontoxic diapers and cleaning products to new moms.

“My inspiration was really just being a mom and trying to look for the safest and healthiest products for my baby,” says Alba, mother of two daughters, a 3-year-old and a newborn, in an interview with Forbes.

Because eco-friendly products are often neutral or brown, Alba was also adamant that they offer beautiful design at an accessible price point: “I’m not a beige girl. I like colorful things.” A monthly supply of eco-friendly diapers in patterns like plaid, floral and skull-and-crossbones costs $79.99, which she insists is affordable for most parents.

In March, the company closed a $27 million Series A investment led by General Catalyst, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Institutional Venture Partners. Alba, who owns a significant stake, says she prefers building a business to just endorsing a product. “I’m big on data and statistics and hard facts,” says Alba. “This is my passion.”

She is part of a growing trend of celebrities leveraging stardom to get in on early-stage investments or launch their own businesses. Ashton Kutcher made smart investments in Skype, Spotify and Airnub, while Justin Bieber gained stakes in startups like Enflick and Tinychat and his girlfriend Selena Gomez put her money into mobile photo application Postcards on the Run. Meanwhile, Alba follows in the footsteps of leading ladies like Zooey Deschanel, who launched website Hello Giggles, and Bethenny Frankel, creator of SkinnyGirl products.

“It’s exciting and fun,” says Alba. “As tiring as it can be sometimes, it’s really cool to be able to sit here with these products. When we went to the factory where our bottles were being filled, seeing a pallet with The Honest Company hand soap—I know it’s so dorky, but—that was one of the best days of my life.”

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10 thoughts on “Actress Jessica Alba Leverages Fame For Entrepreneurial Success

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