Nearly everyone semi-aware of pop-culture in America knows Jessica Alba as an actress best recognized for her stunning looks… and anyone who has seen one of her films understands that the recognition is well-deserved. What many don’t know about Alba, is her entrepreneurial drive, but with her new home-products company, Honest, Alba may soon realize a fresh claim to fame.
In 2011, Jessica Alba co-founded Honest with CEO Brian Lee, COO Sean Kane, and chief product officer Christopher Gavigan. Alba drew heavily from her experiences as a mother shopping for family goods (diapers, laundry detergent, and the like) to inform the brand’s purpose: provide non-toxic, effective, and beautiful products to customers. Her unique twist? Very likely influenced by the explosion of e-commerce sites in the last decade (*cough cough* Amazon), Honest’s business model relies on customers bundling goods online and ordering them to be shipped right to their home.
Americans love convenience (and be honest rest-of-the-world, who doesn’t?), so you’d think investors would have jumped all over this celebrity-endorsed gravy train. Shockingly, many were resistant and suggested to Alba that she change her business model to specialize in one product and expand into the market from there. Luckily for families, Alba proceeded to ignore the naysayers follow-through on her original vision to provide a vast array of affordable products for customers. Was she successful? With revenues in 2014 projected to hit $150 million, it’s hard to deny a recipe this potent.
But how did this starlet-turned-entrepreneur manage to put together a multi-million dollar business? Well for starters, when the company was in its formative stages and Alba was pitching potential investors, they deliberately pursued those connections they determined would be LESS likely to accept the pitch. In doing so, they received more critical feedback and important questions that helped guide them on the most effective path. Armed with the intelligence gained from these initial pitches, the team at Honest proceeded to construct a meticulously well-planned strategy for unlocking the consumer conscious.
A recent Inc.com article enumerated several factors responsible for facilitating Honest’s explosion; brand strategists and budding entrepreneurs take note! As most individuals involved in sales will know, a vast majority of sales come from existing clients’ continual purchases of your company’s products. By offering monthly subscriptions, Honest receives a consistent revenue stream, with 80% of sales stemming from those monthly deals. Furthermore, Honest offers free trials of its most popular product (diapers), winning customers’ attention with a taste, which then entices them to come back for more once the trial period ends. It also doesn’t hurt that the company has a philanthropic mission as well (a la Toms, Warby Parker, and others) and promises good deeds to society with every purchase. Companies that do this also sell piece of mind, along with their products, to empathetic consumers who want to contribute productively to society. It also doesn’t hurt when the front-woman for your family-product brand is an internationally recognized Hollywood actress with children of her own.
In the Inc article, Alba also spoke freely about the integrality of her partnerships in forming Honest. She says, “I don’t code, I’m not in the lab mixing potions,” and she goes on to credit the multitude of differently talented partners for bringing her vision to fruition. Leveraging connections across industries (from web development to chemical engineering), pursuing more critical investors for practice pitches, and implementing intelligent, well-researched business strategies, Alba and her team have catapulted Honest into stardom as a successful, institutionalized brand.