The MAXIM cover model’s baby products business just raised $70 million at a $1 billion valuation.
Photographed for Maxim by Cliff Watts
Witness the power of Jessica Alba: She can be in two places at once. While wriggling across the big screen in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, she was also soliciting investments in The Honest Co., the organic baby products site she co-founded three years ago. A group of well-known venture capitalists coughed up the cash, but not until they did their research into the young company’s actual worth. The total they came up with fell just short of a billion, a number that makes the first Sin City's $158.8 million worldwide gross look almost paltry.
Alba isn’t the first woman to parlay on-screen looks into an off-screen fortune, but she’s the most effective we’ve seen in a while.
The model for the move from photo shoots to the board room is supermodel Kathy Ireland, who spent the eighties on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issues and the nineties building an international home goods empire. Today, Kathy Ireland Worldwide is a multi billion-dollar business and Ireland is arguably the richest model on Earth. But Ireland was operating in a different era, back when brick-and-mortar retail was everything and word of mouth referred to conversations, not tweets. Today, companies can grow faster and celebrities can effectively reach their fans without the help of bigger brands.
For Alba, that means staying in charge of her products and at the helm - despite a busy shooting schedule. “I remember at my board meeting, they were like, ‘So...maybe you should start thinking about how to best use your time because you’re doing so many things that you could probably just get somebody else to do,’” she recalled in her recent MAXIM interview. "I was like, ‘But I don’t trust them, and it’s too expensive, and our CFO is going to bitch about every single dime that we spend!’”
That’s what’s impressive about Alba: She’s no dilettante. She ready to roll up her sleeves (when she’s wearing a shirt) and get down to it. "I want to be cost–effective and efficient,” she says. “So I just do it.”
Now that she’s got $70 million on hand, she’s going to have the opportunity to grow Honest Co. in earnest. And that growth could be truly massive. Experts predict that the blockbuster domestic baby product market will be worth $3.1 billion annually by 2018. A starring role in that trade earns you something better than a spot on the A-list: a spot on the Forbes list.
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