You may know her work from the Fantastic Four movies or Dark Angel TV series, but Golden Globe-nominated actress Jessica Alba also has another cool title on her resume: entrepreneurial mom.
After the birth of her first child, Honor, Alba had difficultly finding products and goods for her baby that were reputable, high quality and non-toxic. So she put her passion to work and decided to start a business focusing on just that.
With a dream to create the “ultimate family brand,” Jessica Alba launched the Honest Company in 2009 in Los Angeles. Initially she had wanted her startup to focus on a few essentials for busy moms, the brand has grown tremendously and now has a long list of items from diapers and wipes to dish soaps and laundry detergent.
In just five years, the Honest Company has made waves in the wholesome family lifestyle market—and the business model has proven successful. The company’s 2013 revenues are estimated at $50 million and the team just announced the hiring of its 250th employee. And the latest buzz is that Alba and her team are ready to take the company public—to the tune of $1 billion.
So how does a mom-preneur go from a conscious startup focused on quality products to a corporation ready for Wall Street? Outside of having a name like Jessica Alba (and her passion) behind the brand, here are some things the Honest Company is doing really well:
Clear mission and brand voice: The Honest Company makes clear what it stands for: effective, “unquestionably safe,” eco-friendly baby and home products. The company’s various product lines and collaborations reflect its mission, but the team takes it one step further by providing product guidance and lifestyle advice via its blog. Recent post topics include meditation instructions, an almond milk recipe and guide to farmer’s market delivery services.
Solid distribution: Starting with the company’s own ecommerce-enabled website—which drives 80% of the company’s business—the Honest Company sells its products at stores like Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Costco and Target, as well as local mom-and-pop shops who believe in the brand’s mission.
Loyal following: The brand has found loyal shoppers because of its quality, non-toxic products for baby and home, and boy are those fans excited and vocal. The Honest Company has close to 1.5MM fans and followers on social media, with almost 900k fans on Facebook alone. The brand activates these loyal fans through quality content and noteworthy campaigns. A recent social campaign promised a $1 donation to the MaxLove project for every “Like” on Facebook.
Innovative merchandising: In addition to commerce and monthly bundles of products, the company recently launched the Collective, which features collaborations with premium brands and designers committed to the company’s vision and values. Recent limited-edition items include a crib collaboration with Babyletto and a diaper caddy produced with b.box.
Great partnerships: Earlier this month the company announced its partnership with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and introduced the Ultra Clean Room, a new facility measuring the impact of environmental chemicals on children’s health. This is a great example of the brand’s mission extending to other areas that directly affect the wellbeing of kids and families.
Charitable values: The Honest Company seems to really believe in giving back whenever possible—a portion of all revenue goes to families in need via various non-profits. Charity partnerships include Baby2Baby, World Wildlife Fund and the YMCA. Plus, the company touts its involvement as going beyond just a monetary donation—employees are shown volunteering at numerous events and supporting like-minded organizations.
In a recent brand video, Alba shared her philosophy on giving back: “People are having a hard time. If we can, as a company, support families that are born into unfavorable situations we’re going to for sure help them out,” she stated. “Because if we were in that situation we’d want to be treated that way ourselves.”
Sounds like a great approach. And when combined with the larger business strategy of creating good products that won’t hurt the baby—while extending the mission to more than just those products—the Honest Company has established itself as an authority in the space.
Now it’s just a matter of time before Wall Street chimes in.
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