JES­SICA ALBA

Founder, The Hon­est Com­pany

Fast Company - - Contents -

Founder, The Hon­est Com­pany

GROW FROM SET­BACKS

The Hon­est Com­pany has grown to of­fer more than 100 all-nat­u­ral, non­toxic house­hold prod­ucts in stores across the coun­try, but the six-year-old busi­ness has also weath­ered law­suits, a CEO change, and a re­cent fund­ing round that re­port­edly cut its val­u­a­tion to be­low uni­corn sta­tus. Founder Jes­sica Alba has be­come even more de­ter­mined to stay fo­cused on her orig­i­nal goals. To face busi­ness hur­dles, she has drawn on lessons from her ex­pe­ri­ence in Hol­ly­wood.

Es­tab­lish Your Own Goals

When first pitch­ing her com­pany, Alba found that her fame was a dou­ble-edged sword. “When I talked to my lawyers, man­agers, agents about the idea, they said, ‘Why don’t you just li­cense your brand and do a per­fume or some­thing?’ I was like, ‘No, I want to build a con­sumer pack­aged goods com­pany.’ They didn’t know how to do that,” she says, “so they tried to make me feel small and dumb.”

Ditch Bad Part­ners

Alba en­coun­tered plenty of peo­ple who didn’t take her se­ri­ously or wanted to co-opt her idea. “When you try to part­ner with peo­ple, and it’s not their idea, they sort of morph your vi­sion into what they know. I kept go­ing down all of these roads with dif­fer­ent part­ners, where they could give me the cap­i­tal to start a com­pany, but ul­ti­mately it wasn’t go­ing to be the com­pany that I wanted to build.”

Don’t Trust the Hype

Alba says that the me­dia ob­ses­sion around her com­pany’s high val­u­a­tion re­minded her of her days as a ris­ing movie star. “Peo­ple were like, ‘You came out of nowhere!’ And I was on the cover of all these mag­a­zines. I never be­lieved the hype. I knew why I was do­ing what I was do­ing—and it’s the same with this com­pany. Ul­ti­mately, I want peo­ple to live healthy, happy lives. That’s all that mat­ters to me.”

Pho­to­graph by Her­ring & Her­ring

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