An entrepreneurial streak can happen to anyone, including celebrities with no prior business training. But when you have a great product and a solid name to market it, business opportunities can be a solid next step for celebrities looking to solidify their place in the market.
Some celebrities do so well in their business ventures that we oftentimes forget they had a career before they became a business owner. Take Dr. Dre and Paul Newman for example. Beats by Dre is now a household name and you cannot walk down ANY salad dressing aisle without seeing Paul’s face on a bottle of Newman’s Own.
Chances are, there’s a celebrity-founded company in your house somewhere, whether it’s headphones, beauty products, clothing or food kits. Here are some of our favorites.
What makes Jessica Alba such a smart entrepreneur is that she jumped right in front of the natural/clean products trend with The Honest Company. Founded in 2012, Jessica wanted to see more nontoxic, natural options for everyday products. Inspired by the birth of her daughter in 2008, The Honest Company targeted young families looking for a clean alternative. It has since grown to include more than 100 products, its own beauty line and is valued at more than $1 billion, while Jessica’s personal worth is now more than $200 million.
She became super-famous for playing up the stereotypical “dumb blonde” persona, but Jessica Simpson is way savvier than we give her credit for. In 2005, the singer/actress launched The Jessica Simpson Collection, which caught on so well with women and juniors that she ended up being the first celebrity-owned clothing line to break $1 billion. The clothing and accessories are trendy and affordable, hitting a key market demographic for women. While we haven’t heard much about music or acting roles from Jessica, it sounds like she is doing just fine with her endeavors.
We laugh at Goop, but Goop laughs right back at us. Because there will always be someone willing to put a jade egg up their vagina and Goop is just the facilitator to make it happen. The wellness company was originally a newsletter written by Gwyneth Paltrow and launched in 2008. Sure, her wellness suggestions and featured products are just a *teeny* bit out of touch for your average, middle-class woman, but it has since raised millions of dollars in venture capital, launched a wellness retreat, an online store, a pop-up shop and digital store, as well as branded clothing, perfume and books. Who’s laughing now?
Paul Newman was one of Hollywood’s acting legends. He was one of four actors to be nominated for an Academy Award in five different decades, receiving one for best actor in 1986 and an honorary Academy Award in 1993. He appeared onstage and onscreen up until 2007 when he officially retired. Before he retired, Paul Newman had created the incredibly successful food company, Newman’s Own. There’s a chance you have one of his salad dressings in your house at this very moment. The company is unique because it gives 100 percent of its after-tax profits to charity. What an impressive legacy to leave.
The actor/director technically still has his foot in Hollywood, but it’s all thanks to his comic book store, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. The store was originally called Comicology and was Kevin Smith‘s go-to store for comics. A couple years later, Kevin bought the store from its owner and made it his own. Thanks to his films, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash became a favorite for locals and tourists and expanded shortly after opening. The store eventually became the setting for the AMC reality show, Comic Book Men, starring Kevin and his co-owner Walt Flanagan.
While the other two JoBros are still active in music and acting, Kevin Jonas decided to take a different route when The Jonas Brothers disbanded in 2013. While he had his own reality show and was a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice, Kevin is currently the co-CEO of The Blu Market. The app is a way to connect people to a larger, more influential audience. They bring in influencers to promote and drive traffic to their clients, optimizing word-of-mouth marketing. The company recently partnered with We Heart It, a creative-focused social media app that boasts 45 million users.
Freddie Prinze Jr.
Just like his wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr. is also passionate about what goes on in the kitchen. In 2016, he released his first cookbook, Back to the Kitchen. The actor grew up cooking with his mom in New Mexico and has enjoyed the hobby ever since. His book features 75 recipes with influences from his mother, his Puerto Rican heritage and, of course, his two children he shares with Sarah Michelle. The sweetest revelation of this book? He gets up before his entire family to cook them breakfast. How adorable!
Before 2006, Dr. Dre was best known as one of the founding members of N.W.A., a solo hip-hop artist, and Eminem‘s mentor. That all changed when he introduced Beats By Dr. Dre to the market. The brand was founded by Dr. Dre and Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine and was sold to Apple for three billion dollars in 2014. Beats By Dr. Dre boasts a listening experience much different from your typical earbuds and went on to launch noise-canceling headphones and a speaker collection. In 2011, the company partnered with Chrysler to incorporate Beats-branded audio systems in the manufacturer’s vehicles.
Rock stars know how to party, and Sammy Hagar is no exception. That could be the reason why he’s living his best life in Cabo San Lucas, where he launched his Cabo Wabo restaurant and nightclub in 1990. He went on to open more Cabo Wabo locations and launch a branded tequila. In 2007, he sold 80 percent of Cabo Wabo for $80 million, with a goal to launch the tequila into international markets. While he’s had a successful music career with a number of bands, he is best known as the frontman of Van Halen, taking over David Lee Roth‘s previous role.
Raquel Welch’s business efforts date back to before many of us were even born. After a successful, decades-long acting career, Raquel launched The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program in 1984, which included fitness books and videos. Down the road, she focused more on beauty, launching jewelry and skincare lines. None of these endeavors, however, were quite as successful as her wig and extensions line for HAIRuWEAR, which was founded in 1968. She currently serves as the creative director of her collection.
The world-famous skateboarder began his entrepreneurship early. While he was becoming one of the most famous skateboarders of all time, he also was building companies and his personal brand. In 1992, he co-founded skateboard company Birdhouse, which is a reference to Tony Hawk’s nickname, Birdman. As his career grew, he launched his video game series, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater in 1999. He also had his own branded amusement park rides at Six Flags, as well as his own charity, The Tony Hawk Foundation. We love it!
While we welcome a Spice Girls reunion with open arms, we’re proud of our gal Victoria (aka Posh Spice) for her entrepreneurial efforts after she left the biggest group of the ’90s. It’s only natural that the style icon would launch a self-titled fashion label. With its higher price points, Victoria Beckham is a luxury line that’s a staple at New York Fashion Week. Recently, she launched a collection for Target and is currently working on a children’s fashion line. Oh, while reuniting with her fellow bandmates, which, OMG.
Carmen Electra’s entire career has been built on being sexy, so it only makes sense that one of her first successful business ventures was an aerobic striptease DVD collection in the early 2000s. The workout combined fitness and flirt, empowering women to feel sexy in their bodies. Currently, she’s working on new businesses, including a perfume and lingerie line. With Love from Carmen offers affordable lingerie, swimsuit items, and homeware that is both sexy and comfortable.
Kathy Ireland started out as a successful supermodel and used the opportunity to become a savvy businesswoman. In the early ’90s, she launched a lucrative partnership with Kmart, making model style accessible to all women. Her Kmart line isn’t even her BIG business venture. She took that success and launched Kathy Ireland Worldwide, a fashion and lifestyle brand that gave her more licensing freedom. As of 2021, KIW has generated $2.5 billion in retail, making Kathy’s net worth more than $420 million. Dayum, girl.
The SNL legend and two-time Ghostbuster has a number of business ventures under his belt. In the early ’90s, he founded House of Blues with the Hard Rock Cafe co-founder. Since then, Dan Aykroyd has founded Crystal Head Vodka (you know, the brand that has that kick-ass skull bottle) and has opened a number of wineries in his native Canada. The vodka is especially successful due to its pure nature, including being free of sugar and additives. The liquor retails at around $50 and you get to keep the cool bottle after you’ve finished it. Score!
Sarah Michelle Gellar
We all know her as Buffy, but now she’s an entrepreneurial wizard with her company, Foodstirs. Sarah Michelle Gellar co-founded the company in 2014 with pals Galit Laibow and Greg Fleishman with the aim of having simple, kid-friendly baking kits that contain natural, organic ingredients and less than six steps from beginning to finish. If anyone follows SMG on social media, you know how much she loves food crafting and being in the kitchen with her two children and husband, Freddie Prinze Jr. Foodstirs was just a natural next step for the foodie mama and her fun fam.