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How 4 Celebrity E‑Commerce Entrepreneurs Built Their Brands
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Despite their many successes across television and movies, a growing number of celebrities are channeling their passions and leveraging their fame, following, and active social media presence to pursue a common venture: building an e-commerce brand from scratch. In this post, we rounded up four of the top celebrity-owned e-commerce businesses to highlight what makes their companies unique and has allowed them to experience online success.
1. The Honest Company, Jessica Alba
The Honest Company, which describes itself as a “natural baby and beauty company that brings innovative formulas and thoughtful designs to our products” began in 2012, with founder Jessica Alba’s personal goal of providing household and personal items that are ethical, safe, and toxin-free. Inspired by the birth of her own child, the company is feverishly committed to helping consumers make safe, smart choices for their families.
Over time, the company effectively instilled trust into its audience, as it was valued at over $1 billion in 2017. Jessica has stayed on as the company’s visionary leader, guiding its overall strategy, marketing, and product innovation. Rooted in consciousness and community, the company is also dedicated to social responsibility, fostering initiatives to raise money and donate personal care products to those in need.
For the company, success has been driven from the details — through their deep commitment to filling the demand for safe, nontoxic products, they have been able to sell the value proposition that safety matters, differentiating themselves from their competitors. With nearly three-quarters of its revenue originating from online sales, the company has successfully been able to capitalize on an e-commerce-only model, accelerating sales via advertising and continued geographic expansion.
2. Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow
Goop began in 2008 as a weekly newsletter offering lifestyle advice that actress Gwyneth Paltrow found herself frequently giving to her friends such as beauty tips, healthy recipes, and shopping recommendations. By 2012, the company had transformed into a thriving e-commerce business, selling a variety of food items, health and beauty products, and apparel. In 2016, the company began its own meticulously curated line of products ranging from vitamins and skincare to fragrances and home goods.
As CEO and creative director of the company, Paltrow utilized content to effectively transform the company into a “modern lifestyle brand” with a site and shop that provides a unique experience for both new visitors and repeat buyers. Goop sums up their platform as integrating “cutting-edge wellness advice from doctors, vetted travel recommendations, and a curated shop of clean beauty, fashion, and home.”
Last year, the company received a $50 million investment to continue its fast track growth trajectory and expand into Europe. By tapping into consumer interests across food, the mind/body/spirit connection, health and wellness, and the home, the company has been able to coin “contextual commerce,” a concept that means they not only feature compelling content about the topics that matter most to them, but they sell relevant products that people desire and think of upon reading the material.
Goop also diversified its revenue in 2018 by creating “The Goop Podcast,” which it uses to collect advertising and partnership dollars and involves stimulating dialogue with Gwyneth and Goop’s Chief Content Officer Elise Loehnen as they host esteemed trailblazers such as Oprah Winfrey and other financial, psychological, and culinary experts.
3. Fabletics, Kate Hudson
Digitally native brands are undoubtedly making their mark on the e-commerce industry. Direct-to-consumer brands like Casper, Away, and Glossier are capitalizing on social media engagement and influence, efficient supply chains, and affordable prices to drive reach and relevance, and Kate Hudson’s Fabletics is no different.
The actress’s subscription-based athleisure brand came to life in 2013. Starting at $19 per month, subscribers receive a box of yoga gear based on their preferences — a subtle demonstration of the importance of brands and retailers to know their consumers’ wants, needs, and behaviors to garner brand awareness and engagement.
In just five years, the brand generated $300 million in revenue and 1.4 million subscribers and brought another celebrity on board, Demi Lovato. At the core of Fabletics’ mission is the sentiment that women can and should be empowered to be the best version of themselves, regardless of shape, size, or age. The company attributes a lot of its growth to direct-response advertising, sharing highly targeted ads with specific calls to action (i.e. Save Now) in order to resonate and tap into their focus demographic. They also stand out in a saturated apparel market by ensuring high-quality products and a dedicated customer service team.
4. Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie Jenner
In March 2019, Kylie Jenner surpassed Mark Zuckerberg to become the youngest self-made billionaire ever. With the success that sprouted from her socialite family’s television show and a massive Instagram following, Kylie was able to leverage her platform to effectively market a business promoting one of her passions: cosmetics. Simultaneously, she was able to break into a market for lip kits and makeup advice at exactly the right time, when consumers were actively seeking these very items.
An instant overnight success from its launch in 2015, the brand has grown to include a full range of beauty products — Kylie Lip Kits became Kylie Cosmetics and fans and customers alike can buy items like concealer, eye shadow, lipsticks, lip liners, and bundles of these items combined together. The secret ingredient to Kylie’s success? Using her expansive social media influence to connect with her fans and customers to create the products they are looking for, getting them excited about updates and forthcoming products.
What do these four celebrity moguls have in common? The uninterrupted ability to appeal to a group of high-value prospects and customers that rely on them for specific products and, in turn, capitalize on that reliance by providing them with varying ways and touchpoints to connect and engage with the company. For retailers and brands on Amazon, keeping pace with the greater e-commerce landscape is critical, but understanding your target consumer can prove just as valuable when it comes to driving long-term profitability.
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