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.”
This story was adapted from the Fast Company Innovation Festival.