Jessica Alba

I have always LOVED Jessica Alba.  She is so beautiful and such a great actress, it was enlightening to learn she is also a powerful business woman.  Ms. Alba has become a self-made business mogul with the creation of her company, Honest Co, which makes environmentally friendly baby products, household products, and this year women’s skin care products.  She worked with Congress to pass Safe Chemicals Act.  Alba has two children, and still pursues acting roles.

Acting

Alba started out acting before age of 18 in series by Cameron Dark Angel.  Cameron states Alba was the cornerstone of the show, she worked 86 hour weeks in Vancouver and did a lot of her own stunts, she rose to the occasion, and the show became very successful.  She has also started in Honey and Sin City franchise.   Alba was bitten by the acting but when she auditioned for a Hollywood acting school the summer she was 11 years old.  She attended an acting workshop in Vermont at 17 years old that opened her eyes to becoming more loving and tolerant of people different than herself.

When she started in Hollywood, she approached her acting as her business.  She went after “tent-pole franchises.”  She also required if she was on the cover of a men’s magazine, she needed to be on the covers of three women’s magazines.  She did not want to be seen as just an action hero actress.

The Business Venture

Ms. Alba started Honest Co after her first pregnancy.  She was washing baby onesies in a detergent recommended by a family member, and broke out in hives.  Alba has a history of asthma and allergies as a child that frequently hospitalized her.  She reports starting to freak out that her baby might have the same reactions.  She researched chemicals usually used in detergents and other household products and discovered most chemicals banned by Europe are freely used in the US.  Initially, Alba worked with Christopher Gavigan, author of Healthy Child, Healthy World which describes some of the most common toxins children are exposed to that are used routinely in the home.   After a few failed attempts at getting investors, she refined the name and concept. Ms. Alba eventually partnered with Brian Lee a start-up entrepreneur and Sean Kane to be president.  So the Honest Company had their brain trust of four professionals.

Honest Co grew very quickly with only 17 products that addressed diapering and wiping initially, and they had a subscription service for customers.  They have since expanded their offerings to body care, household cleansers, detergents and softeners, and adult skin care.  The products are also available at chain retailers.  Honest Co will be opening a brick and mortar location as a popup in an upscale West Hollywood mall.  Sales in 2015 surpassed $150 million with 135 product offerings.

Ms. Alba describes herself as many entrepreneurs would, you have to be crazy, very tenacious and have gumption.  Roadblocks do not mean you quit, you blast through it and will go around all road blocks.

Lessons Learned from Honest Company

  • A partnership is like a marriage. Pick anyone who may join your company very wisely
  • Surround yourself with smart people. They should have other strengths that compliment your weaknesses.
  • Reward your early employees by hiring more people. This enables them to not have to work long hours being less productive.

 

http://www.vanityfair.com/style/2015/11/jessica-alba-honest-company-business-empire

http://www.inc.com/tess-townsend/jessica-alba-listen-to-criticism-but-defend-your-vision-at-all-costs.html

Beyonce Knowles-Carter

I wanted to highlight this Texan who makes everyone, even us who do not really listen to her music, proud of the accomplished woman she has become.  My good friend, who owns Aledo’s Best Roofer (www.aledobestroof.com) states that she is his favorite entertainer of all time.

As of 2009, Beyoncé had sold over 118 million records, headlined thee solo tours, starred in seven films, and won ten Grammys.  She brings in money from her music sales and publishing, touring and other performances, endorsement deals, film work, fashion collection.  This diversification of her portfolio helped land her on FORBES Celebrity 100 list at number 4.

“I started my own company. When I decided to manage myself it was important that I didn’t go to some big management company. I felt like I wanted to follow the footsteps of Madonna and be a powerhouse and have my own empire and show other women when you get to this point in your career you don’t have to go sign with someone else and share your money and your success you do it yourself.” Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

 

Branding Lessons from Beyoncé’s empire

  • Build an entourage of people who can help you execute your vision. Business is best as a team game, no one can do everything.  Find people you trust whom you can delegate tall orders to.  But, you have to also work as hard or harder as your associates.
  • Be authentic and Own your Company. Make it yours, do not let any of the branding be done without your input.
  • Connect with your customers/followers on a deep interpersonal basis. Your brand presence needs to be continuous, invariable, and self-evident.
  • Be prepared to make painful decisions. You might have to fire your once right hand man, or change locations of the company.  You will have to make gut-wrenching choices.
  • Operate Outside of the Usual. Do things authentically, directly engaging with your audience and build your brand.

Other Business Lessions

  • Beyoncé has multiple streams of income. This seems to be a theme among the wealthy.  They do not put their eggs all into one basket.
    • Ms Knowles has an entertainment company called Parkwood Entertainment. She also has a clothing line called the House of Deron, launced in 2006 and named after her maternal grandmother.
  • She also has learned to protect her assets. Examples include names, videos, photographs, and hashtag phrases.
  • She also is not afraid to take risks, she launched her last album with no publicity, she just released it to Itunes.

Philanthropy

Beyonce has given much back to the community.  She launched Beyonce Cosmetology Center at the Phoenix House in Brooklyn NY which is a drug treatment center; she also donated her acting salary from playing Etta James the blues singer in Cadillac Records (2008)who was a once-drug-addicted. This Center provides beneficial cosmetology skills and job placement.  She has also donated to Boys and Girls Club of America, Oxfam, Save the Music Foundation, and Feeding America.

 

Sources: http://www.myblastoff.com/what-youcan-learn-about-branding-and-business-from-beyonce/

http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2009/0622/celebrity-09-jay-z-sasha-fierce-inside-beyonce-empire.html

http://bougieblackgirl.com/the-business-of-being-9-things-that-helped-build-the-beyonce-empire-that-can-help-build-yours/

Richard Branson

Richard Branson is, in my mind, considered a celebrity because of his successful multiple business ventures.  He has also played cameo spots in several movies.  But, no one can deny that his Virgin Empire is doing something correct, which is why I chose to feature him. – Genie

Mr Branson has many different types of business under the header of the Virgin group, which is more than 400 companies.  He dropped out of high school and started Virgin Records initially.  He has since then developed Virgin into a brand.  He started the business as a mail-order record business which eventually developed into the Virgin Megastores.  During the time of the Megastores, he also founded Virgin Atlantic, the airline company in 1984.  In 1999, he established Virgin Mobile.  He entered what he considered a risky business by starting Virgin Trains which won franchises of British Rail.

His airline has also acquired other European/African airlines and rebranded the Virgin group. He signed a deal in 2004 under a new space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, to take paying passengers into suborbital space.  He is also forming Virgin Fuels which is tasked with finding a cleaner-burning alternative fuel for vehicles and jets.  There is also a Virgin Racing team which has not made a big splash, but they are trying to develop a less “dirty” fuel for the Formula One Racing.   Lastly, Branson has interests in a drone company, 3DRobotics.

Branson has also diverged interests and created Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation which is an entertainment company focused on creating new stories and characters for a global audience.

In the healthcare sector, Branson established Virgin Health Bank which offers umbilical cord blood stem cells in private and public stem-cell banks. Virgin Care has been contracted by the local primary care trust and is in charge of 230 locations.

Top 7 Tips to be a Successful Leader of Your Business – Richard Branson

  1. Be Visible – continually interact with your employees asking how they feel they can better interact and serve customers. Interact with your customers, asking how their experience was and how you can better serve them.  Keep notes in a dedicated notebook.
  2. Express a passionate commitment to serving the customer. You want to give them an experience and superior service they cannot get anywhere else.
  3. Your company’s employees are your greatest asset. How your employees interact with your customers will make or break your company.  And how owners and managers interact with employees will set the tone for how employees interact with customers.
  4. Hire people who have the attitude you want. Seek to find people who are friendly, helpful, and optimistic.
  5. Empower your employees to solve problems and make every experience great. And when your employees are able to do this, praise them publically so they know how much you appreciate their efforts.
  6. Engage with Social Media with a genuine voice. If you are the head of your company, you need to be engaging with your customers through social media and not task it to a subordinate.
  7. Have Fun! Do not take yourself too seriously.

 

Business should be about more than just accumulation of money.  There should be a purpose behind your company, and the purpose can be defined by consulting with your staff and employees. Employees should have a voice in helping define the purpose of the company, whether is it to better the human condition or better the environment.  Businesses should implement an environment of sustainability, whatever that means for your business. Some ideas are changes to the HVAC, water use, electricity use, and waste use.  One of Branson’s quotes is “Don’t betray your dreams for the sake of fitting in.  Dreamers move the world forward”

More Richard Branson Quotes on Business

On Authenticity:

  1. “To me, business isn’t about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas, and focusing on the essentials.”

On Positivity:

  1. “My general attitude to life is to enjoy every minute of every day. I never do anything with a feeling of “Oh, God, I’ve got to do this today.”
  2. “A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”

On Entrepreneurship:

  1. “Entrepreneurship is about turning what excites you in life into capital, so that you can do more of it and move forward with it.”
  2. “I believe that drudgery and clock watching are a terrible betrayal of that universal, inborn entrepreneurial spirit.”

On Caring:

  1. “Having a personality of caring about people is important. You can’t be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them.”
  2. “A business is simply an idea to make other people’s lives better.”

On Challenges:

  1. “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges, and trying to rise above them.”
  2. “My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had–every day I’m learning something new.”

Summing Things Up:

  1. “Above all, you want to create something you’re proud of. This has always been my philosophy of business. I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive, then I believe you are better off not doing it.”
  2. “I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.”

Inc. Magazine (http://www.inc.com/jeremy-goldman/11-richard-branson-quotes-to-encourage-fulfillment-at-work.html)

 

Non-profit Efforts

Branson launched an investment partnership called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition whose goal is to propel new energy technologies through commercialization.  This coalition is working with a growing group of companies to make sustainable energy a reality.  Mr. Branson’s non-profit, Virgin Unite, will be looking to help bring solar and wind energy to Africa and beyond in the form of mini-grids to power rural villages.  Branson is helping to increase investment in renewable energy to help lower greenhouse gases world-wide and to eventually replace the again nuclear, coal, and gas power plants.

Sources: Wikipedia, www.virgin.com

 

Hello world!

Welcome to this website.  I will be delving into celebrities who have multiple successful business ventures to try to ferret out what it takes to own a successful business in the 21st century.

Please check back often as I will post frequently.

Genie

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Winfrey is one of the wealthiest women in the world (worth a reported $2.9 billion, she is also the first African-American woman billionaire and one of few self-made women at that level). She also is one of the busiest, with her own production company (Harpo), from-the-ashes TV network (OWN), magazine (O, The Oprah Magazine), and many film projects she has and is working on.

Television

The Oprah Winfrey Show went into syndication in 1986 and was a quick ratings hitter.  She started out on AM Chicago in 1984 before starting the Oprah Winfrey Show.  4500 episodes of the Oprah Winfrey Show, this was always her message: You can.’ You can do, you can be, you can grow and you can be better.  Don’t let people talk you into what you think is you, she advised Steve Harvey once.  Oprah was on television for 25 years, and at the same time she retired the show, she started OWN.

Other Ventures

Oprah also heads a montly magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine.  The magazine was first published in 2000, and the latest stats show a paid circulation of well over 2.7 million even after magazine sales have fallen in the last 5 years.  Oprah gears her magazine to middle-aged women in the upper middle class.  She always appears on the covers, except twice when she has shared the cover.

Oprah also developed her own radio network, Oprah and Friends which aired on XM radio, but the contract had not been renewed in 2015.  It featured notable experts on fitness, nutrition, health, money mangement, spirituality, and parenting.

Harpo Films was folded in 2013.  It had a contract with ABC, then HBO and supplied award winning features and long-form television programs.  However, the long-form program demand for broadcast had dried up.

Business Philosophy

Oprah has built her empire with 3 important philosophies: her team, her values, and her vision.  She selects super smart mentors who adviser her how to do certain aspects of her company she is unfamiliar with.  She invests in top talent, she nurtured Dr Phil and Racheal Ray.  And she nurtures her relationship with her audience, which are her consumers; by listening to what they are say and offering up advice and (used to) famous give-a-ways.  She also has always believed in what she Could-Be, not what she was.  She learned to dream big, and is focused enough to take her dream step by step.  She has always told her team her vision and has been purposeful in execution.  To accomplish what Oprah has takes “insatiable ambition, drive and focus. It takes an iron stomach of stamina,” says biographer Kitty Kelley.

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls opened in South Africa in 2007, which she has contributed $100 million dollars to.

ForbesWoman.com listed Oprahs Best Leadership Secrets

  1. She Carefully Selects her Team
  2. Gathers Trusted Mentors
  3. Values Her Customer
  4. Strategically Extends Her Brand
  5. Keeps Her Brand Focused
  6. Rewards Employees
  7. Dreams Big
  8. Communicates her Vision
  9. Demonstrates a Social Conscience

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2010/10/22/how-to-lead-like-oprah-winfrey-own-rachael-ray-dr-oz-phil/#1e9c2fab7a7e

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/oprah-winfrey-closing-harpo-studios-778784