The Honest Company founder chats with Vanity Fair about business acumen, Santa Claus, and more.
Jessica Alba’s billion-dollar business empire, the Honest Company, is more popular than ever. According to Forbes, her estimated net worth in 2016 is an astounding $340 million. Alba’s bank account may soon be growing even bigger. The private company—launched in 2011 and recently valued at $1.7 billion—is reportedly in talks to be bought by Unilever, which makes Dove soaps and Axe body sprays. How did her green start-up become desirable and so enormously successful?
“I think the secret is surrounding yourself with people who are incredibly smart, staying focused on the mission and making sure—regardless the size of your company—is that you have alignment,” Alba told Vanity Fair while attending the grand opening of the Parisian macaron shop Ladurée, in partnership with the charity group Baby2Baby, at the Grove in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening. “Those are all very important things in building a business. It’s helped our company.”
Since founding it in 2007, Alba’s stake in the Honest Company has made her richer than LeBron James ($275 million) and Beyoncé, whose net worth is reported to be about $290 million. Her response to the staggering statistic: “I don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff,” Alba said with a stern look. Her advice to other entrepreneurs looking to build their own company and to be successful as her is to never give up.
When asked if she had any tips for Ivanka Trump, another mother who also runs her own company, Alba is hesitant to provide any guidance.
“She’s way more successful than most people,” she said. “I don’t want to comment on her specifically, because that’s none of my business. She’s a well-established businessperson, and she’s not an entrepreneur trying to start out. She has a lot under her belt, and she’s been running a business for a very long time.”
Politics aside, Alba has no problem discussing the downsides of being a mogul. She may seem to have it all—fame, career, and money—but balancing her work life and family life has been a challenge.
“I’m tired! I feel like a lot of people and a lot of parents feel like they have to juggle their life, and I’m like everyone else. It’s really hard,” Alba candidly admits. “But you know what, I am really lucky to have a great support system . . . Without them, I can’t do it all. I try to prioritize. My kids and family always come first. Time management is something I’m always trying to figure out. No two days are the same. It’s a constant struggle.’
Fortunately, Alba will have some downtime for the holidays and a chance to spend time with her family. As part of their Christmas tradition, she’ll pretend to be Santa Claus for her two daughters Honor, eight, and Haven, five. “They still believe in Santa. Even if my eight-year-old doesn’t believe, she’s leading me on that she still believes cause we say, ‘Santa only brings presents to those who believe in Santa,’ and she wants those presents,” said Alba. “She wrote a letter and she seems to be into it. She’s like, ‘I didn’t write a letter to Santa last year and I got board games and so I’m going to write a letter this year and get what I really want.’ So I was like, ‘Totally. You should do that!’ It’s a fun time. I hope they don’t stop believing.”
By Paul Chi