Proving that they’re just as good at running businesses as they are at reading lines, making music, or dominating in sports, some of the most famous celebs around are master entrepreneurs. Did you know about the famous faces behind these brands?
Jessica Alba – The Honest Company
L.A.’s Finest star Jessica Alba founded The Honest Company in 2012 after the birth of her first child caused her to worry about the toxins in common household and baby products. Originally named Love and Honor, the company did US$10 million in sales its first year alone, offering a line of 17 products. Though the successful company faced some financial hiccups, it’s now on the upswing to becoming a billion-dollar operation, with an expanded line of eco-friendly baby and home products, including diapers, cosmetics and home cleaning supplies.
Mark Wahlberg – Wahlburgers
Along with older brother Paul Wahlberg, who is a chef, Oscar-nominated actor Mark Wahlberg and New Kids On The Block singer Donnie Wahlberg opened the first Wahlburgers restaurant in Hingham, Massachusetts in 2011. The expansion of the restaurant chain coincided nicely with the family’s A and E reality show The Wahlburgers, which wrapped last year after 10 seasons. As of October 2019, the family had a total of 34 restaurants in the U.S. and abroad.
Karlie Kloss – Karlie’s Kookies
Supermodel Karlie Kloss has been creating and selling her healthy brand of sweet treats, Karlie’s Kookies, since 2012. The cookie line is sold and distributed through celebrity chef Christina Tosi’s famous bakery chain Milk Bar. The cookies boast a limited ingredient list, with dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free options, with many reviews still touting their deliciousness. Not surprisingly, models at runway shows seem to be some of the cookie line’s biggest fans.
Dan Aykroyd – Crystal Head Vodka
Launched in 2007 by Ghostbusters star Dan Aykroyd and artist John Alexander, Crystal Head Vodka is known for its distinctive skull-shaped bottle and its pure taste. While it was initially banned in Ontario—where Aykroyd lives—because the bottle design was deemed by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to be in “bad taste,” a 2011 decision finally allowed the alcohol to be sold there. Since its inception, the brand has won many awards at domestic and international competitions.
Drew Barrymore – Flower Beauty
In 2013, Santa Clarita Diet star Drew Barrymore launched her own affordable, cruelty-free beauty line called Flower. Initially only available in American Walmart stores, the brand is now sold internationally. The actress also has her own line of wine called Barrymore Wine, which she launched in 2012.
Armie Hammer – BIRD Bakery
Call Me by Your Name star Armie Hammer started San Antonio-based BIRD Bakery with his then-wife Elizabeth Chambers in 2012. The menu, which features sandwiches, pies, cookies and cakes, is based on classic recipes perfected and handed down in the Chambers family. They have a second location in Dallas, and a third in Denver.
Beyoncé – Ivy Park clothing
A collaboration with Topshop owner Sir Philip Green led to the creation of pop star Beyoncé’s athletic and leisure apparel brand, Ivy Park, in 2016. The line was intended to empower women through sport, no matter what their size or body type, and is named after Beyoncé and rapper Jay-Z’s daughter, Blue Ivy. Beyoncé also owns the meal planning company 22 Days Nutrition which she created with trainer Marco Borges.
Maria Sharapova – Sugarpova candy
Tennis player Maria Sharapova turned her sweet tooth into a business in 2012 when she launched the gummy candy company Sugarpova. She soon expanded the brand to include chocolates, gumballs and—her favourite—truffles. Sharapova’s candies, which are made from natural, non-GMO ingredients, are sold online and at retailers in 22 countries.
Jane Seymour – Open Hearts jewelry
In 2008, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman star Jane Seymour launched her Open Hearts jewelry collection with Kay Jewelers. The brand has its origins in a necklace based on Seymour’s painting of two linked, open hearts, which she had made for her appearance on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. While wearing the necklace, she had a chance meeting with the CEO of Sterling Jewelers, who immediately saw the market potential. Seymour’s Open Hearts collection now features more than 400 items in 14k gold or sterling silver and also sells in Canada and the United Kingdom.
Kyle MacLachlan – Pursued by Bear wine
Twin Peaks star Kyle MacLachlan founded Pursued by Bear cabernet sauvignon in 2005 along with Walla Walla, Washington-based winemaker Eric Dunham. In 2018, MacLachlan said in a Food Republic Today podcast that the name of the wine comes from a stage direction in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, where actors are told to exit the stage as if chased by a bear. In addition to the cabernet, MacLachlan’s company currently produces a syrah called Baby Bear and a rosé called Blushing Bear.
Sarah Michelle Gellar – Foodstirs
In 2015, Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar and friends Galit Laibow and Greg Fleishman co-founded a “junk-free baking” company called Foodstirs. The philosophy behind the company is to make healthy, but easy at-home baking mixes for busy families. The brand has also expanded to include packaged snacks like donuts, cookies and muffins. Foodstirs products are now sold in more than 8,000 stores.
Pharrell Williams – Bionic Yarn
Co-founded by Tyson Toussant and Tim Coombs and backed by Grammy Award-winning producer and singer Pharrell Williams, who serves as creative director, Bionic Yarn is a company that produces textiles from plastic waste collected from the ocean. The company’s eco-friendly material has been used to produce apparel, luggage, furniture and art. Williams has also co-founded fashion labels Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream, and joined with Adidas in 2014 to make a line produced with Bionic Yarn.
Will Ferrell – Funny or Die
SNL alum Will Ferrell is known for his comedic skills and hilarious impressions, so it’s not surprising that his side business is Funny or Die, a streaming website and production company offering short skits and comedy spoofs that fans can vote on. Created in 2007 with Chris Henchy and Ferrell’s writing partner Adam McKay, the site features frequent contributions from comedians and actors like Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Bell. The site’s breakout video was the popular sketch “The Landlord,” starring McKay’s toddler daughter Pearl.
Khloé Kardashian – Good American Denim
In 2016, Khloé Kardashian and business partner Emma Grede launched Good American Denim, a brand of jeans meant to fit diverse body types. Available in a variety of styles and in sizes 0 through 24, the brand was named in an effort to subvert the old-fashioned idea of what constitutes ‘America’s sweetheart.’ “I feel like being a good American is being independent and confident,” Kardashian said when the brand debuted.
Drake – Virginia Black Whiskey
Claiming “a shared passion for style, music and the pursuit of taste,” Canadian rapper Drake teamed up with DeLeón tequila maker Brent Hocking in 2016 to launch Virginia Black Whiskey. When it was released, it broke sales records in Drake’s home province of Ontario, selling 1,779 bottles on its first day. In 2018, Drake and Hocking announced their plans to take the company public.
Venus Williams – EleVen apparel
Tennis champion Venus Williams, who also has degrees in fashion design and business administration, launched her athletic apparel and accessories line EleVen in 2007. In 2018, Williams partnered with Dia and Co to create an EleVen line for plus-sized women, noting that she wanted her designs to “connect with women no matter their shape or size.” Williams also founded the Florida-based interior design company V Starr Interiors.
Ryan Reynolds – Aviation Gin
Though he didn’t found the company, Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds is clearly proud of Aviation Gin, the liquor brand he purchased in 2018. Using his signature sense of humour to tweet about his acquisition, Reynolds wrote, “In the long and in no way disastrous marriage of showbiz and alcohol, so happy to announce I’m the proud owner of a gin company… @AviationGin.” Since taking over, Reynolds has brought the brand into the spotlight by frequently doing segments about the product with celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Richard Branson and Jimmy Fallon.
Kate Hudson – Fabletics
Almost Famous star and fitness fanatic, Kate Hudson partnered with online company Just Fab Inc. in 2013 to create and distribute the yoga and athletic apparel collection Fabletics. Just over two years after the launch, the company celebrated the milestone of shipping a million orders, and later in 2015 opened six physical stores in the U.S. The line includes sporty and fashionable tops, bottoms, shoes and accessories in traditional and plus sizes.
George Clooney – Casamigos tequila
Casamigos tequila brand, which loosely translates to “house of friends” in Spanish, is the brainchild of Oscar-winning actor George Clooney, and friends Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman. With the goal of creating the smoothest-tasting tequila on the market, Clooney and his pals launched the brand in 2015 in Britain. The friends reportedly spent two years and tried 700 samples before settling on the perfect formula for their tequila.
Keanu Reeves – ARCH Motorcycle
John Wick star and avid motorcycle enthusiast Keanu Reeves got into producing the vehicles he loved after he asked designer Gard Hollinger to make him a custom bike. Reeves was so impressed with the motorcycle that he proposed forming a business with Hollinger to create motorcycles for market. The duo formed ARCH Motorcycle Company in 2011, and currently make three premium motorcycle models which are hand-assembled in their Los Angeles shop.