One could argue that being a public figure and working in the entertainment industry is a full-time job in and of itself and that you’d have little time to do something else on the side. But, as these celebrities proved it, it’s entirely possible to juggle red carpet events and manage a business as well.
We may be used to seeing the faces of celebrities smiling photogenically from magazine covers, but they’re really not just pretty faces. As you’ll see below, some celebrities have evolved their hobbies and side hustles to successful businesses that don’t depend on their founder’s image to attract investor interest.
1. Drew Barrymore runs Flower Beauty, a cruelty-free, affordable beauty company
If you love cruelty-free makeup and are a fan of the drugstore, you’ve probably heard about Flower Beautyalready or have a few of their products in your collection, like the best-selling Shimmer and Strobe Highlighting Palette or the Petal Pout Lip Colors. But did you know that Flower Beauty was founded by actress Drew Barrymore in 2012? The star of Charlie’s Angels and Santa Clarita Diet said that she wanted to launch her own beauty brand because she felt that there was a need for empowerment, especially among young women, as well as a need for reasonably priced cruelty-free products.
Of course, her love of makeup helped too, as did her experience of being on set. Drew Barrymore’s acting career started when she was just six, so seeing industry-leading makeup artists do their magic has been an inspiration to her. Before Flower Beauty, the actress dabbled into beauty by working as a co-creative director for Cover Girl for eight years. She also had some insights into the pace and competitiveness of the beauty industry from her ex-husband’s father in law, Arie Kopelman, who served as President and COO of Chanel from 1986 to 2004. In 2016, the company expanded with the launch of the Flower Home collection, which features a boho collection of furniture and décor.
2. The Honest Company: Jessica Alba’s eco-friendly side hustle
After her first child was born in 2008, Jessica Alba took a break from acting and we haven’t seen her in too many major productions since, but few people know that in the meantime the start has been thriving as an entrepreneur.
The Honest Company, which Alba founded in 2011, was valued at more than $1 billion in 2017, making it a unicorn start-up. At first, the company focused mainly on selling eco-friendly, safe, and natural baby products and home goods. As a new mother herself, Jessica Alba often talked about how difficult it was to find baby products that were safe from harmful chemicals, and that was the core mission of the brand: to boost transparency and offer parents a range of safe products whose ingredients they didn’t have to second guess.
At first, The Honest Company sold only 17 products in the baby diapers and baby wipes categories but now their range has more than 135, plus Honest Beauty, their cruelty-free beauty line. Honest Beauty is now available online and in more than 4,000 stores across the US in Canada, with plans to launch in Western Europe. Over the years, The Honest Company did hit a few bumps, but the fact they stuck to their mission and knew how to course correct helped them stay around for so long.
3. Michelle Williams is a successful trader
Michelle Williams is best known for her memorable roles in small-scale indie movies. But did you know that apart from four Academy Award Nominations she also won The World Cup of Futures Trading Award whenshe was just 17? In 1987, at the age of seven, she watched her father, famous investor Larry Williams win the same award and it didn’t take long until she started to follow in his footsteps, juggling trading with her first acting jobs.
Ten years later, at 17, she took part in The World Cup of Championship of Futures Trading, impressing everyone with her 1,000% returns. Although she’s no longer a trader and has dedicated herself to acting, Michelle Williams spoke many times about how trading can be a great career for women and that anyone can do it because trading education is easy to come by. We don’t know if her results can be that easily replicated, but as a side hustle, trading gained a lot of traction in recent years.
4. Ashton Kutcher is an A-grade investor
As a young kid, Ashton Kutcher juggled many jobs and when he was only 13, he managed to save $1,400 to get a snowboard. A few decades later, he’s not only an accomplished actor and philanthropist, but alsoHollywood’s most active Silicon Valley investor.
Kutcher started as an angel investor and he was particularly fond of connecting tech companies with people who needed them. In 2009, he invested in Skype and, after he met Silicon Valley angel investor Ron Conway (who became his mentor), his career as an investor really took off. In 2010, he teamed up with talent manager Guy Oseary and businessman Ron Burkle to launch A-Grade Investments, a venture capital firm that also received backing from Marc Benioff (Salesforce) and Eric Schmidt (Google). A-Grade’s strategy was to focus on early-stage, promising start-ups and it worked, because in just six years, they managed to turn $30 million into $250 million by investing in now famous companies like Spotify, Airbnb, and Uber.
Later on, in 2015, Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary launched another venture fund, Sound Ventures, this time with a more conservative approach to investments. Kutcher is a keynote speaker at many tech conferences and was even on the TV show Shark Tank. His success story is all the more surprising because he seems to have the recipe for success all figured out. Even if he also invested in a few companies that didn’t really take off, Kutcher’s track record is overwhelmingly positive and worthy of being studied by beginner investors.