The Honest Company has had some ups and downs over the years. Launched in 2011, the brainchild of actress Jessica Alba offers baby and kid products with a mind for being eco-friendly and natural. Long a private company, the Honest Co.’s float on the public market was a resounding success and showed that riding the ups and downs has paid off. The company’s IPO raised an impressive $412.8 million. CELEB took a look at Alba’s journey to Honest Company, and Honest Company’s ups and downs over the years to get where they are now.

Jessica Alba Before the Multi-Million Dollar Success of Honest Company

Jessica Alba

Alba has been in the public eye for much of her life. Born April 28, 1981, in Pomona, California, Alba comes from a background of diversity and creativity. Alba was the daughter of a US Air Force member, and consequently traveled a lot growing up. The future actress spent time in California, Mississippi, and Texas, before returning to California to settle down. 

Talented from a young age, Alba studied and practiced hard and already had an agent by the age of 12. Her first big screen role was in the iconic Camp Nowhere in 1994. From there, it was a quick ascent to Hollywood icon. With parts on Flipper as a teen, Alba’s perhaps best-known breakthrough came in the series Dark Angel. The series was an instant cult classic despite only being given two seasons, and Alba was well known by the time she landed roles in Sin City in 2005 and The Fantastic Four in the same year. Alba’s career didn’t stop there and she netted many more big-name films over the years. But it was the actress’s family life that led to the next stage in life. 

In 2008, Alba married her boyfriend Cash Warren, whom she met while filming The Fantastic Four, and they had three children together; Honor Marie in 2008, Haven Garner in 2011, and Hayes Alba in 2017. It was motherhood that led Alba to start her own company, to fill a need she identified as a mother. 

After Honor Marie was born, Alba began to consider baby products in earnest. With a mind towards the childhood illnesses she suffered, Alba’s interest in creating her own baby products kicked into high gear after a product recommended by her mother caused her baby to break out in allergic welts. After three years of searching for the perfect partners, Alba officially launched the company in 2012 with a 17-product selection. 

Honest Company Has Had Highs and Lows

Since the company’s launch, it’s seen some impressive highs and some discouraging lows. Initially well-received because of its focus on natural, eco-friendly baby and kid products, Honest Co. eventually ran into trouble over ingredients and efficacy. 

In 2012, the company earned an impressive $12 million. By 2014, revenue was $150 million, and $1 billion by 2015. Jilt shares part of the secret of Honest’s success; “Tapping into the eCommerce market first as opposed to going after brick-and-mortar stores was important for The Honest Company early on. Cofounder Brian Lee had seen success with the online-only model in the past, backing companies like Warby Parker, where subscriptions for regularly replaced products made customer acquisition easier. That’s one of the big reasons The Honest Company initially focused on building a subscription service for diapers, something new parents often find they run out of at inopportune times. At least, that was Alba’s experience, and it led her to an epiphany: starting with an eco-friendly, non-toxic diaper delivery service would give The Honest Company an entry point to the homes of their target customers, and provide a predictable revenue stream.”

Focused on an online-only market allowed them to do away with the complications and costs of establishing a brick-and-mortar presence, and Alba was able to use her extensive social media presence for marketing. But with 2015’s impressive valuation came a series of setbacks, and important lesson for Alba and company.

AP shares per Yahoo!, “The company promotes its products as using ‘clean’ ingredients, but its image has taken a hit in the past due to product issues. Honest Co. paid $7.4 million to settle a 2015 class-action lawsuit that claimed its sunscreen was ineffective and not natural as the label said. And earlier this year, it recalled a bubble bath that may have been contaminated with infection-causing bacteria.”

For many companies, these hard hits would be enough to sink them. But Alba’s team, helmed by experienced and passionate partners, used them as learning opportunities. They restructured, put their gloves on, and did the work to bring the company back, repairing its image and reworking its products. Honest Company added Honest Beauty, and now the website boasts a whole array of products and parent-centered information to help people live their best natural, healthy family lifestyles. 

Honest Co.’s IPO Rakes in $412.8M 

Jessica Alba

With the meteoric rise of Honest Company’s “unicorn” model, it’s no surprise that the IPO is so strong. The company’s initial float sold nearly 26 million shares at $16 a piece, resulting in a $412.8 million IPO, impressive for a company struggling with image just 6 years ago. The company’s overall valuation is sitting at $1.44 billion per the IPO.

Honest Company, listed on NASDAQ as HNST, includes Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, and Jefferies under its lead underwriters. As HNST went public, Alba shared on Instagram, “Today was a pretty epic #morningroutine -it is an honor to be ringing the bell 🔔 , surrounded by my team and family -this has been 9 years in the making. Deep gratitude to our Honest community for helping us get here today. We are just getting started and I’m thrilled to start this next chapter with all of you.”

Pretty epic indeed – it’s only up from here for the growing company.