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5 Top Celebrity Entrepreneurs You Wouldn't Expect

By Diana Zarowin - NYU Graduate

Jessica Alba

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Company: The Honest Company:the%20honest%20company:e&pid=g&gclid=CKvW8rnVnMgCFcMXHwodtzcM6A) - Eco-friendly baby products brand, worth an estimated 1 billion dollars. The Honest Company prides itself on being the premier outlet for all-natural, chemical- and hormone-free products ranging from diapers and wipes to sunscreen and baby toiletries.Story Behind the Company: While pregnant with her first child in 2008, Alba decided that she wanted to welcome her daughter into a safe and healthy environment, one free of product toxins. As Alba did her due diligence in the eco-industry, she found she was unable to find companies that directly fit her needs. So, the renowned actress founded her own eco-space. And, my what a success it has been!Favorite Alba Quote: “You should never be the smartest person in the room. There’s always going to be somebody who’s smarter to learn from – and that’s a good thing.”

Mary- Kate and Ashley Olsen

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Company: Elizabeth and James - Contemporary lifestyle clothing/eyewear/ handbag brand brought to you by the dynamic Olsen twin fashionista duo. Elizabeth and James marries the dynamic personalities and styles of its two creators into complementary perfection. While one aspect of the brand portrays “uptown sophistication and feminine detail,” the other end owns “laidback, downtown edge and masculine tailoring.”Story Behind the Company: Though the world knows Mary-Kate and Ashley, first and foremost, as the adorable (and ridiculously famous!) childhood stars that they were, the pair took a greater interest in fashion as they matured. After striking deals with major department stores over the years, the twins founded Elizabeth and James in 2007, as a fashion brand inspired by the their personal wardrobes and a dose of vintage.Favorite Olsen Quote: “Our ultimate goal is to stay in business. We are not here with a specific plan. That’s kind of how our entire career[s] ha[ve] evolved. We will figure things out as we go along.”

Dr. Dre 

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Company: Beats Electronics - Leading audio brand (swanky stylish headphones, earphones, speakers), now a division of Apple and valued at over 1 billion dollars. Beats primarily produces headphones and speakers, making world-class audio products available for personal, everyday use.Story Behind the Company: Formed in 2006 by rapper and record producer Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, Beats aims to provide music users with an audio product that far exceeds the plastic earbuds offered by Apple (and that are generally pretty standard in the music industry). The founders ensured buyers that they would now be able to hear all the music provided by personal audio players, as opposed to the effects of other headphones and earbuds.Favorite Dr. Dre quote: “When the ideas are coming, I don’t stop until the ideas stop because that train doesn’t come along all the time.”

Lauren Conrad

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Company: Paper Crown - Bridal clothing company that brings together modern classy and retro sophistication. American television personality turned author and fashion designer has been designing for major department stores for years, not to mention her successful career as an author as well as curator of a fantastic personal brand at laurenconrad.com. But, in 2010, Conrad and company business partner, Maura McManus, decided to found Paper Crown, bringing their tastefully designed bridal-wear to women everywhere.Story Behind the Idea: Conrad’s style has always been girly and fanciful, with Paper Crown being no different. In creating this company (and its subsequent 17 lines since its 2010 founding!), she hopes to “transcend the boundaries of everyday fashion to customer and fans alike…and maintain and aesthetic that is fresh and forward with a feminine charm.”Favorite Conrad Quote: “There is never just one thing that leads to success for anyone. I feel like it is always a combination of passion, dedication, hard work, and being in the right place at the right time.”

Ashton Kutcher

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Company: A-Grade Investments - Venture capital firm that specializes in tech start-up investing. A-Grade Investments targets consumer-focused businesses that change the way consumers absorb and disseminate information and/or reinvent traditional marketplaces.Idea Origination: Founded in 2010 by actor extraordinaire (and early-investor in many of today’s major startups!) Ashton Kutcher, entertainment manager Guy Oseary and billionaire investor Ron Burkle, A-Grade investments aims to seek out start-up technology companies that are bound to rock the startup game and the world. The venture fund also continues to hold its investments in major popular startups, such as Spotify and Uber.
Favorite Kutcher Quote: “The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful and being generous. Everything else is crap. I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it. Be smart. Be thoughtful and be generous.”

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