While many of us may dream of being stars, these stars dreamed of being entrepreneurs. Here are just a few of the women celebrities that are giving it a go in business.
Fierce and business-savvy, it’s perhaps no surprise that former Victoria’s Secret model Banks has gone on to build an entertainment empire. She is founder and CEO of Bankable Productions — the production company behind 20 seasons of America’s Next Top Model. Meanwhile, her investment firm, Fierce Capital (a subsidiary of the Tyra Banks Company), is funding startups.
A supermodel on a mission, Turlington founded Every Mother Counts, a non-profit focused on global maternal health issues, in 2010. As part of her awareness-raising efforts, Turlington directed a documentary film, produced a Starbucks SBUX compilation CD and enlisted a number of corporate partners in her campaign. As a result, the organization has funded improvements in health services and facilities, from Florida to Malawi.
The trend-setting actress’s lifestyle site may be much ridiculed, but Goop — the name is wordplay on Paltrow’s initials — has drawn over 1 million subscribers and inspired a handful of starlet imitators (see Lauren Conrad and Lo Bosworth) who are hoping to gain similar guru status. Beyond the website, Paltrow has put her Goop stamp on cookbooks and city guides.
The Sin City actress is all about clean living these days. Her e-commerce start-up Honest Company peddles all-natural and non-toxic baby and kid products, and has raised $52 million from VCs. Alba is reportedly so involved that she sometimes answers the company’s phones.
No Doubt frontwoman Stefani made most of her stagewear even before she founded her own fashion line, L.A.M.B., in 2003. Stefani has since added two other lines — Harajuku Lovers and Harajuku Mini (for girls) — to her clothing and accessory empire, which to date has rung up in $1 billion-plus in sales.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Rich and famous since their diapered days on Full House, the twin sisters — who earned their first Fortune feature story in 2002 — have dropped acting for the fashion business. The duo’s three clothing brands — which range from J.C. Penney-cheap to high-end chic — have earned them accolades and a growing business that counts Taylor Swift and Michelle Obama among its fans. The company was valued at $1 billion two years ago.
The one-time Wimbledon champ has a killer forehand and a sweet tooth. In 2012, the tennis player launched Sugarpova, a premium gummy candy company. (Sharapova fell in love with gummies while in America as a kid.) It stocks its products in Henri Bendel, hotel minibars, and candy stores on three continents. Sharapova has long been building her business muscles off-court: She also has a handful of marketing deals, her own Cole-Haan accessory collection, and ambitions for a career in business post-retirement.
Best remembered for playing the precocious Punky Brewster in the 1980s sitcom of the same name, Moon-Frye still has plenty of energy. The former child star is now a multi-tasking “momtrepreneur,” with an online kids clothing company, two books, and a parenting start-up, MoonFrye — the company runs a crafts blog and launched a photo app for kids — that drew $2.5 million in funding earlier this year.
Few make it out of reality TV quite as well as Conrad — better known as “LC” back on MTV hits Laguna Beach and The Hills — who, since being freed from the reality fishbowl, has managed to keep her fans and her personal brand in the spotlight. Aside from her fashion label Paper Crown, she designs a clothing line for Kohls KSS , has written best-selling books, and now has a lifestyle website (one of those Goop imitators) that weighs in on beauty, cooking, and fashion.
LC’s sidekick no more, Bosworth (also of Laguna Beach and The Hills) has her own lifestyle website and a startup. Co-founded with a former lawyer, Bosworth’s e-commerce site Revelry House supplies a party-in-a-box — or at least supplies for a party — in a box for lazy and last-minute entertainers. (A New Year’s Eve kit goes for $125.)