Jessica Alba talks honestly about the road to an IPO

Good morning,

The Honest Company has gone public.

I had a chat with the wellness and consumer goods company founder and chief creative officer Jessica Alba about the road to an IPO.  

Honest debuted on Nasdaq on Wednesday, reaching $23 per share at the end of the trading day, up almost 44% from the initial trading price of $16.

Jessica Alba, founder and chief creative officer of The Honest Company
Courtesy of The Honest Company

Alba is a successful businesswoman, also well known for starring in major Hollywood films. But her business acumen while working in the entertainment industry made it “easy to kind of transition into entrepreneurship,” she says. 

Honest was created in 2011 in response to the lack of natural and sustainable baby products. Now Alba is seeing a strategy for the company coming into fruition. 

My vision, always, from the beginning was to really create this clean lifestyle brand and make it available to people and build community,” says Alba. “Over time, I was building out this strategy with our CEO Nick Vlahos, who joined me four years ago.”

It was called Strategy 2020, she says. “As we looked at all of our options and opportunities in this next phase of growth for the company, what made the most sense was for us to do a public offering,” says Alba. 

In January, before filing for the IPO in April, Honest hired Kelly Kennedy as CFO. Kennedy came to the company with 25 years of experience across the consumer goods sector in private equity backed start-up ventures, and large public and private companies. Prior to joining Honest, her positions included CFO of Bartell Drugs, and CFO of Sur La Table, where she led the company’s IPO process. 

I would say from day one, I’ve always been really interested in diversity and inclusion, especially at our leadership and executive level,” says Alba. That agenda, coupled with Kennedy’s experience of taking both small and large businesses public, made her a top candidate. 

“But I would say most importantly, Kelly really cares about the mission,” Alba explains. “She really believes in Honest. It aligns with her core values as a person.” After many years as an entrepreneur, Alba says she values authenticity and integrity.

With Kelly, the moment we started chatting about our lives and our families, it just instantly clicked and made sense, she says.

As a public company, Honest has to compete with long-established retail brands in beauty and wellness. Alba says Honest is focused on the different life stages of consumers and “being able to build community with them; it’s a very different approach.”

The company’s omnichannel approach means, “We will be on a shelf at Target or Costco, but we will also be online at Amazon,” she says.

Sounds like a beautiful combination.

See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada

Big deal

ADP's National Employment Report released May 5 found that private sector employment increased by 742,000 jobs from March to April 2021. "The labor market continues an upward trend of acceleration and growth, posting the strongest reading since September 2020," Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP said in the company's announcement.


Going deeper

Responsibilities once helmed by the CFO’s office are increasingly available to functions across the organization resulting in a “new normal,” according to a Gartner report. "To meet the vision of a leaner, digital-first finance department by 2025, CFOs need to double down on the things finance can do better than anyone else," Gartner analyst Peter Nagy noted in the report. Nagy identifies the four key areas where finance departments still have comparative advantages: maintaining high-quality data; portfolio-level view of decision support; balance sheet expertise; and end-to-end process design expertise.


Sherry House was named CFO at Lucid Motors, a producer of electric vehicles. House joins Lucid from Waymo.

Kristina Campbell was named CFO at Ripple, a provider of enterprise blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions for global payments. Previously, Campbell was CFO at PayNearMe.


"When you think about the whole spirit of what this crypto revolution is, there’s something pure in what dogecoin has done. It’s a little bit of a middle finger to the system."

— Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital, on how the rise of crypto is challenging the current financial system that "people are unhappy with," as told to CNBC.

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