ADWEEK introduces the 2015 class of Young Influentials, 27 individuals from media, marketing, tech and entertainment who are remaking business and culture. From Jessica Alba—the actress-turned-entrepreneur whose Honest Co. has become a billion-dollar retail force—to Mindy Kaling, Gigi Hadid and the brains, muscle and talent behind the likes of Periscope, Girls Who Code and Mr. Robot, these young people are all accomplished beyond their years. They also enjoy outsized influence in the industry and beyond.
PopSugar is Adweek's editorial partner on Young Influentials. Lisa Sugar, co-founder and editor in chief of PopSugar, served as selection committee chair alongside Adweek’s editors. Now, check out this powerhouse group and learn what makes them so influential.
Plenty of Hollywood stars have created their own lifestyle brands—Gwyneth Paltrow, Blake Lively and Reese Witherspoon, to name just a few. But none has scored quite the success that Jessica Alba has with her eco-friendly venture, The Honest Company.
Valued at more than $1 billion, Alba and co-founder Christopher Gavigan built a business focused on transparency, providing products made with natural ingredients to give parents peace of mind, something Alba, 34, herself needed after she'd become pregnant with her first child. Curious about the ingredients in the products she'd keep in her home, Alba found "there weren't the options in the marketplace that I could trust to be as responsible for my loved ones as I was," she tells Adweek. "The brand that I needed just didn't exist, so I had to create it."
While Alba's celebrity certainly helps, it is her mission to create a truly transparent company that helped boost The Honest Co.'s brand profile so quickly. It is also what made its first brush with bad publicity sting this summer after some consumers alleged that the brand's sunscreen was ineffective. That blip did not appear to have detracted from the brand's ascension. "It's assumed that celebrities only endorse products, but I'm here for the long haul to build a brand and grow a business," says Alba. "I'm fortunate to have a platform to amplify my message, and I communicate directly with our consumers. In many ways, our brand has been built organically by engaging our consumers directly. Communication in today's marketplace is a two-way street."
That communication is helping the company grow even more. Last month, it launched Honest Beauty, a cosmetics line that uses natural ingredients. Says Alba: "I know how important it is to listen [to our consumers] because the vision for this company came from my experiences." —Kristina Monllos