I am a huge fan of celebrities, or anyone for that matter, capitalising opportunities to build a legacy of their own. Fortunately for celebrities, fame comes with numerous opportunities to diversify one’s revenue stream. But a lot of the time, celebrities tend to get caught up in the hype of being insanely famous and happening at the moment, without considering what the future looks like beyond the fame and bright camera flashes. Endorsements are really great for pockets, and at the most, validate one’s celebrity status, while elevating them to a higher level. But, the truth is, with age, the contracts dry up, the bookings become infrequent. For this reason, I respect celebrities that take it upon themselves to venture into entrepreneurship and establish their own brands. These celebrities are doing more than just posing with a product, they are building legacies.Hollywood starlet Jessica Alba went from Sin City to the cover of Forbes Magazine, thanks to her “unicorn start-up”, Honest Company. At the time Honest launched, I will admit that I took the entire thing for granted. How many times have we heard of celebrities “starting brands”, a.k.a I’m just the face of the brand. It was only after an insert I caught on E! that I actually got to grasp her involvement with Honest. Honest was her brainchild! Shortly after giving birth to her first daughter Honor, Jessica came up with a concept to produce “safe and effective consumer products that were beautifully designed, accessibly priced and easy to get”. Together with her partners, Jessica launched Honest Company, leading with just 17 products in the diapers-and-wipes category.In 2012, just a year after the company’s launch, Honest sales reached $10 million. Shortly after, the company had extended it’s offering to over 135 products, ranging from toothpaste, vitamins, detergent, nipple balm etc), resulting in its sales passing the $150 million mark. Within two years, the company received its “start-up unicorn” certification, which basically applies to companies that reach a $1 billion valuation in less than 5 years. *Bows down gracefully*. Jessica also announced that her company would be venturing into the world of beauty, by launching Honest Beauty.
Dj Zinhle is one of the few local celebrities that have been brave enough to redefine the celebrity business model. She has done such an incredible job with her watch/accessories brand, Era, that it’s almost impossible to hate from the outside. Just a year after launching the brand, Dj Zinhle told The Times that she was averaging 25 watch sales daily, sold only through her website. Two years later, the Era brand had passed the R1 million mark. By then, she had also expanded her distribution channel, partnering with retailer Legit, smaller boutiques, as well as rolling out her successful pop-up stores.
Zinhle is already gearing up to launch her line of earrings as part of her Era brand. To be quite honest, Zinhle is an accessories junkie, I can already foresee handbag and neck piece collections as part of her extension strategy. Her drive and focus should be an inspiration to not just her peers, but to all of us, to always remember to strive to create legacy and sustainable future in all that we do.