The Honest Company Founder Jessica Alba Rings The Bell
Startups rarely have a straightforward path. We often talk about funding missionaries, not mercenaries. In order to find success, it’s crucial to have a belief in a better future, not just for the company, but for customers and the world. The Honest Company is the embodiment of a mission-driven company that has zigged and zagged and like the butterfly in their logo, flutters ever upward. Today’s Nasdaq Stock Market IPO is proof of that.
We first met Founder Jessica Alba in 2011, but she had been thinking about building a clean products company for some time. After her first child Honor was born, Jessica appeared before Congress to support limits on toxic chemicals in consumer and baby products and she became increasingly frustrated that there wasn’t a single source of clean and sustainable products out there for both her and her family. She teamed up with her co-founders to address that need, and The Honest Company formally launched in 2011. Lightspeed led the Series A to get it off the ground.
The early years of The Honest Company were up and to the right. The company launched less than a year after it was founded, was extremely successful out of the gate, and raised a Series A1 from General Catalyst the very next month. The company grew rapidly for many years through its ecommerce subscription model, adding a variety of new products in the home, cleaning and personal care categories. It rapidly reached 9 digits in revenue. But arguably it added too many new products, and the growing complexity of the business led to slowing growth and missteps. We hit snags with formulations and with packaging and our customer service started to slip.
In 2017, Honest recruited Nick Vlahos to step into the CEO role. Nick has deep operational experience in the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) industry, and had earlier in his career run storied brands like Burt’s Bees, which shares a sensibility with The Honest Company. He brought a strong CPG discipline to the company, paring the product line down to its core Baby and Beauty offerings. Vlahos focused on improving efficacy, implementing an omni-channel retail strategy, and expanding wholesale relationships. Today you can find Honest not just on its DTC website, but also on Amazon.com, at Target, Costco, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and more than 32,000 retailers both online and offline across the United States, Europe and Canada. In partnership with Jessica, Nick steered the company back to positive and profitable growth. As Founder, Jessica remains the visionary behind the company.
Consumers today are ever more conscious about the footprint of the products they use, the impact that they have on both their families’ health, and on the environment. Honest continues to lead the industry in clean, conscious innovation, meeting the customers where they want to be. Lightspeed is grateful to have been able to support the company along its journey from their first institutional round to their IPO today. Congratulations to Jessica, Nick, and the entire team at The Honest Company.