The Honest Company
Industry Retail
Founded 2011 (2011)
Founders Jessica Alba, Brian Lee, Sean Kane, Christopher Gavigan, Maria Ivette P
Headquarters Santa Monica, California, New Jersey
Area served
United States, Canada
Key people
CEO Nick Vlahos
COO Sean Kane
CPO Christopher Gavigan
Products Consumer goods

The Honest Company is an American consumer goods company, co-founded by actress Jessica Alba, that emphasizes non-toxic household products to supply the marketplace for ethical consumerism. The company had $170 million in 2014 sales and was valued at $1.7 billion as of August 2015. The company has raised multiple rounds of venture capital and anticipates an initial public offering in the near future. Honest serves the United States and Canada. The company has been the subject of some controversy.



Jessica Alba, co-founder of The Honest Company

I founded The Honest Company on this idea: Everything that touches you and your family--everything in your home--needs to be nontoxic, needs to be effective and beautiful to look at, and needs to be affordable.

Jessica Alba[1]

Alba was inspired by the 2008 birth of her first child Honor and her own history of childhood illnesses to create a company that provided an alternative to the prevalent baby products with ingredients such as petrochemicals and synthetic fragrances.[2] She was compelled to become serious about this venture when one of her mother's product recommendations caused her child a welt outbreak.[3] It took Alba three years to find her business partners—chief executive officer Brian Lee, chief operating officer Sean Kane, and chief product officer Christopher Gavigan.[1] Despite advice that she should start small with a singular focus, Alba launched the company in 2011 with 17 products.[1] While building her company, Alba has lobbied the United States Congress to make the testing of children's clothing and toys for chemical inputs more stringent.[2]

2013 sales were $50 million.[4] In November 2014, the company had 275 employees and was projected to do $150 million in sales. 80% of its sales were online via a monthly subscription service with the remainder being done in department stores and discount warehouses.[2][4] The company eventually totalled $170 million in sales in 2014.[5]

Honest raised $70 million from venture capitalists in the summer of 2014 in preparation for an imminent initial public offering.[1][6] The financing put a value on the company of $1 billion.[2][4] Prior to the 2014 round of financing led by Wellington Management Company, the company had raised $52 million in financing from ICONIQ Capital, General Catalyst Partners, Institutional Venture Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.[7] As of August 2014, the company's products were available at retail outlets in the United States and Canada.[7] The company had plans to expand to England and Australia, but the summer 2014 funding was primarily to prepare for a launch in China.[4] A company press release said the funding was to aid product development and expansion.[7]

Whole Foods and Costco were The Honest Company's initial retail distributors.[4] The company began selling in Target Corporation on June 15, 2014.[8] Other stores that carried the company's products by mid 2014 included Buy Buy Baby and Nordstrom.[9] By the end of the third quarter of 2014, the company carried 90 products.[3] Its leading selling product was diapers, at the time.[1]

In July 2015, Jessica Alba announced that the Honest Co. would be moving their headquarters from 2700 Pennsylvania Avenue in Santa Monica to the top three floors of 12130 Millennium Drive in the Playa Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles in early 2016.[10] The following month, it announced a new round of funding generated an additional $100 million of venture capital, implying a valuation of $1.7 billion.[5] In late 2015, the company acquired Alt12 Apps, the makers of popular apps such as Baby Bump, Pink Pad and Kidfolio.[11]

Honest is known for its eco-friendly products.[12] The company has a strong charitable mission that is likened to Toms Shoes, Warby Parker, and Etsy. It donates products, revenues and labor.[1][4] The company also touts its Honestly Free Guarantee that it does not use "health-compromising chemicals or compounds", including a specific list of products it promises to never allow in its products.[13][14] As of August 2015, the company was thriving without having ever employed traditional media such as print ads, television or billboards.[15]

In March 2017, The Honest Company announced that Clorox veteran Nick Vlahos would replace Brian Lee as Chief Executive Officer. Vlahos worked at other retail brands, including Burt's Bees, Brita and Green Works. Brian Lee remains on the board in an advisory role. [16]

Honest BeautyEdit

On September 9, 2015, the company opened the Honest Beauty brand as a separate entity with its own website and logo. Honest Beauty launched with an 83 element product line (17 skin-care products and a 66-piece makeup range). Its products are derived from botanicals free of parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, sulfates and chemical sunscreens. It will have a brick and mortar presence in a six-month pop-up retail shop in The Grove starting September 25.[15] The September 9 launch took place at Trump SoHo amid the backdrop of lawsuits against its parent company.[17]


A controversy resulted from Honest's SPF 30 sunblock, which resulted in multiple customers complaining of skin burns until it was reformulated (with reduced zinc oxide levels) and repackaged in 2015.[21]

In March 2016, it was reported[22] that Honest's liquid laundry detergent product contains "a significant amount" of sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS, a synthetic surfactant that the company claimed it would "never consider for use in anything. Period."[13][23] In immediate response to the WSJ article, Honest Co. stated that its product does not contain SLS, but does contain sodium coco sulfate which is characterised by The Honest Co. as the "gentler alternative" to SLS.[24] However, sodium coco sulfate is a mixture of synthetic chemicals composed primarily of SLS.[25] Honest's detergent is sourced from Earth Friendly Products (EFP) which did not test for SLS. EFP in turn purchased untested chemicals from Trichromatic West which also did not test for SLS.[26] EFP had removed its claims of SLS-free product from its own website in late 2015.[27]

In April 2016, Good Morning America reported that The Honest Company is being sued for "representing its Premium Infant Formula as 'organic' even though this product contains 11 synthetic substances prohibited under federal law in organic products.[28]"


  1. ^ a b c d e f Blakely, Lindsay (November 2014). "How Jessica Alba Proved Her Doubters Wrong". Inc. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Harlow, John (19 November 2014). "Jessica Alba to float $1bn eco-friendly product company". The Australian. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Atkinson, Claire (2014-09-29). "Jessica Alba's baby spurred Honest Company startup". New York Post. Retrieved 2014-11-13. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Chapman, Lizette (2014-08-26). "Jessica Alba's The Honest Co. Raises $70M, Preps for IPO". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-11-12. 
  5. ^ a b MacMillan, Douglas & Rolfe Winkler (2015-08-13). "Jessica Alba's Startup, Honest, Valued at $1.7 Billion". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  6. ^ Lorenzetti, Laura (26 August 2014). "Jessica Alba startup The Honest Co. raises $70 million as it heads toward IPO". Fortune (magazine). Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c Johnson, Zach (2014-08-27). "News/Jessica Alba's The Honest Company Valued at Nearly $1 Billion Two Years After Its Launch". Eonline. Retrieved 2014-11-12. 
  8. ^ "Jessica Alba's The Honest Company Will Launch at Target". Target Corporation. 2014-06-01. Retrieved 2014-11-13. 
  9. ^ Chesters, Laura & Maria Tadeo (2014-08-28). "The Honest Company: Jessica Alba's diaper business valued at $1 billion ahead of IPO". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-11-13. 
  10. ^ "Honest Co. moving headquarters to Playa Vista". LA Biz. 2015-07-28. Retrieved 2015-07-29. 
  11. ^ "Jessica Alba's Honest Company quietly acquired BabyBump, Pink Pad app-maker last year". 2016-02-08. Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  12. ^ Greenfield, Rebecca (9 September 2014). "How The Honest Company Nailed The Formula For Eco-Friendly Products". Fast Company. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Moran, Gwen (2015-09-09). "Jessica Alba's Honest Company Just Launched a Beauty Line". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  14. ^ Zarya, Valentina (2015-08-14). "Telling the truth pays: Jessica Alba's Honest Company is worth $1.7 billion". Fortune. Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  15. ^ a b Medina, Marcy (2015-08-19). "Jessica Alba Launches Honest Beauty". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  16. ^ Thomas, Lauren (2017-03-16). "Jessica Alba's Honest Company just got a new CEO". CNBC. Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  17. ^ Muto, Jordan (2015-09-13). "Jessica Alba launches beauty line amid Honest Company lawsuits". USA Today. Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  18. ^ Novak, Matt. "Jessica Alba's Honest Company Makes Canceling a Subscription Virtually Impossible, Consumers Allege". Gizmodo. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  19. ^ "Customers Say Honest Company Not So Honest About Subscriptions". 5 October 2016. 
  20. ^ Brown, Bruce (5 October 2016). "Why is it so hard to cancel a subscription to Jessica Alba's Honest Company?". Digital Trends. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  21. ^ Kroll, David (2015-08-03). "The Failure Of Jessica Alba's Honest Company Sunscreen Explained". Forbes. Retrieved 2015-08-05. 
  22. ^ Ng, Serena. "Laundry Detergent From Jessica Alba's Honest Co. Contains Ingredient It Pledged to Avoid". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  23. ^ honestly FREE guarantee at the Wayback Machine (archived February 2, 2016)
  24. ^ Rosenthal, Mike (2016-03-11). "Jessica Alba's Honest Co. Lashes Out Over Ingredients Report". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  25. ^ Gloxhuber, C., Klaus Kunster (1992). Anionic Surfactants: Biochemistry, toxicology, dermatology (2nd ed.). New York. 
  26. ^ Sherman, Erik (2016-03-11). "Jessica Alba's Honest Company Brand Is Burned: Keeping a promise to customers takes more than wishful thinking.". Inc. (magazine). Retrieved 2016-03-15. 
  27. ^ Ng, Serena (2016-03-14). "Maker of Honest Detergent Changed Its Claims: Earth Friendly Products removed marketing claims about sodium lauryl sulfate from its website last year". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2016-03-15. 
  28. ^ KIM, SUSANNA (28 April 2016). "Jessica Alba's Honest Company Sued Over Organic Infant Formula". Good Morning America (ABC). Yahoo News. Retrieved 1 May 2016. The Honest Co. is falsely representing its Premium Infant Formula as 'organic' even though this product contains 11 synthetic substances prohibited under federal law in organic products," Katherine Paul, associate director of the Organic Consumers Association, told ABC News. "This is unacceptable. 

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