Saturday, 22 February 2014

We F@#king Did It: Top Five Risky (and Successful) Celebrity Start-ups

After two rounds of presentations, the IconPark panel has heard some crazy ideas.  With the announcement of the top six looming, we’re taking a look at the celebrity start-ups that were born as far-fetched concepts that grew in to award-winning, money printing enterprises.

Adrian Grenier, Churchkey Can Co.

Adrian Grenier co-founded Churchkey Can Co. with buddy and former Nike Designer Justin Hawkins.  The brewery start-up has attracted the financial support from big executives from Facebook, Zynga and CrunchFund, probably because the concept takes them back to the good ‘ole days.  The fully recyclable steel can (satisfying Grenier’s ginormous green thumb) has seldom been seen since the 60’s.  Armed with a ‘churchkey’ (that superfluous triangle thingy found on some bottle openers), you’ve got to puncture this bad boy twice to get it going.  Considering the volume of labour involved, this product might not test well in Australia.

Gwyneth Paltrow GOOP.

It’s the home of the $495 canvas flats who bear romantic pseudo-Sicilian names like ‘Magenta and beige garda’, perhaps to distract the buyer from the outlandish price tag.  Welcome to Goop: the world of Gwyneth Paltrow, actress-come-rockstar’s wife and Mommy.  And it’s pretty good to be her.  This start-up is based on Paltrow ‘sharing’ her lifestyle from parenting tips to her passion for pasta (with a few cheeky advertisements thrown in) and for thousands of women “Goop has become their most trusted girlfriend on the web”.  Yes, that’s what it says on the site. The polarising star has been accused by the media for being out of touch, but the success GOOP proves that there really is a market for $99 yoga pants. 

Zooey Deschanel, Hello Giggles.

The pupped-eyed musician/actress/comedienne does more than sit around in sundresses drinking tea.  She is actually savvy, like super business savvy.  Following the success of Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die website, the 32-year-old adorkable TV star has invested in her own project – a female-orientated online comedy community.  It was deemed a gamble because Deschanel wasn’t interested in brand-entertainment campaigns (think Tom Brady’s thinly veiled Under Armour ad “Buy My Shit LOL”).  According to Forbes, in 2012 the site hauled in $9 mill over 12 months, with over 300 (UNPAID) contributors, and the Fempire continues to grow.


Edward Norton, Crowdrise.


Norton has business in his blood; his grandfather is credited for the invention of the modern shopping mall.  Born with a silver spoon in his mouth didn’t make Norton a dick, in fact, he is one of Hollywood’s most philanthropic stars (he dated Courtney Love for four years; the dude is utterly selfless).  Founded in 2010, Crowdrise is one of the fast-growing fundraising platforms in the world which enables it’s users to gain support for their charitable vocations.  It was risky because these lesser-known causes where fighting against big globally-recognisable charities.  The start-up was named in Barron’s “Top 25 Best Global Philanthropist” beating Oprah, which is always nice.

Jessica Alba, The Honest Company.

Building a company based on a Size zero multimillionaire actress giving parenting advice is a helluva risky move, but to her credit, Alba’s offering is the Target to Paltrow’s Berdorfs.  For most of us, Jessica Alba conjures up images of leather chaps but she wants the world to know that she is a Serious Mommy and someone who gives a shit about the earth.  The Honest Company is a hybrid of practical parenting advice and product sales that specialising in delivering baby-safe products to your door.  Non-toxic conditioning mist anyone?  Alba will reward you with 35% off when you buddle a set of diapers and wipes, so there’s that.

What celebrity start-ups success stories most surprised you?  Let us know on Twitter


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