It’s no secret that celebrities are paid very, very well once they actually make it big in Hollywood. Stars can command millions and millions of dollars for a role in one movie. Or, even a cool million per episode if they manage to last on a popular television show. Some celebrities diversify by stepping out from in front of the camera and trying their hand at writing or directing. However, other celebrities decide to leave Hollywood and the entertainment industry altogether. They opt to pursue something in an entirely different industry — and some end up quite successful!
Obviously, there are plenty of celebrities who just lend their name to a company and get their face on the packaging. They don’t really put in any work — they just give their star power to the brand. The celebrities on this list, though, built companies that they truly believed in. The fact that they had super-sized salaries from their Hollywood roles certainly helped fund their business at the beginning. However, no business would be sustained if it wasn’t successful — and these celebrities have managed to build successful ventures.
Perhaps they want to ensure they have something to fall back on after they decide to stop acting. Or, perhaps they just have a lot of passions that they want to go after. Either way, these celebrities set themselves apart from the rest with their entrepreneurial ventures.
Here are 15 celebrities who decided to put on their entrepreneurial hats and start their own businesses. Seriously, is there anything they can’t do?
Jessica Simpson (Jessica Simpson Collection)
Jessica Simpson hasn’t been quite as active lately as she was back in the ’00s. After all, she has a family to raise — she doesn’t want to be constantly on the road touring. However, she doesn’t exactly have to worry about putting out a new record just to make money. She has a hugely successful company that keeps her bank account filled.
After the peak of her fame, in around 2005, Simpson decided to create a company, the Jessica Simpson Collection. Many celebrities have tried to start clothing brands before, to little success. There was something about her pieces that found an audience, though, and she quickly expanded. Now, the brand includes everything from shoes to home decor, and a few years ago it was valued at $1 billion.
Certainly not bad for a secondary venture!
Reese Witherspoon (Draper James)
While her accent may be toned down for most of her acting roles, there’s no denying that Reese Witherspoon is a Southern belle at heart. So, once she reached a point in her career where she was happy, she decided to pursue another venture — a lifestyle brand.
She launched Draper James in 2015, and the company has become a huge success since then. And, Witherspoon didn’t just lend her name to the company. She was right in the thick of things, helping make big decisions and even pitching venture capitalists on her idea.
Obviously, it doesn’t hurt that a famous face is associated with the brand. However, it’s the Southern chic pieces that truly keep her audience coming back month after month.
Jessica Alba (The Honest Company)
Jessica Alba has been consistently working in Hollywood for quite a few years now. While she hasn’t been tapped for an Oscar or anything like that, she’s built a successful career. However, back in 2012, she was bothered enough by the toxic baby products on the market that she decided to do something about it. Thus, The Honest Company was born.
Alba, a new mom, helped create non-toxic baby products and household cleaning products. It doesn’t seem like the most obvious choice for an actress, but it was something she was passionate about — and that passion showed. People began buying and loving the products, and the company became incredibly successful.
Lately, there’s been a bit of controversial buzz around the company, but there’s no denying that Alba built a huge brand from scratch. That’s pretty impressive!
Mark Wahlberg (Wahlburgers and Aquahydrate)
Mark Wahlberg has been in the industry for decades now and built a successful career. However, it seems he’s kept his humble roots in mind — he doesn’t want to put all his eggs in one basket! So, he got into business with his brothers.
Mark, his brother Donnie, and his brother Paul created the burger chain Wahlburgers. Most celebrities want to put their name behind ritzy restaurants. The Wahlberg boys just wanted a humble burger joint that people could enjoy a tasty meal at — and their strategy has proven successful! Wahlburgers has locations across North America and continues to grow.
As if that weren’t enough, Wahlberg is also a co-owner of a water company, Aquahydrate. He definitely seems like a busy guy!
Will Ferrell (Funny Or Die)
Will Ferrell is definitely a comedic legend at this point. He’s played so many memorable characters on screen and has fans around the world. He could easily just stick to acting and be insanely successful for years to come. However, that wasn’t quite enough for him. He wanted to get in the entrepreneurial world.
Back in 2007, Ferrell took about $50,000 of funding, and co-founded the website Funny or Die. It seems like a natural fit for a comedian, but still — there are plenty of websites that aren’t particularly successful. There was something about Funny or Die that audiences responded to, though, and the site blew up.
Now, the website is over a decade old, and it also serves as a production company.
Robert De Niro (Nobu, Other Restaurants)
If you ever guessed De Niro was in the culinary world, you’d likely assume he was involved with some kind of Italian restaurant. After all, he’s about as Italian as they get! However, it turns out, he’s got a passion for Japanese cuisine.
You’ve likely heard of the legendary restaurant Nobu — but did you know that Robert De Niro is the one who opened the first one? Way back in 1994, the actor partnered with legendary chef Nobu Matsuhisa to open the very first Nobu. Now, there are locations around the world!
De Niro is also involved in a few other restaurants, including the Tribeca Grill and Locanda Verde. We’re not sure what it is about the restaurant industry that appeals to him, but there’s no denying that he’s been successful at it!
Sandra Bullock (Walton’s Fancy and Staple)
Sandra Bullock has been in the entertainment industry for decades. However, she tries to keep her private life apart from her time in Hollywood. She spends most of her time in New Orleans with her children, and you won’t spot her running errands very often in Los Angeles.
However, every now and then, you might spot her jetting from New Orleans to Austin, Texas, to check on her business. It turns out, Bullock is the owner of Walton’s Fancy and Staple, which is a bakery, deli, flower shop, and catering service, all in one gorgeous building in Texas.
To be frank, we’re a little surprised she doesn’t own even more businesses! She’s had so many successes over the years.
Miranda Kerr (KORA Organics)
Many models decide to get involved in the fashion world by creating their own clothing brand. Miranda Kerr, despite working as a model for years, took a different path. The Aussie beauty is passionate about natural products, so she decided to found an organic natural skin care company, KORA Organics.
Obviously, she uses her own gorgeous skin to sell her products. But, they wouldn’t still be selling if they didn’t actually work! Kerr is the face of the brand and is involved in all aspects of it, from product development to marketing.
We love her commitment to natural ingredients, and how authentic her brand seems. It’s no wonder it’s a success!
Jessica Biel (Au Fudge)
When she’s preparing for a role in an action flick, Jessica Biel has a strict diet and workout regime. However, she saw room in the market for a place that would allow kids and parents to satisfy their sweet cravings and have fun. So, she launched Au Fudge, which is a combination restaurant and marketplace.
The idea behind the space, which is located in West Hollywood, is that it’s a place parents can take their kids. Kids can play and have fun and enjoy kid-friendly meals while parents have a cocktail or two and enjoy their night out as well.
There are plenty of celebrities who own restaurants, but none are quite as unique as Biel’s.
Tituss Burgess (PINOT)
Titus Burgess’ character on the Netflix hit Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt had an iconic rap song, “Peeno Noir.” For some, that would just be another part of a successful show. Burgess, however, saw an entrepreneurial opportunity and pounced on it.
Burgess used his character’s popular song to launch a line of wine — and we can’t think of a better venture. In addition to an actual pinot noir, he also offers a Pinot Pride and Rose Pride varieties.
As Burgess told People, “I’m no sommelier but I know good wine. I know what I would want to drink.” We can’t wait to try his wines! It would make the perfect thing to sip while watching Netflix.
Kate Hudson (Fabletics)
Kate Hudson has a bit of a unique perspective in Hollywood. She grew up watching both her parents working in the industry, so she likely realized it could be fickle. She’s been lucky enough to build a successful career, but she doesn’t want to put all her eggs in one basket. So, in 2014, she launched her own company — Fabletics.
The company is a natural fit for Hudson, who seems athletic and makes fitness a big part of her life. The idea behind the company is that you pay a certain amount for membership and get access to great fitness apparel.
Fabletics just continues to grow with Hudson at the helm, opening a few non-digital retail locations as well as launching fitness videos. The fitness industry isn’t an easy one to succeed in, which makes her accomplishments even more impressive.
Gina Rodriguez (Naja)
Gina Rodriguez’ career is totally on the rise, with her role in Jane the Virgin. She’s getting more and more exciting roles in the film world, and audiences totally love her. However, she wasn’t satisfied with being just an actress — she wanted to add entrepreneur to her bag of tricks.
So, she worked with a partner to co-create Naja, a lingerie brand. Naja isn’t just any brand, though — it creates products for people of all sizes, and uses environmentally-friendly and ethical production processes. Impressive!
Many celebrities would just automatically put their name on a clothing brand, so we love that Rodriguez thought outside the box and found something she’s really passionate about. We have a feeling it’s going to be a big success!
Tan France (Kingdom & State)
Fans of the hugely popular Queer Eye reboot on Netflix fell in love with Tan France, the man responsible for the wardrobe makeovers. He gave tons of good advice on the show, but one thing sticks out in everyone’s mind — the French tuck. So simple, so chic, such a game changer!
It likely comes as no surprise that when France decided to venture into his own business, it would be in the fashion world. He created a fashion brand called Kingdom & State that he runs from his home state of Utah. Now, fans across the country can get a little bit of Tan in their very own wardrobes by buying pieces he approves of.
The brand sells a wide variety of items, from dresses to swimwear, and you know it’s all chic if Tan is at the helm!
Drew Barrymore (Flower Beauty)
Lately, Rihanna has been getting a ton of attention for her beauty brand, Fenty Beauty. Before that, it was all about Kylie Jenner and her lip kits. What many people forget, though, is that Drew Barrymore has been at the helm of her beauty company, Flower Beauty, since 2013.
Barrymore may not seem ultra glam and isn’t the type to rock a full face of make-up at all times. But, that’s exactly what makes Flower Beauty so special. It’s not the luxury product sold at Sephora — it’s an affordable option that consumers across the country can buy and get a little taste of Hollywood at home.
Gwyneth Paltrow (Goop)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, chances are you’ve heard of Goop. For years, Gwyneth Paltrow was just another actress. Sure, she may have shared some of her health and fitness beliefs every now and then, but her focus was on films. Then, she launched Goop in 2008 — and it’s just been gaining steam ever since.
Most people thought it was just another celebrity lifestyle brand, and it wouldn’t last. And, it’s no secret that Goop has its fair share of haters. However, Gwyneth has managed to keep the company thriving year after year. It’s a full-fledged lifestyle brand now, and she’s constantly adding more products to her line-up.
We’re not sure what her end game is. Perhaps one day she’s going to hang up her acting hat for good and just focus on Goop.
References: Go Banking Rates, Glamour UK, Time, This Is Insider, People