You probably know Jessica Alba as the star of Dark Angel, Fantastic Four, and Little Fockers. But the Golden Globe-nominated actress and mom of 4-year-old Honor and 18-month-old Haven is equally passionate about a new role: healthy living entrepreneur.
In January 2012, she launched The Honest Company, a natural products line of home cleaners, body washes and lotions, and baby items like non-toxic, plant-based diapers. Next up: The Honest Life, a book packed with tips on how to create a more natural, non-toxic life for your family (she'll hold the preaching, she promises).
From its first year of publication, GH has urged readers to live healthfully
— to take "a walk before breakfast" (1885), "eat more fish" (1932), and get "at
least eight hours of sleep" (1933). The tips here, whether from our early days
or fresh from the latest journals, have one thing in common: They are based on
the best expertise of their time.
Alba sat down with WebMD Magazine and told us about her new business, her new book, her top tips on living more naturally, and which fast food restaurant she hits when she wants to treat herself.
You've said that your daughters Honor and Haven inspired you to launch The Honest Company. Was there one moment when the whole concept all came together for you?
"When I was pregnant with Honor, I tried to find the healthiest versions of everything. I knew I wanted one brand that I could trust, because there was so much confusion in the marketplace. I felt like the more I read, the more confusing and difficult it was to find the best-quality products. So much is marketed to parents and I just felt like, “Do you need this blanket and that blanket, this thing and that thing?” I did so much research and hit a lot of walls and was so frustrated, so I decided I had to do it myself."
How hard was it going from actor to business owner?
"It took three and a half years to put this together! I hadn't ever tried to start a company before, and it took a year and a half to even write a business plan and flesh out a concept. Many times I thought, 'There's no way this is going to happen and maybe I'm crazy.' But every day I wanted this for my family, so I knew I had to keep on keeping on. I have a great partner in Christopher Gavigan, who's the former CEO of Healthy Child, Healthy World and a leader in environmental health. We've homed in on what we would want, what is convenient, and making it accessible and affordable. If you make a high-quality brand but no one can afford it, you're not really affecting anyone."
We all want to live more healthful and non-toxic lives, but it seems like a lot of work and expense to shop organic, buy locally, and so on. How can we make it easier?
"That's why I wrote The Honest Life.Look, you don't have to be perfect at it. I'm not! I just wanted to give all the information in the simplest version, and you take what you can. You can't do everything, that's crazy. Say you really rely on your microwave because it's easy, convenient, and fast. Okay, you don't have to give it up, but choose one that gives off the least radiation, and keep your kid's head away from it when it's running. I just hope that people think about things they might not have thought twice about. Everything isn't safe, and there really isn't legislation in place to protect us from many of these toxic things. We have to protect ourselves."