Special Report: Jessica Alba’s eco-baby site
Originally published On Tue Jan 17 2012 on thestar.com
by Chantaie Allick Staff Reporter
Jessica Alba and serial Internet entrepreneur Brian Lee have teamed up to launch an online shopping experience for babies and their families.
The Honest Company makes eco-friendly, natural and chemical free products for babies and kids. The brand also has two elements no other baby manufacturer and retailer can boast: cool design and Lee.
Lee is the entrepreneur of choice right now based on the success legalzoom.com and shoedazzle.com. Lee is the pioneer of what is now being referred to as social shopping, where social media and shopping are combined to create a new user experience.
Lee combines star power, a good idea and social media to reach millions of online shoppers.
“We’re trying to emulate the real-world experience of shopping. You do that by making it fun, interactive and social,” said Lee told the Star.
He said prior to the development of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, shopping online was an isolated experience.
ShoeDazzle’s Facebook page has more than 1.6 million followers who can see and comment on each other’s activity on the site. Since tech venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz invested $40 million (U.S.) in ShoeDazzle last spring, Lee’s social commerce model has been copied many times over.
His latest site is the brainchild of Golden Globe-nominated Alba, and child health advocate and former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World Christopher Gavigan, who will oversee product formulations.
Alba, mother to 4-year-old Honor and newborn Haven, says that she feels an intense responsibility to give her children the best possible start.
“I created The Honest Company to help moms and to give all children a better, safer start,” she says on the website.
The Honest Company, located at honest.com, manufactures and sells non-toxic, chemical-free products, from diapers and wipes to shampoos and dish detergents. The diaper designs include anchors, lollipops, and skull and cross bones. Shipping right now is only to customers in the U.S. but the plan is be in Canada sometime this year, said Lee. ShoeDazzle already ships to Canada.
“I think the timing is right in the sense that there are so many toxic baby products out there that are causing harm to our children,” said Lee, who has two children of his own. Honest.com includes credits, subscriptions and social media connections, much like Lee’s earlier projects.
Despite its unique positioning and celebrity brand power, the company faces significant competition in this small market from household staples such as Huggies and Pampers, which have a veritable monopoly on diaper sales in the U.S. They split the market almost 50-50, with all of the other brands sharing what little is left over.
But Lee expects the social element of the site will triumph. They plan to tap into the strong network of online mommies that already exists through Facebook and Twitter.
“Were creating a tremendous social graph all through social media,” Lee said. “It’s definitely a smaller market, but it’s very, very engaged market.”