There is no doubt that celebrities – actors, athletes and all the other types – have a distinct advantage when it comes to opening a small business. Their name and their fame almost certainly guarantees that a percentage of the population will show up just to see the show.
Unfortunately, this notoriety does not always guarantee success. Here are ten, small businesses started by celebrities that have had varying degrees of success:
Kevin Smith – Comic Book Store
The famed director of Clerks is a comic book fanatic and owns one of the best venues for buying, trading and collecting in the greater New York City area. His store, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, is so renowned that it now has its own reality show.
Steve Carell – General Store
The star of The Office made, by his own admission, an emotional investment to benefit some members of his family. Nevertheless, Marshfield Hills General Store, run by his sister-in-law, is quite a success in the suburb of Marshfield Hills, Massachusetts.
Alyssa Milano – Athletic Wear
Recognizing that women’s athletic teams were not being adequately represented in the athletic wear industry, Ms. Milano created a company called Touch. Her small business now caters to all the athletic women who want to be comfortable and stylish while still being true to their team.
Sandra Bullock – Soy Candle Factory
While Ms. Bullock also owns a restaurant/bar like many other celebrities, her small business soy candle factory named Bessence is far more interesting. Not only are the candles made from non-animal products but also rely on lead-free wicks and other, all natural products.
Rush Limbaugh – Tea Company
His enormous popularity aside, Mr. Limbaugh has created a homegrown drink that succeeds on its own merits. Two If By Tea is available across the country as well as online and is made from purely American-sourced ingredients.
Elizabeth Hurley – Organic Snacks
Starting with a snack line, this industrious lady has branched out into a wide range of products including organically produced meats and vegetables. Her latest foray is into a line of beachwear made exclusively from recycled materials.
Venus Williams – Interior Design
With her firm, V Starr Interiors, Ms. Williams provides the finest interior design services in southern Florida. While she started with the residential interiors of her many friends, the business has grown to include commercial projects as far away as New York and Los Angeles.
Paul Newman – Food
A labor of love, Newman’s Own was founded over 20 years ago and has gone mainstream in its popularity. Still, Mr. Newman and his partners have stayed true to their vision and contribute 100% of all profits to charitable organizations.
Sean Combs (P. Diddy) – Clothing
This is another remarkably successful company spawned from very modest roots. These days, Sean John sells clothes in every major American market and boasts the largest billboard in Times Square and all the proceeds are earmarked for Mr. Diddy’s favorite charity.
As you can see, fame is no guarantee for the success of a small business although it certainly helps. The real secrets to success in small business is a good concept and good execution. This requires a dedicated principal who will monitor the business and make the needed corrections and not just another pretty face.