Kardashians at E! Peoples Choice Awards 2019

Source: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Business-Savvy Celebrities: The Success Stories and Failures

Hollywood celebs and well-known sports stars have long been known to venture into the business world, becoming the face of alcohol brands, clothing lines and even venture-capital firms. In the last few years alone, a number of A-listers have launched their own beauty brands, including Tyler, The Creator, Ariana Grande and Harry Styles.

Although star power is usually enough to launch celebrity-founded businesses to success, not all make it out there in the tough world of business.

The Successes

Those lucky enough to be deemed ‘celebrities’ are rich and famous, right? Generally, success follows on from fame and it seems to be the rule that the more famous you are, the more money your business will make.

This is certainly the case for the following celebrities, who have made ludicrous amounts of money through their successful businesses.

Magic Johnson‘s Magic Johnson Enterprises

Magic Johnson Enterprises was founded by ex-NBA player Magic Johnson in 1987 with a mission to improve lives and strengthen underserved communities.

The investment company has been involved with Pepsi-Cola, Sony Retail Entertainment (to create the multiplexes of Magic Johnson Theatres), T.G.I. Friday’s, Founders National Bank, 24 Hour Fitness, Burger King, Best Buy, and more.

In 2010 his deal to sell his stake in the Los Angeles Lakers and his 125 Starbucks stores made him US$125 million, approximately A$167 million. This sale and the proceeds from Magic Johnson Enterprises means Johnson is currently believed to be worth more than a billion dollars.

Magic Johnson
Source: BigSpeak

George Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila

There was a rash of celebrities producing their own spirits in recent years. Everyone from Jay-Z to Ryan Reynolds seems to have launched their own brand of spirits, rosés and everything in between, however, in terms of successful business ventures, George Clooney’s tequila is one of the most critically acclaimed and successful.

The Academy Award winner launched his tequila brand, Casamigos Tequila in 2013 in partnership with Rande Gerber, husband of Cindy Crawford, after working on the product for years and sampling thousands of bottles a year in the process.

Clooney’s tequila won multiple gold medals in spirits competitions and was listed as an Oprah favourite. Clooney and Gerber sold the brand to drinks giant Diego in 2017 for a billion dollars.

George Clooney Casamigos Tequila
Source: The Drinks Business

Kevin Costner’s Ocean Therapy Solutions

The feel-good award for best business venture goes to Kevin Costner’s Ocean Therapy Solutions, which sounds like a tropical beach touring company but is actually a very admirable and noble venture.

It produces devices that help clean up oil spills and helped clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 which is considered the largest marine oil spill in history. Ocean Therapy Solutions’ devices can filter 200 gallons, more than 750 litres, of oil from seawater in one minute; an impressive feat and vital form of aid when it comes to minimising the environmental damage of these man-made disasters.

The company made US$15 million from its clean-up efforts following the spill, a humble amount compared to some of the other celebrities on this list, but not everything is about money.

Kevin Costner
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Failures

What happens when the market does not respond to the business, when the business is simply not the right fit or when the misfortunes or private lives of the celebrity owner reflect on the venture and it suffers?

The following celebrities are those who just misjudged the market and embarked on a venture that, for whatever reason, went wrong.

The Kardashian Prepaid Debit Kard

Launched with the intent of parents teaching their teenage children good financial habits, these cards were packed with hidden costs and fees and cost US$99.95, more than A$130, just to get a hold of them.

Dodging US credit card consumer protection laws by not technically being a credit card, the Kardashian Kard was a collaboration between the famous family and Mastercard and did not last very long, the Kard being pulled just a month after its launch.

“This was one of the worst financial products ever introduced,” Bill Hardekopf, co-author of The Credit Card Guidebook, said in a statement.

The Kardashians
Source: Digital Spy

Jessica Simpson’s Dessert Beauty Edible Beauty Products

Have you ever been shopping for body wash and needed some nutrition to continue the perusing and small talk with sales assistants?

In 2004, American singer and actress Jessica Simpson launched a line of make-up and beauty products that could be eaten, licked off and, presumably, drank.

The venture lasted a couple of years and was initially successful but suffered after lawsuits were launched against it.

One was a production dispute with cosmetics manufacturer Cosmojet and the other lawsuit was filed against her use of the name ‘Love Potion’ for one of her products by an 80s rock band guitarist.

Jessica Simpson
Source: Popcrush

The Jeremy Renner App

Jeremy Renner, while not what most would consider an A-list celebrity, certainly had a large following thanks to his exploits in the Bourne and Avengers Hollywood movies.

In an attempt to monetise his following, Renner created his very own Jeremy Renner-oriented social media app in March 2017 as a place for his superfans to meet and talk about… Jeremy Renner.

Fans could also communicate directly with Renner, who would regularly post messages to his fans on the app. The platform included in-app purchases in the form of stars to show off the users’ fan ratings.

This was until a comedian from Canada pointed out that anyone could post on the app pretending to be Jeremy Renner and a notification was sent to users that looked remarkably like Renner himself had written the message.

Jeremy Renner
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Trolls took hold of the app and they were merciless, posting vulgar content pretending to be the famous actor and other Hollywood personalities.

The app was quickly shut down and fans refunded their purchases with Jeremy Renner posting one last time saying the app had “literally jumped the shark.”

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