10) Jessica Alba
You may remember Jessica Alba as the character Sue Storm from the hit blockbuster, Fantastic Four but besides her incredible acting career, she is quite a home product expert. In 2012, Jessica Alba launched her own household product company called The Honest Company. The line provides home consumer products that are 100 percent organic and non-toxic. After realizing how many unsafe ingredients go into household products, Alba decided to create her own products like lotions, shampoos, wipes, diapers and household cleaners. The Honest Company recently raised over $50 million in capital funding. Although The Honest Company’s earnings are private, the fact that it has shown such promise to investors is a great sign. Alba co-founded the company with LegalZoom and Shoedazzle entrepreneur and founder, Brian Lee.
9) Bethenny Frankel
Many people recall Bethenny Frankel’s enchanted story. We saw her struggle in love and career on the reality show, The Real Housewives of New York City. For years, Bethenny was peddling her line of food and alcohol products hoping one day to find the right business partnership. She just could not seem to catch a break. Finally, it all came together and the ‘skinny funny girl’ from reality TV officially launched, Skinny Girl Cocktails. By 2011, Skinny Girl Cocktails was purchased by Beam Incorporated. Although the purchase amount is unknown, rumor has it that Beam Inc. paid Bethenny anywhere from $39 to $64 million for the company. Bethenny also gets a hefty paycheck to be The Skinny Girl representative, and she receives bonuses if the company reaches certain profit milestones. The company increased 400 percent in the second year!
8) Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen split the role of Michelle Tanner on the hit TV series, Full House but in 1993, they founded the company, Dualstar Entertainment Group, LLC. Dualstar is a direct-to-video business that was based on Mary-Kate and Ashley’s acting success with titles such as, Double Toil and Trouble, and How the West was Fun. They branded their image out to products like clothes, posters, school supplies, and books. They developed a clothing line for Wal-Mart called, Real Fashion for Real Girls and they also launched a very successful couture line for Barney’s called The Row. They also have a sportswear division of clothing called Elizabeth and James named after their other siblings.
7) Jessica Simpson
Jessica Simpson became famous from a reality show blunder. Remember when she did not know if Chicken of the Sea was chicken or tuna? She fooled us all. This lady is one smart cookie. She sure knows how to sell shoes, handbags and perfume. Jessica Simpson had moderate success in film, TV and music before launching her product empire. She started out with her Dessert beauty product line in 2004, and she quickly realized she had what it took to become a major retail star. Jessica and her hair stylist, Ken Paves launched thier hair and beauty product line on the Home Shopping Network. She also released The Jessica Simpson Collection (JSC) a fashion line of handbags, high heels and boots. JSC was the first celebrity brand to break 1 billion in sales. Jessica also has an e-commerce beauty site called Beautymint, an intimates clothing collection and a fragrance line.
6) The Kardashian Family
Whether you love to hate them, or hate to love them, the Kardashian clan is rich and not just from Reality TV. Kris Jenner has turned a crazy reality show into a major merchandising brand of epic proportions. Granted the Kardashian sisters were already in retail with their own boutique-clothing store DASH, but since their rise to fame, the Kardashian clan has launched additional clothing lines for retailers like Sears and Babies “R” Us. They also sell fragrances, shoes, jewelry, socks, bikinis, skin care products, candles, books and more. The Kardashians have had a regular reality show series, as well as several spinoff series.
5) Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani has rocked stages all over the world, and she is NO DOUBT one of the coolest musical artists out there. We know Gwen can write and sing some major tunes, but making it in the fashion world is no easy feat. Gwen launched a high-end women’s clothing line called L.A.M.B. in 2004. Gwen is majorly hands-on with her brand, and the design of her fashion line. L.A.M.B. sells shoes, jewelry, fragrances and handbags. Her clothes are a huge success, and her business brings in about 90 million or more a year in annual sales.
4) Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro is not just one of the greatest Oscar Award Winning actors of all time; he is also quite the restaurateur. De Niro launched Tribeca Grill in New York City with huge success, soon to follow were the Japanese high-end restaurants Nobu. He partnered with investors placing Chef Nobu at the helm. De Niro is listed as a co-founder of Nobu and also provides direction for the business, both creatively and expansion wise. There are now 25 Nobu restaurants worldwide. De Niro also has invested in real estate, in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York since 1989. He also co-founded the film studio Tribeca Productions and The Tribeca Film Festival.
3) Jay Z
Jay Z is one of the top and most successful hip-hop artists of all time. He is also an entrepreneur. His net worth was estimated at about 500 million. He has sold over 75 million records and holds 17 Grammy Awards. His investments include the 40/40 Club, a clothing line Rocawear, Def Jam Recordings, Roca-A-Fella Records and Roc Nation. He has a sports agency called Roc Nation Sports and is a certified sports agent. It really seems as though there is nothing Jay Z cannot do.
2) Paul Newman
Although Paul Newman is no longer with us, he left a financial empire and legacy that consistently gives back. Paul Newman started Newman’s Own as almost a joke back in 1982, and it took off with huge success. Paul used to bottle up homemade salad dressings in reusable wine bottles and give them out as holiday gifts to friends. He started off in salad dressing, and now they sell everything from pizzas to packaged stir-fry. The goal of the company has always been to give 100 percent of their post tax profits to a charitable trust that distributes the money to a variety of organizations. Their products are all natural, and they even had a separate organic line that has branched out into pet food. They have over 100 food products across nine different divisions. The company has reportedly given over $400 million to charities since its inception.
1) Oprah Winfrey
Although Oprah’s daytime talk show has ended, she’s still raking it in at about 70 million in profits a year. Her once struggling network OWN is now out of the red, and the burgeoning network is experiencing steady growth. She is reportedly launching a Tyler Perry talk show on the new network. Oprah’s majority of net worth comes from her 25 years of the hit daytime talk The Oprah Winfrey Show plus her earnings from her own production company, Harpo that launched shows like Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray Cooking Shows and Dr. Oz’s own talk show. Oprah also uses a lot of her entrepreneurial wealth to support her school for girls in South Africa.