It should come as no surprise that with the worldwide influence and popularity of celebrities these days, fame benefits them in unimaginable ways. Many stars who become famous in the entertainment field for one thing, later and very wisely branch off into entrepreneurship.
With a legion of adoring fans and a wide audience in general at their disposal, their side businesses commonly take off to astronomical heights, usually raking in much more profit on the side than they do for their day jobs. Those in the music industry would be wise to take notes, what with the ailing state of record sales and the rumoured lack of money to be found in the music business these days, thanks to piracy and the evolution of music streaming, people simply aren’t paying for music any more.
Thankfully they’re still investing in brands in the form of celebrity. Which is precisely why those of entertainment fame will usually create side businesses such as clothing lines, perfumes, shoes, food and beverages etc. For many stars, their side businesses can generate tens or even hundreds of millions. For a rare few, they can even generate billions. Here are 10 billion dollar side businesses owned by celebrities.
10. Jennifer Lopez – Glow by Jlo
Jennifer Lopez initially rose to fame as a dancer, singer and actress, in the 1990’s. In 2002, Jennifer launched what would become her most lucrative side business to date; her first ever perfume called Glow by Jlo. Today, the triple threat has 25 different scents to her name. According to dailymail.co.uk, Jennifer reportedly makes more money from her fragrances than from her music career, pocketing more than $82 million over the past decade, most notably her first Glow, which has reportedly generated sales upwards of $2 billion dollars. With that kind of passive income, it’s no wonder the superstar bothers keeping as busy as she’s been, recently having wrapped up a world tour, and currently occupying the judging panel on American Idol, for the fourth time. Every year, Jennifer Lopez continuously emerges as number one on the lists of highest selling celebrity perfumes.
9. Olsen Twins – Dualstar Entertainment Group
The Olsen twins, who were first recognized as hugely popular child stars, have a collective personal net worth of $300 million. While today the former child stars are best recognized for their influence in the realm of high fashion, their once immensely profitable company Dualstar Entertainment Group, founded when the pair were just 6 years old and fresh off of the Full House fame, was reportedly pulling in annual sales of $1-1.4 billion, during its peak years in the early millennium. The company produced Olsen twins merchandise, movies, TV shows and even video games, featuring the twins targeted to a wide tween fan-base, and launched a kids clothing line that was responsible for 80% of revenue. Today, the twins are more focused on their high fashion lines, The Row and Elizabeth & James, while still maintaining the more affordable lines, Olsenboye and StyleMint.
8. Paris Hilton – Paris Hilton Perfumes and Handbags
Paris Hilton started out as an heiress turned reality star. Over the past decade, the now businesswoman’s perfume collection alone, which boasts of 17 different kinds, has raked in sales of over $2 billion. Successful fragrances aside, Paris also runs an astoundingly successful fashion empire worth over $1 billion, with dozens of luxury shops all around the world. In 2014, the heiress opened her first Beach Club chain in the Philippines, and is reportedly hoping to expand her growing empire to include hotels and real estate. The former reality TV star has seen most of her success outside of the US; 70% of sales to be precise are international, while only 30% are local. Paris has come a long way since her frivolous and carefree early years of panty flashing and DUI’s, and today, is reportedly worth $100 million.
7. Jessica Simpson – The Jessica Simpson Collection
Jessica Simpson began her career as a singer, but her fashion designing side business has far out lived her music career, and has been way more lucrative for the entertainer. Since its launch in 2005, the singer’s retail empire amasses over $1 billion in sales annually. As is the arrangement with most celebrity brands, Jessica sold the rights to market her name (also referred to as the master license) to the fashion brand developer Camuto Group, for a $15 million advance. The deal also includes a percentage of royalties for sales in perpetuity. The Jessica Simpson collection, which comprises of over 30 different product categories, and an immensely popular shoe and handbag line, earns the singer an estimated $20 million per year in royalties. Jessica’s net worth is a reported $150 million.
6. Britney Spears – Perfume Collection
Britney Spears, who first caught the world’s attention as a recording artist built a perfume empire over the past decade, which comprises of 17 different kinds. Britney’s perfume collection is regarded as one of the top three best selling celebrity fragrance lines of all time. A hefty portion of Britney’s $220 million net worth is derived from royalties of perfume sales alone. The pop star receives a reported 6% of fragrance sales as of 2004, and to date, has sold over $2 billion worth of perfume across the globe, guaranteeing the singer a profit of $120 million. While the hugely popular superstar hasn’t had much trouble earning money from her music career, recognized as the highest paid entertainer to perform at a Las Vegas Residency; paid $475, 000 per show. The performer could retire tomorrow and still earn more money each year from perfume royalties alone, than the hardest working musical artist ever could from record sales these days.
5. Jessica Alba – Honest Company
Jessica Alba, who is best recognized as an actress in films such as Fantastic Four and Honey, partnered with author Christopher Gavigan in 2012, to found The Honest Company, which deals with baby and family products. The inspiration for the non-toxic, all natural product line came when a pregnant Jessica broke out into rashes after using a mild baby detergent, back in 2007. The Honest Co. website is set up so that families can choose what kinds of eco-friendly products they’d like to use and get them in a bundle. Products from food, to hygiene necessities and cleaning supplies, are available on the site. Just three short years after its launch, The Honest Co. is already valued at $1 billion. It’s unclear exactly what percentage Jessica owns in the company but even a mere 5% would add $50 million to her already $20 million net worth.
4. Oprah – Harpo Productions
She started out as a news anchor, then became world renown as a talk show host for a show she would eventually own. Former queen of daytime TV, Oprah Winfrey today has a personal net worth of $3 billion and counting. Harpo Productions, which is Oprah’s multimedia production company (and spells her name backwards) publishes O magazine, employs over 12,000 people, holds 50% of the OWN network, and earns Oprah an annual average salary of $150 million. Oprah Winfrey reportedly went to University for Communications and Performing Arts Degrees, never obtaining a business degree, she never once expected to become the businesswoman she is today. The television icon reportedly owns 100% of Harpo Productions. While Oprah no longer appears regularly on daytime television, the former talk show host frequently interviews celebrities on television programs broadcast on OWN. Oprah Winfrey’s astounding self made net worth is a direct reflection of her worldwide influence among multiple generations.
3. Dr. Dre – Beats By Dre
Record producer Dr. Dre and Record executive Jimmy Iovine collaborated to create Beats Electronics in 2006. The audio company, which produces the highly popular Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, was valued at and sold for $3 billion to Apple Inc. in 2014. Dr. Dre, who owned a 25% stake in the company, netted a reported $502 million after Apple’s acquisition. It’s unclear what percentage Jimmy Iovine held in Beats Electronics but after the company was sold, the record executive’s net worth reportedly increased to $950 million. The acquisition agreement was made up of $2.6 billion in cash, and $400 million in Apple stock. Just to be greedy, Dr. Dre could have earned even more, had he negotiated a royalty deal in perpetuity for his name’s continued use in selling the headphones.
2. Michael Jordan – Air Jordan
Just last summer it was announced that retired basketball player, Michael Jordan’s personal net worth has grown to an approximate $1 billion. Correspondingly, the Nike owned brand Air Jordan for which Michael still receives hefty annual royalties, continues to draw in sales upwards of $2 billion each year for Nike. Air Jordan makes for Nike’s most lucrative celebrity endorsement, even two decades after Michael Jordan’s retirement. 30 years ago when Nike landed what would become their most profitable endorsement deal for years to come, they were in need of a miracle after experiencing unexpected losses in the millions. Michael was disappointed when his initial choice Adidas, wouldn’t match Nike’s offer due to poor timing. It’s probably safe to say that the billionaire wasn’t disappointed for very long.
1. Kathy Ireland – Kathy Ireland World
The world originally came to know Kathy Ireland as a supermodel and actress during the late 80’s. In 1993, the former model and actress endorsed a sock-line for K-mart that became a best seller. The success led to her own clothing line in partnership with K-mart, which led Kathy to found what was initially a brand marketing firm, Kathy Ireland Worldwide. Now recognized as a product licensing company, Kathy Ireland Worldwide draws in $1.5 billion – $2 billion in annual sales. Kathy, who owns a 10% stake in her company and is described by Forbes magazine as the “Prototype for model-turned-mogul,” is recognized as the richest model in the world, worth $350 million. Wealthier than the current highest paid supermodel Gisele Bundchen by $40 million.
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