Jessica Alba mulls Honest China

Actress Jessica Alba is contemplating taking her non-toxic consumer products brand Honest into China.

Honest is a growing range of non-toxic consumer products ranging from baby feeding products to shampoos, personal care lines, vitamins, diapers and blankets. Alba is the chief creative officer and Brian Lee, the CEO.

Now she is considering Honest China.

Last year, US-based Honest achieved $150 million in revenue. Despite being on the shelves of more than 3000 retailers, including Nordstrom, Target, Costco and Whole Foods, some 75 per cent of the brand’s sales are direct to consumer online, the majority of that in monthly subscription packs. Sales trebled in 2014.

“We’re looking at China in particular. We believe our brand will really resonate with the Chinese family looking for nontoxic lifestyle choices,” Lee said.

“We believe it’s a very large market for us.”

A growing number of Chinese consumers have lost faith in local Chinese suppliers of foods – especially products produced for babies and children. A growing middle class is seeking healthier products and don’t trust local suppliers to meet safety standards. So the concept of non-toxic product lines sourced from the US should resonate with a skeptical Chinese population.

Honest expanded its range from 450 to 625 products in 2014 and is showing no sign of slowing its development  program in the year ahead.

This month, the brand launched baby feeding products which Alba told CNBC was “going really well”.

“Our customers are demanding that we go even further and offer solids and snacks and at a later stage, foods as well. And our customers have also asked us to do more personal care, so feminine care is a vertical we’re launching in the summer, and in the fall – beauty. Both of those verticals we’ve been working on for years, it’s just now that we’re at the point we can finally launch them.”

Honest China would most launch via an eCommerce model, but given the brand’s approach in the US, a partnership with Alibaba’s Tmall is not a foregone conclusion.

Honest won’t sell on Amazon because Alba believes in the importance of maintaining one on one relationships with customers and does not want to cede control of the customer experience to another etailer.

Alba said consumers should not consider Honest a non-toxic version of a consumer products company.

“[Honest] really is a lifestyle and a way of life. And we’re also an education platform. In so many ways, it’s a different idea.”

“The core of the business truly is to create a nontoxic world,” added Lee.



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