The Honest Company CEO: Innovation, focus are keys to success

June 14, 2016 | by Judy Mottl

Courtesy of The Honest Company

Ask The Honest Company CEO to describe the online retailer’s emergence into the ecommerce realm and he’s quick to say it’s been a fast four years since opening the doors. It was actually nine years ago, however, when actress Jessica Alba approached the then-lawyer for his help in building a non-toxic healthy brand. At that point Brian Lee had already honed his ecommerce chops with Legalzoom.com and shoedazzle.com.

The company name, however, didn’t take nearly as long to develop. The word ‘honor’ was initially presented in light of Alba’s daughter’s name. And the ‘honor’ led to the ‘honest’ as Alba and Lee wanted the brand to be as authentic and as transparent as it could be with consumers.

As he explained during a fireside chat at the Shoptalk event last month in Las Vegas, The Honest Company’s initial focus was on babies and mommies and a safe and healthy environment for families. The initial 17-produxt portfolio quickly zoomed over 100 and just six months ago it launched a beauty product line as well.

“This year we’re driving deeper into the product categories,” said Lee, acknowledging the learnings process is continuing as The Honest Company is also pushing its products offline, into mainstream retailers such as Target at this point.

“I’m an ecommerce guy, so offline commerce is all new to me,” he said

In fact, a this point The Honest Company is both an ecommerce player, and a brick-and-mortar player as the goal is now how its products get into homes but that they get there.

In fact, down the road, there may even be 'The Honest Company’ store fronts popping up.

“It’s not on this year’s roadmap but an experience location, which may feature an organic café, kids’ activities, may come down the road,” said Lee.

The retailer’s competitors are vast given its to-market strategy is wide ranging. Natural organic brands are the prime challenge though.

“There are so few iconic bands and the question is how do we become an iconic brand. It’s something we thinking about every day,” he said.

A key to success, said Lee, is innovation, offered up two tips toward that goal:

  • Provide a direct line of commerce with customers
  • Keep focused.

“You want to become the company that is going to put you out of business,” he said with a smile.


Topics: Consumer Behavior, Customer Experience, eCommerce, Marketing, Merchandising, Omnichannel / Multichannel, Online Retailing, Retail - General, Technology

Companies: The Honest Company



Judy Mottl

Judy Mottl is an experienced editor, reporter and blogger who has worked for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews. She’s written everything from breaking news to in-depth trends. She loves a great pitch so email here, follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.

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