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Co-founder Brian Lee: you have to be large to make an impact, and selling was never an option
I've talked before about the success of The Honest Company, and some of its future plans, including international expansion, as well as new products and categories. There are some big things in store for the eco-friendly family products company.
It should not be surprising, then, that the company is also looking at potentially going public in the future as well. It's something that The Honest Company co-founder Brian Lee had even previously mentioned to me when it raised $70 million this summer.
"We never started this company with the intent of selling it. We started this company really with the idea that we could make a difference in this world and really create safer and healthier environments for everybody," Lee said.
"I think that, to achieve that, you have to reach a certain scale. You're not changing the world, you're not saying that many people, if you're doing $20 million in revenue. Even $100, $200, $500 million. You get there by being dramatically large and I think the only way we can achieve that by is taking the company public."
Indeed, The Honest Company is a CPG company. That means, despite the financial burden of being public and despite its ability to raise money in the private markets, a public offering means massive marketing exposure. And that's what it needs if Lee's ambitions to become the next P&G are achieved. P&G currently has a market valuation of some $250 million.
True to its roots
But its also important, Lee noted, for The Honest Company to stay true to its roots and that could not happen if it sold itself to a larger corporation.
"There are so many companies out there start with the right intentions," he said. "They say, 'I'm gonna make a car that's better for you,' or whatever, and they sell out. They sell out very early. They haven't made that impact and will sell to a large CPG company. The first thing that these companies do is they change the formulations on the products. So you haven’t achieved anything. You might have put some bucks in your pocket, but you haven't changed anything. And we started with the idea that we wanted to make that change."
So, Francisco joked, have they chosen their bankers? And when does the road show start? And is there a ticker symbol already selected?
"We may go public!" Alba said. "This is not something that is for sure, for sure happening any time soon!"
That said, Lee said in gest, a good ticker symbol may be: ALBA.
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The Honest Company (www.Honest.com), founded by Jessica Alba, Christopher Gavigan, Brian Lee and Sean Kane, was created to ensure that parents have access to non-toxic, eco-friendly, effective and beautiful family products that don't break the bank. Honest.com offers essentials for every family member including diapers, wipes, bath, skin care, home cleaning and health & wellness products conveniently door-delivered through a monthly subscription service of customized product bundles or single item purchase. As a certified B Corporation, The Honest Company strives to promote sustainability, engage employees and community, and support non-profit initiatives working to solve critical health and social issues affecting children and families. Available in the U.S. and Canada.
Joined Vator onFounder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.