Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Honest: Jessica Alba’s Now an E-Commerce Geek (Video)

From the Web 1.0 Matt Damon-Ben Affleck debacle to the stunt-casting of Justin Timberlake as a Myspace impresario and everything in between, I have been more than dubious about any online effort by a celebrity.

Not surprisingly, it is usually a lot of special effects but little in the way of substance, from an entrepreneurial point of view.

So it was nice to be actually impressed by actress Jessica Alba’s fledgling effort to break into online commerce, via a new site called the Honest Company.

Using an interesting online subscription model and aimed at the modern mom, Honest sells its own private-label, eco-friendly and hipster baby diapers and biodegradable wipes, as well as organic bath/skin care and green cleaning products.

Alba, who is Honest’s president and one of its co-founders, was inspired to bootstrap the start-up after having kids and being confused as to how to find nontoxic products for them in a marketplace of questionable offerings.

Thus, she and Christopher Gavigan, author of “Healthy Child Healthy World,” hooked up with an experienced entrepreneur — Brian Lee, co-founder of ShoeDazzle and LegalZoom — to create Honest, which just launched.

Selling its own products using a monthly “bundle” model differentiates Honest from comparable sites, such as Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP, which focuses on classy recommendations of a wide variety of similar fare.

Right now, the online-only Honest effort is using Alba’s high profile and online clout — many millions of fans and followers on social sites like Facebook and Twitter, for example; and also viral marketing, via mommy bloggers — to get noticed.

But the proof will be if Honest can keep its customers coming back every month for more, as it expands its line. (So far, the reviews of the products have been raves, such as this one from salt & nectar.)

Here’s Alba talking about Honest with Lee, in a video interview at the company’s Santa Monica, Calif., HQ:

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When AllThingsD began, we told readers we were aiming to present a fusion of new-media timeliness and energy with old-media standards for quality and ethics. And we hope you agree that we’ve done that.

— Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, in their farewell D post