Jessica Alba’s The Honest Co. has named a new chief executive officer.
The brand, which went public last year, has tapped Carla Vernón for the top slot. Vernón most recently worked at Amazon, where she was the vice president of consumables, and she will succeed CEO Nick Vlahos on Jan. 9. Vlahos will remain on Honest’s board of directors.
When Alba, the founder and chief creative officer, ideated the brand more than a decade ago, her mission was to make health and wellness-focused products accessible. That brand ethos is resonating more strongly than ever.
“We really are the leaders in the space. What’s working is who we are foundationally: caring about the consumer, and having really strong proprietary innovation,” she said, adding the company is “taking share little by little as we expand,” Alba said.
Though nascent at the time of the brand’s founding, Alba said tenets of Honest are becoming tablestakes across beauty and personal care. “Every CPG and beauty brand has to care about wellness and sustainability. Those are the core pillars for growth,” Alba said. “Everyone else is barely skimming by on single-digit growth. If you want double-digit growth, this is what you need to stand for.”
Alba is bullish on brick-and-mortar. The company expanded into China via Tmall Global earlier this year, while also debuting in Ulta Beauty and Walmart this past July. At the time of its IPO last year, international sales only comprised 2 percent of the company’s $300.5 million in revenues. Expansion in all forms is where Alba’s planning to tap Vernón’s expertise.
“We do half our business online and half our business in brick-and-mortar stores,” Vernón said. “The Honest brand is one of the first true omnichannel brands that was built and designed to be relevant in both [digital and physical retail].”
Vernón cited several tenets to her growth strategy. “There are so many people and households that haven’t even discovered the Honest brand yet,” she said. “The first growth pillar is introducing Honest to even more people in homes, and to do that, Honest has to be available in even more places.”
The Southeast region has seen incremental growth thanks to partnerships with Walmart and Publix, but there’s still room for a wider net. “We have to continue to expand the Honest brand, into the deeper category sets wherever you’re shopping, or to get our Honest business into some of the retailers where we haven’t yet made inroads. We’re working on that,” Vernón added. Other categories “where Honest has permission to play” are also on the horizon, she said.
Those moves all latter up to Alba’s greater mission of democratizing health and wellness. “During my career, there wasn’t a ton of emphasis on the various demographics that don’t always feel seen and heard in the marketplace,” she said. “I understand what it’s like to not always be seen and heard in the world, especially in this country, and the health and wellness space is even more important for people who don’t even realize how transformational having healthy products around you is.”
“We could impact a lot of people’s lives in a really positive way just by speaking to people who aren’t always seen or heard. As a Latina, that’s something I’m passionate about, and I know Carla shares that passion,” Alba continued.