It wasn't that long ago that Jessica Alba and The Honest Company looked set to ride the trifecta of celebrity-powered startups, boutique commerce and health-conscious consumerism to the top of the sales charts. However, after several lawsuits have been filed impugning the company's wholesome, organic image, Honest now finds itself fighting for its reputation.
That's what the founders of Honest did when they released a statement on Sunday (May 1) defending themselves from pending legal action alleging that their use of non-organic compounds goes against the company's stated goals and runs contrary to the views of its stated consumer demographic. Not only did the founders go to great lengths to point out that all of their products have been reviewed and cleared by several regulatory agencies, but they also threw some shade on what they categorized as potentially misleading motives of the plaintiffs involved in lawsuits targeting Honest.
"While we encourage and support consumer advocacy groups in their work, we believe the group filing this lawsuit should be taking up their disagreement over existing organic standards with the U.S. government, not with Honest," the founders said. "It is unfortunate that some of these groups attempt to leverage the name recognition of Honest — and, more specifically, Jessica Alba — to draw more awareness to their efforts. Just know that it will not distract or deter us from our mission of helping families build happy and healthy lives."
With hundreds of millions in private funding and a $1.7 billion valuation, it's understandable why Honest's founders might be a little testy over claims that their manufacturing processes aren't as forthcoming as they've been marketed. However, such a high-profile venture has to tread carefully when it's already under fire from the very consumers it needs to buddy up to.
“They better be in crisis management mode right now,” Bernhard Schroeder, director of San Diego State University's Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Programs, told Los Angeles Times. “They will have one good opportunity to handle [the situation or] it will be a major hit to the brand.”