3 Women Leverage Media Success into Billion Dollar Lifestyle Empires

Pattie Sellers interviews CEO and designer Tory Burch during Fortune magazine’s The Most Powerful Women 2013 event.

Pattie Sellers interviews CEO and designer Tory Burch during Fortune magazine’s The Most Powerful Women 2013 event. Photo: Fortune Live Media | Stuart Isett/Fortune Most Powerful Women | FlickrCC.

Tory Burch, Jessica Alba, and Ellen DeGeneres built their media successes in different branches of entertainment media—film, television, and fashion. Each of the businesses these women have created has been carefully nurtured and grew a loyal audience into a dependable digital community.

Managing and marketing each of these companies is very serious business. In order to attract investors these visionary executives and their leadership teams must carefully build brand awareness and grow a sustainable customer base.

Don’t get confused by bright colors, busy patterns, or environmentally friendly ingredients—this is serious business. It’s so serious that William E. Ford, CEO at General Atlantic, currently sits on the Tory Burch Board of Directors.

The Honest Company

Jessica Alba founded The Honest Company with her partners in 2011. It’s focused on providing environmentally friendly, nontoxic products for the home, babies, and growing families. There appears to be money in this consumer niche, since The Wall Street Journal reported that The Honest Company has raised $100 million in venture capitol, increasing their venture capital funding to a startling $1.7 billion valuation.

ED: A Lifestyle Brand inspired by Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres has wisely leveraged the popularity—and loyal audience—of her daytime talk show and built an affordable luxury lifestyle brand called ED. The company is seriously playful. For instance, it’s spelled ED and pronounced “Ed,” like the name, even though it represents initials from DeGeneres’s well-known name. How loyal are her fans? Her collection sold out 24 hours after going live online. Planned partnerships with The Gap and Bergdorf Goodman make this a company to watch.

Tory Burch

Tory Burch started her empire in 2004 with a popular collection of shoes—Reva ballerina flats—and her business has evolved into a personal lifestyle brand offering clothes, accessories, handbags, and home décor items. Earlier this year it was reported that Tory Burch had grown into a $3.4 billion dollar company. The company is reportedly carefully shepherding its growth and, at this time, has no plans to present an initial public offering.

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