14 Side Businesses of Hollywood Actors
From comic book shops to venture capital firms, plenty of Hollywood A-listers are using their time away from the set to indulge their personal passions and build successful businesses that aren’t measured in box office receipts.
1. Dan Aykroyd // Crystal Head Vodka
Dan Aykroyd co-founded Crystal Head Vodka with artist John Alexander in 2007 with the goal of crafting "a vessel worthy of one of the world’s purest vodkas." In their case, this means a top-shelf vodka that is triple Herkimer diamond filtered. A 750 milliliter skull-shaped bottle of Crystal Head Vodka retails for around $50.
2. Paul Newman // Newman's Own
In 1982, Paul Newman and author A.E. Hotchner founded Newman's Own, an organic food company that produces a wide range of products, from pasta sauce to popcorn. The company is known for giving all of its after-tax profits to Newman's Own Foundation, which donates money to various educational and charitable organizations. To date, Newman's Own Foundation has donated more than $400 million to thousands of different charities.
3. Ashton Kutcher // A-Grade Investments
In 2010, Ashton Kutcher co-founded A-Grade Investments, a venture capital firm that invests in technology start-up companies, including Spotify, Uber, Fab, and Airbnb. Before he co-founded the venture capital firm, Kutcher personally invested in Foursquare and Skype.
4. Sandra Bullock // Bess Bistro & Walton's Fancy and Staple
Sandra Bullock owns two very successful restaurants in Austin, Texas. In 2006, she opened the high-end eatery Bess Bistro. Later in the year, she opened Walton's Fancy and Staple, a bakery, deli, flower shop, and catering service where her sister Gesine, a pastry chef, created some of its menu items. Sandra Bullock believes that the restaurants' success comes from their family recipes.
5. Justin Timberlake // MySpace
In 2011, Justin Timberlake and Specific Media purchased MySpace.com for $35 million, which is a far cry from the $580 million News Corporation paid to acquire the social media site in 2005. Timberlake is now co-owner of MySpace and reinvented the site into a music discovery platform.
6. Raquel Welch // HairUWear
In 1996, Raquel Welch successfully launched a signature line of designer wigs and hair extensions for women and men called HairUWear.
7. Mark Wahlberg // Wahlburgers
Mark Wahlberg co-owns the casual dining restaurant and bar Wahlburgers with his two brothers, actor (and former New Kid on the Block) Donnie and chef Paul Wahlberg. The first Wahlburgers location opened in Hingham, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, in 2011. Additional locations opened in Toronto, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and New York City. The restaurant is also the subject of the A&E reality show of the same name.
8. Kate Hudson // Fabletics
In 2013, Kate Hudson co-founded Fabletics, an online subscription retailer that specializes in women's sportswear and accessories. The monthly service offers its members personalized sportswear based on their lifestyle and fashion preferences.
9. Clint Eastwood // Mission Ranch
Clint Eastwood bought the Mission Ranch Hotel and Restaurant in Carmel, California in 1986. It used to be a dairy farm until Eastwood bought the property and renovated it into a hotel and resort. He was also mayor of Carmel, California from 1986 to 1988.
10. Steve Carell // Marshfield Hills General Store
Steve Carell bought the Marshfield Hills General Store in Marshfield, Massachusetts in 2009. He bought the general store to preserve it as a local landmark.
“The main impetus to keep it going is that not many of those places exist and I wanted this one to stay afloat,” Carell told The Patriot Ledger. “Just generally speaking, there are not that many local sort of communal places as there used to be ... I think it’s nice for people to actually go and talk and have a cup of coffee and communicate with one another.”
11. Edward Norton // Crowdrise
Edward Norton co-founded Crowdrise, an online crowdfunding site for charities, with film producer Shauna Robertson in 2010. Much like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Crowdrise uses a rewards system to encourage people to donate. Crowdrise has worked with several well known organizations since its founding, including the American Red Cross and UNICEF.
12. Armie Hammer // BIRD Bakery
In 2012, Armie Hammer and his wife, TV journalist and model Elizabeth Chambers, opened BIRD Bakery in San Antonio, Texas. BIRD Bakery specializes in cupcakes, breads, sandwiches, coffee, and quiche. It also creates custom designs for weddings and other special occasions.
13. Jessica Alba // The Honest Company
Jessica Alba co-founded The Honest Company in 2011. It specializes in making non-toxic household products and consumer goods for babies and new parents, which can be found in Target, Whole Foods Market, and other retailers throughout the United States and Canada. The Honest Company's sales topped $150 million in 2014.
14. Kevin Smith // Jay And Silent Bob’s Secret Stash
After Kevin Smith learned that the owners of his local comic book store in Red Bank, New Jersey were planning to sell it and move to Taiwan, he immediately purchased the store for $30,000 and renamed it Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in 1997. The business also serves as a small museum of memorabilia from Smith's movies, including Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy. Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash is also the subject of the AMC reality series Comic Book Men.