As the old saying goes, “Variety’s the very spice of life”, and there seems to be more celebrities than ever before – from influencers, to singers, to actors – who are spicing up their own lives with a side hustles that intend to capitalise on their status and public awareness they’ve gained as a result of their talents in the entertainment, sport of fashion industries.
Be it through the promotion of their own tequila brand, highlighting the numerous health benefits associated with vitamin gummies from their new skincare line, or demonstrating the versatility of a pair of cotton leggings from their latest activewear collection, it is safe to say that our exposure to celebrity side businesses shows no sign of slowing down any time soon,
Looking into these A-List businesses a little further, the research team at WeThrift has crunched the numbers to reveal the most successful celebrity-owned brands on the market. And with the high-profile stats analysed boasting products and brands that range from alcohol and food items, to wellness and fashion lines, who will come out on top when crowning the ultimate Celebrity Side Hustles?
The Hottest Celebrity Beauty Brands
When it comes to profiting from the billion-dollar beauty industry, there are unsurprisingly countless numbers of celebrities who have turned their hand to creating cosmetic lines that seek to represent their personal brands and ideals. It will come as no surprise to many that the top spot for the hottest beauty brand was taken by Selena Gomez’s ‘Rare Beauty’ line, founded by the 31 year old ex-Disney star back in 2019.
The brand boasts 8.2 billion TikTok hashtags throughout the year, and a further 6.3m Instagram followers. Along with this, fans were searching for the products an impressive 617k times a month.
As the most followed woman on Instagram, with more than 430m followers, the starlet’s popularity and loyal following has had a huge impact on the success of her brand – and the fact that she also has a hit single tactically titled ‘Rare’ is an added bonus. Influencers regularly promote the brand on TikTok and recommend its products to their audiences, recent content of cosmetics guru ‘maj.beauty’ recommending the iconic Rare Beauty cream blusher received 122.5k likes and more than 1.6m views.
In second place was ‘Florence by Mills’, a cosmetics line created by ‘Stranger Things’ star Millie Bobby Brown. At the age of just 19 years old, the actress’ makeup line has amassed a whopping 3 billion TikTok hashtags this year alone, as well as 3.3 million Instagram followers. Specialising in subtle, muted tones that promote a natural, dewy look, the makeup line conforms perfectly with the immensely popular ‘clean girl’ aesthetic, which could have contributed to its recent mainstream success.
Regarding TikTok promotion, the makeup brand is not short of attention – with beauty influencers such as ‘@kristinarodulfo’ reviewing a handful of items in a video that received 48.5k likes. An ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) content creator also included some of Brown’s products in one of her videos, which garnered 268.9k likes and 2.1m views. In regards to monthly searches, the line piques the interest of 288k people per month.
Finally, in third place was ‘Fenty Beauty’, developed by world-renowned singer and businesswoman Rihanna. The beauty brand was an instant success, making an eye-watering $100 million in its first 40 days – but this was to be expected, as Rihanna herself has a massive fan base and more than 152m Instagram followers.
When it came to monthly searches, ‘Fenty Beauty’ pipped ‘Florence by Mills’ to the post with 465k fans looking for their Rihanna fix. 4.1 billion TikTok hashtags were dedicated to the beauty brand in the last year, and the line’s Instagram account is followed by 12.6m people.
All of these numbers highlight how having an already dedicated fanbase can allow your business venture to soar, as truly invested fans will always be keen to support their heroes. As well as this, each and every one of the high-scoring beauty moguls seem to create products that effortlessly fall in line with what we know and love about them – such as Rihanna’s product packaging being bold, fierce and unignorable, just like her.
The Top Celebrity-Owned Fashion Brands of The Year
Next up, we analysed the most successful fashion brands created by celebrities – and in first place was ‘Skims’ by Kim Kardashian. The reality star, who boasts 364m followers on Instagram, has always gained media attention for her figure – which is why it made sense to capitalise on this and found a shapewear line. The brand received a massive 4.6 billion TikTok hashtags, along with an average 2.4 million monthly searches.
The only downside of the company seems to be the heavy price of investing in Skims items, with the lowest products starting at £32.00. TikTok is awash with videos dedicated to ‘Skims Dupes’, which regularly go viral, as more people look for affordable alternatives to the influential shapewear collection that has made it acceptable and sexy to embrace your natural curves.
Interestingly, Kardashian’s sister Khloe was also featured on our list, with her brand ‘Good American’ – a clothing line dedicated to denim. Despite being launched in 2016, a whole three years before her sister’s venture, the ‘Good American’ brand still falls behind that of ‘Skims’ on Instagram, with just 2.4 million followers.
Despite this, the line still received 208.1m TikTok hashtags, as well as an average 182,000 monthly searches. As Kim naturally became the main character in ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’, their family reality show, many years ago, it seems that this popularity has followed her into her businesses, too.
In second place on our list was ‘Fabletics’, a fitness clothing brand founded by beloved actress Kate Hudson. The brand garnered 157.4m TikTok hashtags, along with amassing 1.9m Instagram followers over the years.
Hudson has a desirable 1.5m followers on TikTok herself, which she regularly uses to promote her other business venture, ‘King St Vodka’ – highlighting the savviness of her entrepreneurship. ‘Fabletics’ consistently also partners with other celebrities who are in the public eye, like the aforementioned Khloe Kardashian, who launched her own line with the brand.
Finally, in third place was the ever-successful Rihanna, with her intimate line ‘Savage X Fenty’. As one thriving business was clearly not enough, Rihanna’s underwear line has been a booming victory, with 5.2m Instagram followers. The brand also received 686,400 TikTok hashtags, as well as 171,000 monthly searches.
As somebody who is renowned for oozing seduction and confidence, as can be seen in her music videos throughout the years, it is no wonder that so many people are queuing up to look as glamorous as she does. ‘Savage X Fenty’ has also been known to be highly inclusive and diverse with its models, showcasing people of all shapes and sizes to highlight that this range is truly for everyone – a notion that has substantially widened her demographic and target demographics.
Revealing the Biggest Celebrity-Owned Alcohol Brands
We decided to delve into the realm of celebrity alcohol brands – with George Clooney, iconic heartthrob and actor, sitting at the top of the list. Clooney’s tequila brand ‘Casamigos’ was founded in 2013, and has since been a roaring success, gaining 263,000 followers on Instagram and receiving 366.6m TikTok hashtags.
Despite selling the company to beverages giant Diageo in 2017, Clooney remains very much a part of the business, regularly appearing in social media posts to promote new flavours and ranges. Co-founder of the brand Rande Gerber (husband of supermodel Cindy Crawford and Father of Kaia Gerber) stated that the business was never about ‘making money’ – highlighting that, even if financial success is not your intention, global popularity and high-profile status could make it that way anyway.
In second place was ‘818 Tequila’, created by none other than Kendall Jenner – another star of the reality show ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’. The reality star and model was passionate about creating a sustainable and high-quality drink – from the agave plants to the bottle, and that is exactly what she did.
The tequila was a smash hit, with 590m TikTok hashtags and a staggering 1.1m followers on Instagram. These numbers are especially impressive, as the brand was only launched in 2021. Jenner, who has 294m Instagram followers herself, regularly promotes the product and has been photographed in public wearing the brand’s merchandise on numerous occasions, ensuring that it is never far from people’s minds.
Despite the success of ‘Fabletics’, ‘King St. Vodka’ by Kate Hudson landed in 15th place, sitting behind Rita Ora’s ‘Prospero Tequila’ in 14th place. The vodka line received a respectable 449,300 TikTok hashtags, but has only 54,700 Instagram followers – a fraction of what its founder has at 17.6m. As stated previously, the actress regularly showcases the vodka line on both TikTok and Instagram, which made it surprising that the company did not place higher on the list.
Our numbers suggest that, despite the controversy around a brand, truly loyal followers will continue to offer support. For example, Kendall Jenner’s ‘818 Tequila’ received huge backlash for ‘cultural appropriation’, after a 2021 advert saw Jenner seemingly utilising culturally Mexican images of her on horseback in an agave field. As well as this, a rival tequila brand known as ‘Tequila 512’ accused ‘818 Tequila’ of copying its branding – a claim that led to a lengthy lawsuit.
The Most Popular Celebrity-Owned Wellness Brands Revealed
Next up on the list of celebrity side hustles was that of the wellness industry. Wellness refers to, essentially, anything self-care-related that allows you to feel better both mentally and physically – and business is truly booming in this sector. In first place, with 466,000 Instagram followers and a very respectable 9.3m TikTok hashtags, was ‘Kora Organics’. As well as this, the skincare line garnered an average 26,000 monthly searches.
Founded by ex-Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr in 2009, the company has continued to grow and thrive. Success could be partially attributed to the brand being proudly ‘clean’, which refers to having non-toxic ingredients, and also certified organic – something increasingly important to people when it comes to skincare. The organic skincare sector was ‘set to grow from $8.9 billion in 2021 to $9.78 billion in 2022’, highlighting its ever-increasing popularity.
The brand is regularly reviewed and promoted by skincare gurus on the video-sharing platform TikTok, like ‘catherine_lockhart’ who included a range of ‘Kora Organics’ products in her ‘nighttime routine’. The video received 40.2k likes and is one of thousands pushing the brand almost every day. ‘Kora Organics’ has its own TikTok account, too, which regularly posts content and includes its founder, Kerr – who herself has a massive fanbase and 14.5m followers on Instagram.
Second on the list was the infamous ‘Goop’, popularised by none other than world-renowned actress, Gwyneth Paltrow. A long-time advocate of healthy living, the starlet revealed in a 2020 article that her late father’s cancer diagnosis spearheaded her passion for wellness – then, in 2008, ‘Goop’ was born. The company has an impressive 1.800m followers on Instagram and also received 264.1m TikTok hashtags.
The continuous interest in Paltrow’s brand could be attributed to the occasionally bizarre nature of some of the products, such as the now-infamous candle that she claimed ‘smelt like her vagina’. Nothing draws in public interest like shock factor, and this particular product definitely had that. Prior to this, in 2008, the business had to fork out a massive $145,000 in civil penalties over ‘false’ claims made about semi-precious stones that were to be ‘inserted into the vagina’ in order to improve general health – are we sensing a theme here?
As well as this, a Netflix show called ‘The Goop Lab With Gwyneth Paltrow’ aired in 2020, offering fans insight into the inner workings of the company – and also, most likely, allowing people to satisfy their curiosity around the ever-scandalous wellness brand.
On the less controversial end of the spectrum was our third-place runner, ‘Lemme’ by Kourtney Kardashian. Unsurprisingly, due to the savviness of the Kardashians when it comes to social media presence, the brand boasts 426,000 Instagram followers already – despite only being launched in 2023.
The brand is also dominating TikTok, with 100.3m hashtags dedicated to it this year. Focusing on gummies and supplements, ‘Lemme’ leans into Kardashian’s already-established interest in wellness, which was highlighted when she launched the self-proclaimed lifestyle guide ‘Poosh’ in 2019. TikTokers are regularly seen reviewing products from the brand, with one by influencer ‘amandadiaz’ achieving 1.1m views and 107.7k likes.
The Top Brands Owned by Influencers
Lastly, we looked into the most flourishing companies started by influencers – and the brand that stole the top spot was the extremely popular ‘Huda Beauty’, created by Huda Kattan. The talented celebrity makeup artist and blogger launched the cosmetics line in 2013, and the rest is truly history – which can be seen by the brand’s whopping 53.5m Instagram followers and 5.8 billion TikTok hashtags.
As a makeup artist, you have to have your finger on the pulse of the burgeoning makeup trends – like the full brows, cut creases and matte lipsticks of 2016/2017 where, arguably, ‘Huda Beauty’ was at one of its most in-demand points. Eyeshadow palettes like the ‘Obsessions’ line caused a stir, as they conformed perfectly to the trends of the time.
Makeup trends have changed drastically, and now lean towards lighter, ‘cleaner’ aesthetics more than ever before – and ‘Huda Beauty’ has taken note. Their super-lightweight ‘Easy Bake Loose Powder’ is a smash hit on TikTok, with videos praising it garnering millions of views – like that of the one posted by makeup guru ‘mikaylanogueira’ that amassed 1.2m likes. The makeup brand also has a staggering 289,000 searches on average per month, showcasing that interest in the company is not slowing down any time soon.
In second place was another makeup giant – ‘Glossier’ by Emily Weiss, founded in 2014. Though she is no longer the CEO after stepping down to become executive chairwoman, she remains the name people think of when ‘Glossier’ is mentioned.
Weiss previously worked as a styling assistant at Vogue, before launching her own blog known as ‘Into the Gloss’, focusing on interviews about makeup and skincare. This change in direction for Weiss, from styling, to writing, to becoming an entrepreneur, highlights how influencers are capable of creating businesses across various different sectors.
‘Glossier’ has a massive following on Instagram of 2.8m people, along with 2.2 billion hashtags on TikTok – which is unsurprising, as many of the products make it easy to achieve a light, ‘clean girl’ aesthetic. Their bestselling ‘Cloud Paint Blush’ is regularly hailed for its long-lasting benefits by influencers on TikTok.
In third place was ‘Gisou’ by Negin Mirsalehi – a Dutch and Iranian fashion icon who decided to delve into the realm of luxury haircare. This has proven to be the right decision for the fashionista, as the brand boasted 584.2m TikTok hashtags, and has obtained an impressive 817,000 Instagram followers.
Despite being known primarily for fashion vlogging (video blogging), venturing into the hair care sector has been a smash hit, as well as allowing her to honour her parents’ trades of bee-keeping and hairdressing. Her bestselling ‘Honey-Infused Hair Oil’ utilises Mirsalehi honey from her father’s beehives, showcasing the value of her family heritage to the influencer, as well as her marketing qualifications from Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.
While ‘the best’ celebrity side hustle is definitely objective, it is safe to say that already having a large platform and popularity is bound to put you in good stead when starting a new venture. Having millions of followers inevitably means that your new business will be viewed by masses of people – but this, by no means, would make starting a new company easy.
The celebrities we looked into all had a long-time passion for the products they had created, whether they were selling tequila, skincare, clothing, or hair oil. One consistent theme with the most successful businesses was definitely that of social media presence, as the TikTok and Instagram accounts in our data that regularly pushed their products were garnering far more engagement than those that didn’t. It is clear that starting a side hustle requires a huge amount of time and dedication, but it is worth it for celebrities to push their passion projects out into the world.
Methodology: Taking a seed list of the most popular celebrity and influencer-owned brands across the beauty, fashion, alcohol, and wellness sectors, the team at Wethrift analysed multiple data points to give the brands an overall ranking out of 80, with higher scores signifying a superior brand.
Data points and ranking factors collected to determine the total score /80 include: TikTok hashtags, combined Instagram & TikTok following, Instagram engagement rate, countries shipped to according the brand’s website, affordability, monthly searches (Ahrefs), monthly organic traffic (Ahrefs), brand search increases year-on-year (Google Trends).