Fashion

15 Failed Celebrity-Owned Businesses You Probably Forgot About

February 16, 2021

Nothing screams fad quite like a celebrity-owned business. From J.Lo’s eponymous clothing line to Britney Spears’ short-lived restaurant, plenty of A-Listers have tried their talents in other industries over the years—but not always successfully. Grab a cup of tea and take a walk down memory lane as we remember some failed celeb ventures you probably forgot about. —Cassandra Gill

britney spears’ nyla. No one was on top like Britney Spears in 2002. Right after dancing with a snake at the MTV VMAs (prime Slave 4 U era), the 20-year-old pop princess oddly decided to open a restaurant named Nyla. Located in NYC’s Dylan Hotel, the name represented the Big Apple and Brit’s home state of Louisiana. Her then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, Jessica Simpson and Ja Rule were just a few of the A-listers who attended her June 02 opening—but the partying and fried oysters were short lived. After a drastic change from Cajun to Italian cuisine, several food poisoning reports and financial issues, the restaurant closed less than six months later. RIP Nyla; we really wanted to try the southern Cajun sushi.

jennifer lopez’s madre. Celebrity-owned restaurants were definitely a thingof the 2000s, and savvy business woman J.Lo was quick to jump on that train. Fresh off her Diddy breakup and The Wedding Planner’s success, the star opened up Latin restaurant Madre’s (translates to Mother’s) in April 2002. “It’s a family restaurant with a little bit of sexiness to it,” Jen said of the Pasadena eatery at the time. Whatever her definition of family is (or was), she also hired her first ex-husband Ojani Noa to manage the spot. He was later fired, then sued her for “exploitation of the trust, love and loyalty,” so it’s safe to saythatdidn’t end well. The neutral room was described as “flea market chic” with a “Havana flair” by journalists, with vintage-inspired plates and chandeliers. Madre’s attracted tonnes of other celebs during its six-year run, including Ben Affleck at the onset of “Bennifer,” but eventually closed in 2008.

j.lo by jennifer lopez. Jennifer was ahead of her time in more ways than one. After changing the red-carpet game with her unforgettable Versace jungle print dress (that deep-v plunge!), she became the “it” girl of the early 00s fashion—and one of the first celebrities to launch a namesake clothing line. Jen brilliantly partnered with Andy Hilfiger, Tommy’s lesser known brother, for the brand J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez. The line was quintessential 2000s tacky with velour tracksuits, rhinestones and huge logos—and it had a good run until 2007.

jessica simpson’s dessert. Back in 2004, Jessica Simpson gave the world what we didn’t know we needed: her edible Dessert Beauty line. Yes, you read that right: edible, as in, lotion you can allegedly eat. We say allegedly because a Google zoom-in of the ingredients sounds like cancer in a can and probably like something you shouldn’t consume. Her signature product was a Deliciously Kissable Whipped Body Cream with “real” (what’s the alternative?) candy sprinkles housed in a grocery-store-like whip cream can. Customers were encouraged to “slather it on yourself or a friend to be completely smoochable and delectable” and could choose from her original trio of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Honestly, we’re still wondering how much of this Nick Lachey consumed (they were still married at the time). She kept the Dessert train going with the more affordable Dessert Treats line in 2005, but after multiple copyright lawsuits the whole thing went belly up in 2006.

lisa rinna’s belle grey. Over a decade before The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Lisa Rinna wasn’t just a soap star, she was thesoap star. With a cult following as troublemaker Billie Reed on Days of Our Lives, Lisa jumped in on the early 00s L.A. boutique trend (remember when it was the thing to be photographed at Kitson?) with her own version: Belle Gray. The Sherman Oaks boutique was named for her daughters (and now models) Delilah Belle and Amelia Gray. While the store carried many of the on-trend brands, like Uggs and Seven jeans, celebs loved one item in particular: the Belle Gray sweatpants. Written across the bum just like Juicy’s, the sweats were the Goyard or secret handshake of fleece wear, if you will—they were onlyavailable at the L.A. boutique, so it was a “if you know you know” thing. 

the kardashian’s various ventures. What haven’tthe Kardashian’s tried their hands at? Before SKIMS and Kylie Cosmetics, Kris  (who works harder than the devil) had Kim, Khloe and Kourtney endorsing a number of odd ball ventures, including 2010’s short-lived Kardashian Kard. A photo of the sisters was featured on the prepaid Visa, which ceased to exist after just weeks due to sky-high fees. Around the same time, the girls collaborated on the first iteration of a clothing line: the ultra-tacky Kardashian Kollection at Sears. The 2011 campaign had Kim, Khloe and Kourtney modeling variations of leopard that, rightfully so, became a meme for years to come. Add to the list an entire “celeb lifestyle” boutiquecalled Kardashian Khaos at The Mirage hotel in Las Vegas. From water bottles to key chains, fans could buy all the KarJenner merch their hearts desired; but the store lasted just three years. Of course, how could we forget the one-and-only Dash boutiques where they “worked”?

blake lively’s preserve. In 2014 Blake Lively attempted to become Goop, Anthropologie and Martha Stewart all at once with her business, Preserve. Part retail, part lifestyle site, Vogue and Anna Wintourapparently had high hopes for the business: she was dubbed an “Internet entrepreneur” on a cover (in that same interview, the Gossip Girl star casually dropped she was a “neighbour” of Martha’s—hilarious). Preserve was quickly mocked for its bizarre array of items, including a curried ketchup that cost $10. The venture only lasted a year before Blake admitted that the site “was not making a difference in people’s lives, whether superficially or in a meaningful way.”

justin timberlake’s william rast. 2006 was an—ahem—interesting era of designer jeans. From the obnoxious rhinestone “R”’s from Rock & Republic and the gigantic horseshoe from True Religion, brands were as in your face as they could possibly be. Justin Timberlake decided to jump on the train with his BFF Trace Ayala, launching his own premium brand called William Rast. The ultra-pricey jeans (we’re talking $300 a pair) were seen on everyone from Cameron Diaz to Jessica Simpson before a slow death took them to Target. The brand never seemed to recover from its fast fashion tumble, with JT departing William Rast in 2013.

lindsay lohan’s leggings and self-tanner. Lindsay Lohan is basically the 2000s personified. The nightclub queen launched two products of her own in the decade, both of which seemed inspired by her party lifestyle. The first was a line of overpriced leggings from her label 6126, including LiLo’s personal favourite, lace, which she modelled in the campaign. The strange name tied into Marilyn Monroe’s birthday (June 1st, 1926) who Lindsay was apparently obsessed with at the time. 6126 then expanded to be an entire clothing line, but folded by 2011. At the same time, Linds even launched her very own self-tanning product called Sevin Nyne for all your oompa loompa needs. Her beauty entrepreneur dreams were cut short, however, after a formula lawsuit the following year. More recently, she opened her very own nightclub in Mykonos, the Lohan Beach House, but it’s since closed with no re-open date in sight.

ashton kutcher’s restaurants. There was no greater L.A. hotspot than Ashton Kutcher and Wilmer Valderamma’s Dolce back in 2007. Nearly every A-Lister frequented the Italian eatery—including Ashton’s ex-wife Demi Moore—which debunked The Ivy as theplace to get photographed. It was nearly impossible for mere peasants to get in, and reservations were absolutely required (if you could even get one, that is). Ashton and co. later grew the empire to include the Japanese fusion Geisha House and gourmet burger-themed Ketchup. They ruled the trendy dining scene until the early 2010s, after which they faded into obscurity. 

mary kate and ashley’s walmart line. It’s the brand that made Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen billionaires; following their Full House success, the twins launched their very own line at Walmart called Mary-Kate and Ashley: Real fashion for real girls. From tees to jeans, underwear, fragrance, cosmetics and even an entire magazine, the brand offered hundreds of branded products. Memorably, the Olsen’s commemorated their college experience at NYU with a fragrance duo called Coast To Coast—they represented their home town of Los Angeles with one scent, and the Big Apple with a second. Eventually, the girls decided they wanted to go the luxury route, cut ties with Walmart and started ultra-pricey The Row.

hilary duff’s stuff by duff. Hilary wasn’t about to let MK&A be the only fast-fashion teen line! The then Lizzie McGuire star fronted her very own Target brand, aptly titled Stuff by Duff. The collection offered everything from Tiffany & Co. knockoff bracelets to clothing and a very glittery collection of makeup. Bizarre offerings included a Radio Writer pen that lit up during use (just like the old-school sneakers) and a bright-pink backpack with Hil’s face on it. As the Disney star approached her 20s, she stepped away from the brand, saying she no longer had creative control. 

nicky hilton’s chick. While big sis Paris was off doing The Simple Life, Nicky—the more serious Hilton—made her first foray into fashion. Launched at the height of Juicy Couture and Triple 5 Soul mania in 2004, the hotel heiress jumped onto the embellished T-shirt, hoodie and denim train with her own line, Chick by Nicky Hilton, which curiously looked a lotlike counterpart Primp. Logos, rhinestones and baby angel cherubs were all over her signature hoodies, which also included bedazzled charms on the zipper. After a splash launch party where Paris wore a Stop Being Poor tank top, the line was off to a promising start … until the Gossip Girl era came along three years later. The line simply disappeared.

katie holmes’ holmes & yang. Katie Holmes and her stylist Jeanne Yang launched Holmes & Yang back in 2009—to not much fanfare. Critics were quick to point out that the line seemed to lack creative cohesion altogether, and was too focused on basics like leather jackets and pants that could be found by other designers. After some initial buzz because of Katie, the brand was more or less forgotten by the time it shut down in 2014 due to “interpersonal conflicts” between Katie and Jeanne.

monica lewinsky’s handbags. Monica Lewinsky and her Club Monaco Glaze lipstick had a moment in the spotlight after her affair with Bill Clinton came to light. The former White House intern attempted to channel her publicity into a handbag line later that year called The Real Monica. The brand included an eclectic collection of totes, including one made of green velour with a floral patch (yours for $200) and other interesting combos with leopard and paisley prints. The brand was carried at Nordstrom’s and other department stores for a while, but shut down by 2004.

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