Jessica Alba: The mother of all parent-repreneurs?

Jessica Alba has raised $70 million in funding for Honest Company, her home cleaning and child-care product business. Alba is in good company with other parents building businesses to meet the needs of other parents.

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Cast member Jessica Alba poses at the premiere of 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For' in Hollywood, California August 19.

Jessica Alba is among the many parent-repreneurs that understands that raising a baby is big business. And with the recent valuation of her company at nearly $1 billion, the actress-turned-business-maven is proving that the trend in eco-parenting is just getting started.

Ms. Alba’a company, Honest Company, which she started in 2011, was estimated at a value of nearly $1 billion on Thursday. According to reports, the company raised $70 million in a recent round of funding, following up on $52 million already raised since it launched three years ago.

Honest Company, which Alba co-founded with Christopher Gavigan, Sean Kane, and Brian Lee, sells "safe, eco-friendly" products ranging from home cleaners to baby supplies.

The actress, who has been featured in dozens of films, and the mom of two kids, has become a model for parents starting businesses to fill needs they see in the marketplace.

In an Associated Press interview about the company, Alba said, “I would buy what I thought was like an eco-brand and pay out the wazoo for it and then find out that it's made with the same ingredients as any other brand, but the packaging is a little more biodegradable and you're like `But I care about the product touching my kid. Is that OK?’ "

The increase in brands for baby care and home care products safe for use around children has grown exponentially in recent years, and has expanded to include more than the basic jarred baby food, all-in-one baby wash, and cleaners that parents were accustomed to choosing from just a few years ago.

According to GCI, a cosmetics industry trade publication, the baby care market was among the best performing areas of the overall personal care market in 2009, with a rising interest in environmentally friendly products. According to research published by Transparency Market Research, the global baby care products market was valued at an estimated $45 billion in 2011, and is expected to exceed $66 billion by 2017. This is due in part, the research says, to a rise in disposable income globally and more parents starting families at an older age, when they are more financially stable.

And financial stability is a key to raising kids today. According to the annual report released from the USDA, the cost of raising a kid in the US, born in 2013, will be more than $245,000 from birth to college. And parents know that much of that will go toward feeding, washing, and caring for a child through their first few years.

Other popular parent-led brands that have popped up in recent years include Aden & Anais, most well known for all-natural muslin swaddling blankets, Ella’s Kitchen, producing organic baby and toddler food, and, a site bookmarked by parents nationwide in need of babysitters and nannies.

And while some of the latest organic products come with higher price tags (a 3 oz. tube of Honest Company diaper cream is listed by one vendor on Amazon for $16.97) than their non-organic counterparts, the availability of these brands at mass retailers like Target are placing them head-to-head with industry stalwarts like Johnson & Johnson.

While Alba might be most notably leading the way in parent-repreneurs, partially because of the star power she packs, she represents more than just a passing fad in raising kids with organic products – but also a kind of ethos about baby care that won’t soon wash away.

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