Fame inspires many celebrities to channel their inner entrepreneur, but some probably should’ve stuck with their day jobs. Sure, Jessica Alba might have hit a grand slam by founding The Honest Company, but not everything a star touches turns to gold.
Take a look at 16 celebrity fails the business world just couldn’t handle, and see if these stars went from riches to rags.
Kayne West’s Pastelle Clothing Line
Before Yeezy graced the runways of New York Fashion Week, there was Pastelle. Rapper-turned-fashion designer Kanye West worked on the clothing line for more than a year, only to complete three articles of clothing and a belt. Fans eagerly awaited the opportunity to buy shirts and accessories from West, but in October 2009 — one day after photos of the pieces were leaked online — his team announced the items would never be released.
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Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer, Elle Macpherson and Naomi Campbell’s Fashion Café
Designed to capitalize on the theme restaurant craze of the 1990s, Fashion Café was a chic franchise with eight locations across the globe. Although not owners or official partners, Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer, Elle Macpherson and Naomi Campbell lent their celebrity names to the restaurant chain and made appearances at café grand openings as part of a profit-sharing deal.
The group’s New York City location opened in 1995, but dishes like Naomi’s Fish and Chips and the restaurant itself failed to resonate with fans and foodies alike. Macpherson parted ways with the brand in 1998, the same year the New York City location shuttered. In 2000, the brothers who created Fashion Café, Tommaso and Francesco Buti, were indicted on 51 counts of fraud.
Britney Spears’ Nyla Restaurant
She’s enjoyed plenty of No. 1 hits, but Britney Spears’ New York City restaurant Nyla wasn’t one of them. Named after her new and former home states — New York and Louisiana — the Midtown Manhattan eatery opened in June 2002. As a silent partner, the only nod to Spears’ involvement was the restaurant name and a few menu items made with a Southern flair.
In November of the same year, the pop star pulled out of the venture, claiming the restaurant was mismanaged. In a written statement, Spears said she was not involved in the daily operations of the establishment.
Her restaurant might have failed in New York, but Britney Spears is a hit at her show in Las Vegas.
Flavor Flav’s Fried Chicken
Flavor Flav tried his hand at the fast food business, culminating in one of the more epic celebrity fails. Flavor Flav’s Fried Chicken in Clinton, Iowa closed in April 2011, less than four months after it opened, because it couldn’t generate enough cash to pay employees. The rapper told TMZ he blamed business licensee Nick Cimino for not running the restaurant properly.
The restaurant’s Sterling Heights, Mich. outpost opened in December 2012, but was evicted in July 2013. Flavor Flav’s House of Flavor in Las Vegas endured a similar fate, lasting just six months before closing in September 2012.
Kim, Khloe and Kourtney’s Kardashian Kard
Fans can’t get enough of the Kardashian sisters, but their Kardashian Kard only got 250 takers. Pulled from the market in November 2010 — less than a month after its debut — the prepaid debit Mastercard faced intense scrutiny over its high fees and the morality of marketing to a largely young, cash-strapped fan base.
A publicity nightmare for the Kardashians, then-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal found the card so alarming he wrote a letter to University National Bank — the card’s issuer — questioning the legality of its fees.
Suzanne Somers’ Suzanne’s Kitchen
ThighMaster queen Suzanne Somers tried to venture into the food business, but things didn’t work out so well. Somers, her husband and their business partners launched do-it-yourself meal prep business Suzanne’s Kitchen in Lexington, Ky. in December 2006, intending to franchise it. The partners didn’t see eye-to-eye on the importance of selling organic-only ingredients so the business closed in April 2007, just five months after it launched.
As if that wasn’t bad enough for Somers, investor John Shannon Bouchillon sued her for the $400,000 he lost backing the business. The case was dismissed by a Kentucky judge.
Suzanne’s Kitchen might have been a failure, but Somers is still one of the most successful infomercial stars.
Mandy Moore’s Mblem Clothing Line
You might not have realized it, but singer and actress Mandy Moore had her own clothing line Mblem for a few years. Launched in 2005, the contemporary label ceased production in 2009. Moore was mostly tight-lipped on the closure, but told Women’s Wear Daily the partnership wasn’t a true reflection of herself or her ideas.
Vicki Gunvalson’s Vicki’s Vodka
No one ever got to taste Vicki Gunvalson’s vodka, but the website for “The Real Housewives of Orange County” star’s failed business venture is mysteriously still up and running. In a series of Twitter posts in July 2015, Gunvalson claimed Vicki’s Vodka had been closed for two years and never launched due to a failed partnership.
Gunvalson’s business partner Robert Williamson III sued her for $250,000 in 2013, citing a laundry list of offenses involving the failed brand. US Weekly reported the “OG of the OC” was still dealing with legal fallout from Vicki’s Vodka as of June 2016.
Hulk Hogan’s Pastamania Restaurant
When some celebrities open a business, they do little more than lend their star power to the brand, but not Hulk Hogan. Otherwise known as Terry Bollea, Hogan was both the conceptualizer and financier behind Pastamania — a restaurant he opened in the Mall of America back in 1995. Hogan tried his best to promote the eatery, but his efforts failed to keep it alive for even a year.
Natalie Portman’s Té Casan Vegan Shoes
A vegetarian since age nine, Natalie Portman has intermittently followed a plant-based diet and had trouble finding cruelty free shoes. Designed under the Té Casan label, Portman’s first collection debuted in February 2008, but prices like $275 for a pair of pumps placed them out of reach for the average consumer. In November of the same year, Té Casan closed its doors, taking down Portman’s vegan shoe line with it.
Nicky Hilton’s Nicky O Hotels
Hotel royalty Nicky Hilton announced plans to renovate two buildings into her own Nicky O branded hotel — her middle name is Olivia — back in 2006. One hotel was slated for Miami and the other Chicago, but they never opened. In February 2007, Hilton was sued by her business partners — Chicago development group Robert Falor Investments and Grand USA Hotel Supply & Restaurant — who claimed she failed to uphold her end of the deal.
The lawsuit accused Hilton of contracting out design work she was supposed to complete herself and charging costs back to the development group. It also claimed Hilton and her team misrepresented themselves as having a background in hotel design.
David Hasselhoff’s Malibu Dave Clothing Line
Reportedly inspired by the popularity of the Don’t Hassle the Hoff shirt, David Hasselhoff announced plans for his Malibu Dave clothing line in 2006. Hoffworld, LLC filed to trademark the name in April 2007, but as is common with celebrity business fails, the surfwear brand never got off the ground. The trademark was abandoned in February 2010 because no statement of use was filed.
Kevin Federline’s Otzi Kids’ Clothing Line
Once upon a time, Britney Spears’ ex-husband Kevin Federline had plans to launch his own children’s apparel brand Otzi. In 2009, Women’s Wear Daily caught up with the backup-dancer-turned-rapper at the Project trade show in Las Vegas. Federline revealed he was in talks for a licensing deal and was at the trade show to do research for his new brand. Nothing ever came of the clothing line.
Heidi Montag’s Heidiwood Clothing Line
She was a hit on “The Hills,” but Heidi Montag didn’t resonate in the fashion industry. Launched in April 2008, her Heidiwood clothing line for Anchor Blue contained affordable pieces in the $10-to-$60 range, but the retailer opted not to extend the contract past its initial one-year term. No specific reason was given for the separation, but a review by The Fug Girls in online fashion magazine The Cut criticized the clothes as containing low-quality material and too-revealing designs.
Montag’s life has only gone downhill from there. She went broke by overspending on expensive purses and plastic surgery.
Vince McMahon’s XFL
Marketed as a more violent and exciting version of the NFL, WWE founder Vince McMahon and then-NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol joined forces to launch the XFL in 2000. Now largely considered the biggest failure of each of their careers, the XFL lasted just one season. The league’s first game drew double the audience advertisers expected, but momentum quickly faded. By the end of the season, its Saturday night time slot was attracting record-low audiences.
Kim Basinger’s Town of Braselton, Ga.
Definitely one of the more unusual celebrity fails, Kim Basinger joined a group of investors to purchase 1,751 acres of the 2,000-acre town of Braselton, Ga. in 1989. The actress invested $250,000 of her own money and her silent partner Ameritech Corporation funded the remaining $19.75 million.
A north Georgia native, Basinger planned to turn the tiny town into a tourist attraction, commercial center and potential film studio site. None of this happened because she filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 1993 after being hit with a $9 million breach of contract judgment for walking away from the film “Boxing Helena.” When Main Line Pictures won the suit, Basinger was forced to sell the town for just $1 million.
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