Kate Hudson on Privilege, as a Hollywood Entrepreneur


This story is part of the Behind the Desk series, where CNBC Make It gets to know successful business leaders to find out everything from how they got to where they are, what gets them out of bed in the morning. and their daily routines.

Golden Globe-winning actress Kate Hudson, best known for films like “Almost Famous” and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (as well as being the daughter of Goldie Hawn), spent the last decade of transforming into a Serial Entrepreneur.

“If you had told me that 15 years ago, [I would have said], you are crazy. That will never happen, ”Hudson told CNBC Make It.

Hudson, 42, is the co-founder of sportswear and lifestyle brand Fabletics, which launched in 2013 and now has more than 50 retail stores in the United States. The company is said to have achieved more than $ 500 million in sales for 2020.

Hudson also co-founded King St. Vodka in 2019 and nutritional supplement brand InBloom in 2020. She co-hosts a podcast, Sibling Revelry, with her brother, actor Oliver Hudson. (The siblings were also raised with their younger half-brother Wyatt Russell, Hawn’s son and longtime partner actor Kurt Russell and half-brother Boston Russell, from Russell’s previous marriage. )

But even with his accomplishments, Hudson experienced setbacks and faced controversy as an entrepreneur.

Dozens of garment workers, mostly women, said they suffered endemic sexual and physical abuse at a factory in Africa that mainly manufactures Fabletic sportswear, Time reported in May. Hudson says the allegations are “unacceptable and horrific” and are currently under investigation.

And not all of its businesses have been successful: Hudson’s eco-friendly clothing brand Happy X Nature by Kate Hudson, which launched in 2019, shut down during the pandemic after its parent company filed for bankruptcy.

“For me, even if successful, I feel like there has been an uphill battle both” in business and in Hollywood, “says Hudson,” but she feels “really lucky” to be in the position where it is.

Here, Hudson talks about her privileged childhood, misconceptions about her, how she deals with mistakes and more.

On privilege: ‘You didn’t win any of this’

My personality profile is perfect for an overachiever based on my family of origin. We grew up privileged, but our parents [Hawn and Russell] made sure we understood it.

It was like, “Hey kids, none of this belongs to you. You didn’t earn any of it. You were just born into it.” So at a very young age our parents were all focused on the work ethic.

I couldn’t miss a dance class. My mom would tell me, “No, no, it didn’t matter.” I think there was also a feeling of [my parents] coming from nothing and building their success into the way they raised us.

We are super family oriented.

On his way: “I grew up with a bunch of boys and a father who wasn’t there”

I grew up with a bunch of boys and a [biological] dad who wasn’t there. I felt I had to prove myself or live up to something for the boys to include me in every trip they took.

I always felt like I was pushing to [show] how hard I was working. And then when you have a dad that’s not around, you grow up to be someone who’s like, “Damn, I’m going to do this on my own.” I think a lot of people are probably going to relate to this no matter where they’re from.

The motivation and the fire started in me being a self-reliant woman. I can’t count on anyone, so I’ll count on myself. And I will succeed and I will work my buttocks. Then, as you get older, you realize that there are aspects of that personality that need to be calmed down and refocused.

On a more superficial level, honestly, is that I don’t like it when people tell me that I can’t do something.

Look at the alcohol industry, it’s ‘a man’s business’. Getting the company to truly believe in women is something new. When someone kind of tells you that something isn’t possible, then I’m always like, “Ooh, this is exciting. “

Being an entrepreneur: “I like to roll up my sleeves”

I realized very early on before it was a popular thing to do [that] if people wanted me to endorse their products, I felt more comfortable building something authentic than approving. Approval is easy and you don’t have to roll up your sleeves, but I love to roll up my sleeves.

And now here we are ten years later, and I’m talking to you about business.

On the misconceptions about him: “No one will call you except me”

The misconception, for whatever reason, is that if you’re famous, other people do things for you. Because I’m successful as an actor and can wear pretty dresses and do my makeup, other people wake me up and put me in front of a camera and I just smile and wave.

So when I get involved with someone in business, I am really clear. I’m like, “Just so you know, I’m a lot. No one else is going to call you except me. And I’m asking a lot of questions.” I hold people accountable for their work and their process, as accountable as I want anyone to be to me.

No part of me believes that I would be here if I didn’t do everything I did to make it happen. I am a worker bee. Almost at fault. Sometimes I have to sit down and realize that I have to take care of myself. I thrive and love to be busy and in it.

On being a leader: “You can’t compromise when you’re building something”

I care a lot about how we build, what we build and why.

I once called David [Kanbar, co-founder of King St.], and I was like, “I don’t know how to tell you this. But we have to throw out the bottle design.” We spent a year on the design of the bottle and [a sample] came and it was like killing me because it was wrong.

I had to call David because, of course, it cost money to do that, which meant all kinds of things. He was so tall. He’s like, absolutely, 100%, we have to get it right.

King St. Vodka

Credit: King St. Vodka

Whether it’s harder to be a Hollywood actress or an entrepreneur: “Business is such a different ball game”

It’s like a two hour interview. I always start on the bright side, which is if you find yourself even able to answer this question, things are going really well.

But when you get to a certain level in business or in Hollywood, they both have extreme challenges, especially when you step at a disadvantage, which I think women always do.

As an actor, you really audition to be a part of someone else’s story. You can contribute some of your wisdom and experience, but at the end of the day, it’s still someone else’s idea and vision. It’s a machine that works without you. You can be caught off guard – the actors took the brunt of a bad movie when it was really in the hands of all these other people, and yet they take it.

And it’s just a roller coaster. Every actor is a little bit crazy to walk into the industry and love it. You put yourself in the crosshairs to be scrutinized, criticized, blamed. You are built to be slain.

Starting a business is such a different ball game. It starts with an idea and your mission statement. This is how you saw it, what your strategies are and who you partner with, who you partner with.

People [making films] trying to denigrate a movie because they’re afraid the audience won’t understand. As a creator [of a product or business], you say, no, we have to push an audience. He must be honest. He must be committed to your mission.

On error handling: “Just be honest”

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