15 Failed Celebrity Businesses

By Jill Weinberger, CNBC.com
In recent years, multiple celebrities have attempted to extend their brand by venturing into the business world. Actor and comedian Will Ferrell found tremendous success with his website, FunnyorDie.com, while Rapper Sean Combs (P Diddy) owns multiple businesses, including a record label, a clothing line, a movie production company, and more.

Despite all the successful celebrity ventures in the world, however, there are numerous examples of celebrity businesses that have gone bust.

A celebrity name can automatically help a business, bringing in a recognizable spokesperson and a built-in fan base. However, just because a celebrity brand is attached to a business, it doesn't guarantee success-and may occasionally cause more harm than good.

Celebrity businesses fail for numerous reasons, from poor business management and lack of experience, to bad concepts that were doomed from the beginning. Regardless of the reason, these celebrities have learned the hard way that success doesn't always come easily in the business world.

So, which major
celebrities launched businesses that flopped?

More from CNBC:
15 Celebrity Businesses That Failed
Big Businesses Run by College Dropouts
CEOs Who Went From Rags to Riches


Britney Spears
Business: Nyla Restaurant

Named after Spears' two favorite places-New York and Louisiana-Nyla opened in June 2002 in Manhattan's Dylan Hotel. The restaurant originally featured dishes with a Cajun and Southern flair, with dishes such as Southern sushi and fried okra, with prices ranging from $16 to $26 a dish.

According to People.com, however, the restaurant received terrible reviews, was cited for several health-code violations, and eventually began to suffer from financial problems. In an attempt to save the business, Nyla underwent a menu overhaul in which the Southern cuisine was dumped in favor of Italian dishes, but this was not enough to keep the restaurant afloat. Less than six months after it opened, Spears severed all ties with the business.



Nicky Hilton
Business: Nicky-O-Hotels

As an heir to the Hilton family, Nicky Hilton should have the hotel business running through her veins, but her disastrous attempt at starting up her own hotel chain proved otherwise.

Hilton's first venture was planned as a 94-room luxury hotel on Miami's Ocean Drive, with a second location planned for Chicago. Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli was brought in to design the hotel suites. The hotel was scheduled to open in time for the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami and advertised a $1,000 per night Super Bowl package. Unfortunately, plagued by delays, the hotel never opened its doors.

The project filed for bankruptcy protection in 2007 and Hilton was later sued by the condo hotel developer, who claimed she didn't keep up her end of their business agreement. The developer said Hilton had promised to promote the project and that she misrepresented her associates. The property eventually was put up for auction, and the Chicago project was abandoned.


Natalie Portman
Business: Vegan-Friendly Footwear

Natalie Portman is an advocate for animal rights, and she only wears clothing and shoes that are not made of animal byproduct. In early 2008, she collaborated with designer Te Casan to launch a vegan-friendly footwear line, which included shoes that were made without harming animals.

However, customers may have thought that the $200 price tag was a bit high and shortly after, in December 2008, the parent company, Te Casan, closed shop due to failing sales.


Kanye West
Business: Pastelle Clothing Line


Kanye West, known for having an interest in fashion, had been talking about starting his own fashion line for years, and in 2009 he attempted it with Pastelle.

But West's clothing business never had a fighting chance: Two days after photos of his fashion line were posted on the Internet, the business folded. Shortly before, West's reputation took a hit after he interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards, declaring that another artist should have won. Many speculate that this stunt contributed to the fashion line's demise.



The Kardashian Sisters
Business: The "Kardashian Kard"

In 2008, Kim Kardashian and her sisters, Kourtney and Khloé, launched their own pre-paid credit card, dubbed "The Kardashian Kard." The sisters stated at the time they were excited to create their very own financial product.

Their excitement waned, however, after consumer advocates complained of the card's extremely high fees, and the Kardashian sisters quickly came under attack for aiming the product at young adults. The sisters backed out of their contract, claiming that they were unaware of the card's high fees.

NBC's "Saturday Night Live" was quick to ridicule the sisters for their decision to venture into a business they knew nothing about.


Jennifer Lopez
Business: Madres Restaurant

In an effort to celebrate her Puerto Rican heritage, Jennifer Lopez opened Madres, which is Spanish for mother, in 2002 in Pasadena, Calif. The menu focused on Latin food that Lopez had enjoyed growing up, and included empanadas, ceviche, ropa vieja, and arroz con pollo, with dishes priced between $30 and $50.

Despite a star-studded opening, the restaurant received lackluster reviews, and six years after it opened a sign was placed on the front door that said, "Madres will be closed … until further notice."

In addition to Madres, Lopez has also experienced failures in the fashion industry. Before it became common for celebrities to have fashion lines, Lopez found success in her clothing line JLO in 2003. Afterwards, she launched two additional lines, JustSweet (2003), and Sweetface (2005).

With the recession, her initial clothing line JLO was unable to remain profitable and was closed in the U.S. in 2007. Her additional lines never found success: JustSweet closed after only a few seasons at retail; and Sweetface, despite a revamp of the line, was halted in 2009.

Lopez may find success aiming at an older audience, however-the singer recently announced that a new line will come out this fall at the department-store chain Kohl's.


Arnold Schwarzenegger and Multiple Actors
Business: Planet Hollywood

After the success of the Hard Rock Café restaurant chain, CEO Robert Earl created Planet Hollywood. Inside, diners could eat alongside memorabilia and props from various movies and TV shows. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Sylvester Stallone were among the company's celebrity shareholders and the actors helped to promote the restaurant.

Unable to turn a profit, the restaurant chain filed for bankruptcy protection in 1999. In an attempt to keep the business afloat, many locations were shut and the company focused solely on tourist destinations. These efforts were still not enough, however, and following a decline in spending after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the company was forced to file for bankruptcy protection for a second time.

In 2000, Schwarzenegger severed his ties with Planet Hollywood. At the peak of its success, the chain had more than 80 locations around the world, but today only 16 locations remain in operation, including restaurants in New York and Orlando, Fla.



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