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Jessica Alba Was 'So Humbled' to Take Honest Company Public with Family By Her Side

·3 min read

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Jessica Alba made a big business move on Wednesday by taking The Honest Company public with an IPO that values the brand at $1.44 billion.

With her husband, Cash Warren, 42, and kids Honor, 12, Haven, 9, and Hayes, 3, by her side, The Honest Company founder, 40, rang the opening bell at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square to celebrate her clean lifestyle brand's initial public offering. The company, which trades on the Nasdaq under HSNT, raised $412.8 million in its IPO with stocks closing at $23 per share, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"I just knew I wanted to build a brand that could stand the test of time. I knew that I wanted to have a modern, more ethical way to meet consumers' needs. There was a huge white space. It was like, however we get there, we need to get there," Alba tells PEOPLE of building The Honest Company business with CEO Nick Vlahos.

She compared the nearly decade of work and the grit it took to take Honest public to pregnancy, jokingly calling it "a nine-year gestation period." Alba said: "Every single moment has mattered so much and I learned so much along the way. You know when you're pregnant and every month when your baby goes from a walnut and then eventually it's like the size of a grapefruit, then it becomes a melon. Every stage feels so different and new. Once you actually have the baby, you're like, the real work has now started. That's how I feel today."

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

At the core of Alba's mission since launching The Honest Company in 2012 is building "a business that puts consumers first" with a main focus on "health, wellness and sustainability."

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"Before, I think people always felt like those things didn't always align with how a business can run. And I felt like that has to change," Alba says. "There has to be a better way."

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Alba says it feels "humbling" to now lead a publicly-traded company as a Mexican-American woman and mom. "You can be all of those things," she says. But the mogul believes there is still more work to be done to funnel more women into "leadership roles across the board."

"There's a lot of fear just from the unknown and doubt from the unknown. But the more and more people see us at those tables and see us show up in these different environments where you're not used to seeing us in the same way that you're used to seeing men, that will continue to help change the narrative," Alba says.

"Half the population isn't represented in all of these sectors. Why? We need to be more active to make sure that that doesn't happen for this next generation," she adds. "That our kids are growing up with a totally different understanding of what's possible and who you can be."