If you're one of the thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs who have had to close shop since the recession began you're in good company. And, although they probably have better hair than you do, more than a few celebrities have experienced personal business failures, too. Only they tend to have more to lose - and they have to eat way more crow. (Some business ideas that many expected to fail went on to be very successful. Learn more in Ridiculous Ideas That Made People Millions.)
The Real World
Lauren Conrad hoped to parlay her MTV "The Hills" fame into high fashion success, launching the Lauren Conrad Collection in March 2008. The new venture barely got off the ground; it was shut down this spring. At least she can take comfort in knowing that her famed "frenemy", Heidi Montag, suffered the same fate. Her barely-there clothing line - Heidiwood - also tanked just seven months after its launch.
Investors Put the Squeeze on Somersized Venture
Suzanne Somers, best known as the blond, beautiful and often bubble-headed "Chrissy" on the 1970s TV show Three's Company, made a bundle with her uber-successful Thigh Master, but didn't find as much support for "Suzanne's Kitchen" – a make-it-yourself meal preparation franchise that provided ingredients and recipes from Somers' cookbooks. The business was open for less than three months before changes in the business plan and a disagreement with investors led to a quick closing. (Somers may have neglected an important step: her business plan. Read 4 Steps To Creating A Stellar Business Plan for tips.)
Bo Derek Scores a Perfect Zero on Business Venture
Bo Derek may have been a "10" on-screen but she scored a big zero with former business investor Fort Worth Magnolia Media Group over her decision to abruptly drop a pet-care product business launch in 1998.
Car Dealership Runs Out the Clock
Former New Orleans Saint all-time rusher and two-time Pro Bowl star Deuce McAllister fumbled in business and was unable to bring his on-field success to his Nissan car dealership. The First Tennessee Bank foreclosed on the property in July, after McAllister defaulted on a loan and exceeded his credit line by $7 million. The dealership filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and was subsequently sued by Nissan for breaking an agreement in which Nissan Finance would receive a certain amount of money for financing the dealership's cars. (Find out what happens when a company goes belly-up in An Overview Of Corporate Bankruptcy.)
A Chicken Only Kramer Could Love
Country musician Kenny Rogers has won numerous platinum records for crooning about losing love but it was chicken - roasted chicken - that caused him to lose a bundle in the late '90s. Even an entire Seinfeld episode devoted to Rogers' fast food chicken restaurant, Kenny Rogers Roasters, couldn't save the business from failing in 1998. It probably didn't help that Rogers failed to recognize his own chicken in a blind taste test between Kenny Rogers Roasters and NBC cafeteria chicken on The Late Show with Conan O'Brian in 1997. (To read about great deals at some of the top fast food chains, see Top 5 Fast Food Value Menu Deals.)
Stick a Fork in It - It's Over
Britney Spears has dealt with a lot of criticism in her career but perhaps the most stinging was for her NYLA restaurant. The restaurant opened in New York's Dylan Hotel in 2002, and was supposed to mix Spears' down-home Southern roots with high-class New York fare. Unfortunately, NYLA floundered from the start, suffering management changes and health food violations. And the food? Picky New York reviewers were not impressed; they booed the food and the restaurant's concept. Spears walked away from NYLA in 2002.
"Posh" Jeans Fail to Appeal
Victoria Beckham is tentatively replacing Paula Abdul on "American Idol" but her line of jeans - dVb jeans - failed to impress consumers. The pricey vintage-style pants (think $300 for a pair of jeans) sat on shelves and were dropped by U.S. stores, which claimed that Beckham refused to make appearances to promote the line.
"Jenny from the Block" Backs Out
Jennifer Lopez ("JLo") is a mega recording star and big-ticket actress but she's faltered in a few other business ventures. Her California restaurant, Madres, shut its doors in July 2008 after a six-year run. Her street wear line of clothing - Sweetface - also halted production in 2009. This is the second clothing line that has sputtered for the pop star - her first line (JLO) closed in the U.S. more than two years ago.
Nicky Uh Oh ...
You would think that someone with the last name Hilton - Nicky Hilton - would have the hotel business down to a science. You'd be wrong. Nick's "Nicky O" hotels, which boasted elevators entertainment news tickers in the elevators, a signature scent and rooms designed by friends - including $5,000-a-night penthouse by clothing designer Roberto Cavalli, went bankrupt in 2007; all Hilton was left with was angry investors. The courts got the properties, which were put up for auction.
It's a Bust for Da Bear's Quarterback
Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon was part of the '80s Bears Super Bowl-winning team, but his themed restaurant, "McMahon's Steakhouse", failed to impress diners. At least he can take comfort in knowing that more than a few other Windy City celebs have "failed restaurateur" on their resumes, including Michael Jordan, Mike Ditka, Dennis Rodman, and the late Walter Payton.
Ramsay's Personal Kitchen Nightmare
Chef and TV star of "Hell's Kitchen" Gordon Ramsay is suffering through this recession like everyone else, although he's likely more vocal about it than most! His multistar restaurants across the U.S. and Europe aren't drawing the crowds they used to, forcing Ramsay to slash his staff and hand a few of his properties back to the hotels where they're housed. If that doesn't work, he's considering selling his palatial home in London to avoid having to file for bankruptcy.
No, YOU'RE Fired
While Donald Trump most recently gained fame by yelling "you're fired!" to his potential apprentices, Trump has had to walk away from a few jobs and business ventures himself. Most recently, he had to cancel publication of "Trump" magazine after two-year run and now he's fending off a lawsuit for allegedly letting his Marina Hotel Casino physically deteriorate after tentatively agreeing to sell it to investors as part of a restructuring agreement included in his Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing.
That's a Wrap!
Take a cue from these celebs and don't let one failure keep you down. Regroup and look for another opportunity to build a business of your own ... you may just strike it big enough to become a celebrity in your own right!