MONEY Entrepreneurs

13 Hip-Hop Artists Who Make Millions as Successful Entrepreneurs

These rappers know how to get paid.

Jamie Trueblood—Universal Pictures/courtesy Ever “Straight Outta Compton,” produced by rap titans Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, has been the #1 movie at the box office for two weeks.

“Straight Outta Compton,” which earned $60 million at the box office during its opening weekend, was America’s #1 movie yet again this past weekend, making it one of the biggest-ever August releases. Made for $29 million, the biopic of gangsta rap group N.W.A. crossed the $100 million ticket sales mark less than 10 days after its debut.

Among other things, what this means is that the rap world can add “blockbuster movie producer” to the long list of successful entrepreneurial endeavors it has spawned. The movie was produced by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, the leading creative members of N.W.A. Dre and Cube are not only legends in the rap game, they’re representative of the many hip-hop artists who have been phenomenally successful outside of music, launching fashion lines, restaurant chains, luxury electronics, and liquor and beverage brands.

At first glance, it may seem odd that so many rappers become entrepreneurs. But think about it: Rappers use carefully crafted words, style, swagger, and images to sell themselves to the masses. They’re experts at making “Something from Nothing,” as the title of the 2012 rap documentary by Ice-T put it, and the most successful rappers know their audience incredibly well. After working so hard to sell themselves and their music, many rappers find it fairly natural to cross over and market other products and lifestyle brands to fans. And no matter if we’re talking song lyrics or the creation of a luxury brand of headphones, artists with roots in rap have an uncanny ability to remain relentlessly focused on money and “getting paid.”

  • Dr. Dre

    Dr. Dre speaks onstage at WSJ. Magazine's "Innovator Of The Year" Awards at Museum of Modern Art on November 5, 2014 in New York City.
    Mike Coppola—Getty Images

    In addition to being a gangsta rap pioneer with N.W.A., Dr. Dre is also the visionary who produced and called the world’s attention to rap superstars like Snoop Dogg and Eminem. And he’s been a hugely successful artist on his own, starting with his multi-platinum solo debut album “The Chronic” and continuing with this summer’s “Compton: A Soundtrack,” which was streamed 25 million times during the first week it was available on Apple Music.

    Speaking of Apple, in 2014 the tech giant acquired Beats Music and Beats Electronics, the music subscription streaming service and maker of flagship $300 headphones founded by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, for $3 billion. Dre’s net worth hit around $800 million as a result—and that was before the release of “Straight Outta Compton.” The deal landed Dre on Entrepreneur magazine’s list of “10 Entrepreneurs Who Defined 2014.” Also on the list: fellow musician Beyoncé, whose roots are in R&B, not rap.

  • Kanye West

    Kanye West during London Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015/16 on February 20, 2015 in London, England.
    Danny Martindale—WireImage/Getty Images

    Kanye West is no stranger to haters. At the start of his career as a producer-turned-hip-hop artist, he struggled to be taken seriously as a rapper given his middle-class background and an aesthetic that didn’t match the stereotypical industry apparel. Well into his fame, President Obama called West a “jackass” for his infamous “Imma let you finish” interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 VMAs. But haters have hardly gotten in the way of West amassing his $130 million fortune—as he rapped, borrowing from 50 Cent, in The Good Life: “If they hate then let ‘em hate and watch the money pile up.”

    Beyond being one of the best-selling and most award-winning artists of all time—he’s sold over 21 million copies of his just six albums, and won 21 Grammys—he’s also founded his own record label, G.O.O.D. Music, is a part owner of the Jay Z-owned streaming service Tidal, and has directed a number of short films. And as the New York Times has pointed out, his movement into the world of fashion—from collaborating with A.P.C., Adidas, and Louis Vuitton to launching a women’s clothing label, DW Kanye at the 2011 Paris Fashion Week—has “widened the genre’s gates… for high-fashion and high-art dreams.”

  • Ice-T

    Actor Ice-T during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on July 30, 2015.
    Douglas Gorenstein—NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

    Known mostly today for his starring role in both the reality TV show “Ice Loves Coco” and the 15-year-running cop drama “Law & Order: SVU,” Ice-T first came to fame as a groundbreaking gangsta rapper with hot-selling tracks like “Colors.” But Ice-T has been many things beyond actor and rapper. Before making a living from rap, he was a pimp, thief, and all-around hustler. A partial list of his non-rap ventures once he became famous include creating and fronting a thrash metal band (Body Count), founding an online music label way back in the Napster era, launching a podcast, doing voices for multiple video games, serving as a producer for 18 TV shows and movies, co-authoring three books, and organizing this summer’s first-ever Art of Rap Festival—a concert series that takes its name from the Ice-T-directed 2012 documentary, “Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap.”

    It’s understandable, then, that the word most commonly associated with Ice-T is hustle. “New Jack Hustler” was one of Ice-T’s most popular songs—used in the 1991 movie he also starred in, “New Jack City”—but “hustle” has been part of vocabulary for a long time. In fact, instead of focusing on rap for its artistry and insights into urban culture, Ice-T has referred to it as just another way to get rich. “Rapping is a hustle to me,” Ice-T said on the VH1 documentary “Behind the Music.” “I’m not one of those guys that’s like, ‘Oh I love the music.’ Nah. I love money.”

  • Vanilla Ice

    Robert Van Winkle attends the Student Filmmakers showcase at the 2015 Palm Beach International Film Awards on March 12, 2015 in Boca Raton, Florida.
    Larry Marano—Getty Images

    It’s hard to say which is more improbable—that a middle-class white kid named Rob Van Winkle would turn into the rapper Vanilla Ice and have the first rap song to top the charts with “Ice Ice Baby”? Or that a decade after he’d had a hit song, he’d reinvent himself as a home-flipping construction guru on the DIY Network reality TV show “The Vanilla Ice Project.”

    As he told the New York Times in 2010, when the show debuted, Vanilla Ice unwittingly got his start in real estate by purchasing several homes when he was “young and dumb,” and at the height of his fame and riches. After spending barely any time in any of them, he decided to sell—and made several hundred thousand dollars in profit on each sale. He then took up the idea of “Hammer Time” more seriously, strategically buying lots and foreclosed homes in Florida, adding some value with smart improvements, and (hopefully) flipping them for easy money.

    It’s hardly an easy thing to do, though. “Fixer-uppers can be a dream or a nightmare,” he has said. “Expect the unexpected. You have to have carpenters and know how to budget projects. There are a lot of growing pains you’ll experience in your first few projects. But if you play it smart, you will find success.”

  • Nicki Minaj

    Nicki Minaj at the Marc Jacobs Fall/Winter 2015 Fashion Show at the Park Avenue Armory, New York City, February 19, 2015.
    David X Prutting—

    The reasons Nicki Minaj is everywhere—all over social media with 20 million followers on Twitter, inside Madame Tussauds in wax, and soon, even on her own mobile game app—are only partially due to rap. Throughout her career, Minaj hasn’t been focused simply on making music, but on building a brand.

    And she’s been able to extend her unique mix of attitude, sass, flash, smarts, and sex to her own personal brands of perfume and beauty products (sold at HSN), a women’s wear collection for Kmart, and a fizzy wine called MYX Fusions Muscato, among other ventures. In fact, her approach to business is often used as a paragon for how young people—women especially—should handle themselves in the workplace, including lessons on how to take charge at the office, how to rebrand yourself when switching careers or companies, and the necessity of being bold and assertive.

  • Ice Cube

    Actor Ice Cube visits 106 & Park at BET studio on January 16, 2014 in New York City.
    Bennett Raglin/BET—Getty Images

    What with the “Friday” films and family-friendly fare like “Are We There Yet?” Ice Cube’s career in movies has been arguably just as successful as his experience in rap, first as a member of N.W.A. and later as a solo artist. Both of Cube’s worlds collide in “Straight Outta Compton,” the highly profitable film released this summer that tells N.W.A’s story. Ice Cube not only served as a producer on the movie, his son O’Shea Jackson Jr., plays the role of his dad on screen.

    Ice Cube’s transition to film started while he was at the top of the rap game, in 1991, when he was cast as Dough Boy in the critically acclaimed “Boyz N the Hood.” (Ice Cube actually wrote a song with the same name a few years earlier.) He has also been in the director’s chair, for the 1998 film “The Players Club” and the ESPN documentary “Straight Outta L.A.,” about the period when the NFL’s Raiders were based in Los Angeles rather than Oakland.

  • 50 Cent

    Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent, in Manhattan on Tuesday, July 21, 2015.
    Joe Marino—NY Daily News/Getty Images

    Given he launched his music career with the nine-times-platinum album Get Rich or Die Tryin’, it’s perhaps no surprise that Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 Cent, has long been a hustler. He got his moneymaking start as a 12-year-old on the streets of Queens in the late ‘80s; by the age of 18, he was raking in $5,000 a day on crack and heroin sales. Jackson’s time as a dealer culminated with a 2000 shooting outside his grandmother’s home that left him with a hole in his jaw, a piece of bullet lodged in his tongue, and a new sound: as he told Rolling Stone for a 2003 cover, “Getting’ shot just totally fixed my instrument.”

    Since his rise to music fame as the protégé of Dr. Dre and Eminem in the early 2000s, Jackson’s business spirit hasn’t let up. In 2003, he founded his own record label and clothing company, both called G-Unit. A partnership with Vitamin Water soon after landed him a minority stake in the company, which he later sold and then rapped about in his 2007 song I Get Money: “I took quarter-water, sold it in bottles for two bucks. Coca-Cola came and bought it for billions. What the f***?” 50’s more recent ventures include a headphone competitor to Beats, a high-end vodka label, and patented support technology men’s underwear.

    It was no small blow when the loss of a high-profile lawsuit forced the rapper to file for bankruptcy in July, just two months after having ranked fourth on Forbes’ Hip Hop’s Five Wealthiest Artists 2015, with an estimated net worth of $155 million. But the Chapter 11 filing doesn’t mean 50 Cent is broke—just a little low on cash.

  • Jay Z

    Rapper Jay-Z acknowledges a fan in Los Angeles April 16, 2014.
    Kevork Djansezian—Reuters

    Though Jay Z—whose real name is Shawn Carter—has gone in and out of music retirement over the past decade and a half, his status as an entrepreneur and entertainment mogul hasn’t wavered much. In addition to having owned his own nightclub, vodka company, and fashion line, Rocawear—which he sold in 2007 for over $200 million—Carter has also owned a lucrative share of the New Jersey Nets, which he later sold for a 135% gain. And in 2008, Carter founded the entertainment company Roc Nation, which in 2013 came to include a sports agency, new territory for the mogul.

    Jay Z’s net worth now sits somewhere around $550 million, but his investments haven’t all exactly gone swimmingly: Tidal, a subscription-based music streaming service owned by media technology company Aspiro, which Jay Z acquired in March 2015, was served with a $50 million lawsuit this summer. The news has prompted “99 Problems” jokes galore.

  • Snoop Dogg

    Recording artist Snoop Dogg arrives at the iHeartRadio Music Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on March 29, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
    Christopher Polk/NBC—NBC via Getty Images

    Hardly ever known by his real name, Calvin Cordozar Broadus, and most recently known as the “born again” Rastafarian Snoop Lion, Snoop Dogg boasts some of the most unique business ventures on our list. A major player in ‘90s West Coast gangster rap, Broadus was ushered onto the scene by Dr. Dre, who featured him on his first solo album following the break-up of N.W.A. in 1992; by 1993, Snoop was topping the Billboard 200 chart with his album Doggystyle. But Snoop’s image wouldn’t be complete without his ventures in filmmaking in the early 2000s—including the fist hardcore porn video to make Billboard’s music video sales charts and the Adult Video Network award-winning Snoop Dogg’s Hustlaz: Diary of a Pimp. In 2005, he founded his own production company, Snoopadelic films, dedicated to Snoop-themed films.

    In addition to having released his 13th studio album this May, Snoop Lion has become active in the world of venture capital. His estimated $135 million net worth includes a stake in Reddit, a high-end dog food company called DOG for DOG, and, as of earlier this year, Eaze, a California-based start-up that aims to deliver medical marijuana in 10 minutes or less. Dedicated Snoop lovers can also download his free sticker app, Snoopify, complete with not-free stickers of joints, chicken and waffles, Snoop’s face, and much else. According to the Wall Street Journal, the app was earning him $30,000 weekly in sales a month after its launch.

  • Pharrell Williams

    Pharrell Williams attends The 57th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
    Dan MacMedan—WireImage/Getty Images

    By the time Pharrell Williams launched the funk/hip-hip trio N.E.R.D. in 1999, he’d already spent several years as part of the Virgin Records production duo The Neptunes. But cash wasn’t necessarily flowing: Pharrell told Seth Meyers on his show in April that he was fired from three different McDonald’s gigs in the late ‘90s: “I was only good at eating the chicken nuggets.” (He later got even by writing the “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle used in the company’s ads.)

    The new millennium ushered in a number of production successes for The Neptunes, including Britney Spears’s 2001 “I’m a Slave 4 U” and Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” in 2002. In 2003, Pharrell released his first solo single, and it helped prompt plenty of new business ventures. Beyond founding his own record label, Star Trak, in 2002, Pharrell has amassed some of his $80 million fortune in the fashion industry. He has two clothing labels (Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream), has co-designed a line of jewelry and glasses for Louis Vuitton, and last year designed a line of T-shirts for the Japanese clothing company Uniqlo. He’s also a co-owner of Brooklyn Machine Works and textile company Bionic Yarn, both of which fall within his creative collective, iamOTHER. And somehow, he still finds time for some killer creative collaborations, including with starchitect Zaha Hadid and, more regularly, the internationally acclaimed fine artist Takashi Murakami.

  • Mark Wahlberg

    Mark Wahlberg during the premiere of "The Gambler" in Los Angeles, California November 10, 2014.
    Kevork Djansezianmdash;Reuters

    Long before he was an actor starring in blockbuster movies like “The Departed” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” Mark Wahlberg emerged on the early ’90s hip-hop scene as Marky Mark—a pseudo-rapper name he took on perhaps to distance himself from the boy band roots of his brother Donnie, a member of New Kids on the Block. Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch had one major hit rap-dance song (“Good Vibrations”), and his six-pack abs and proclivity for dropping his pants helped Wahlberg become an iconic Calvin Klein underwear model long before Justin Bieber.

    As his music career fizzled out, Wahlberg turned to acting, earning critical acclaim for his starring role in 1997’s “Boogie Nights.” Dozens of films followed, and he evolved from an actor into a major Hollywood player, serving as producer (and real-life inspiration) for the HBO show and 2015 movie “Entourage.”

    In 2011, he and his brothers Donnie and Paul opened a fast-casual burger restaurant concept called Wahlburgers, which inevitably became a reality show of the same name on A&E. This past spring the company announced plans to open 66 new locations over the next few years, including 20 Wahlburgers in the Middle East, two at airports (Boston, Toronto), and a sprinkling of new restaurants in places such as Long Island, Florida, Philadelphia, and Las Vegas. Eventually, the Wahlberg brothers say there could be as many as 300 franchises around the globe. As Marky Mark once rapped, “If you ain’t in it to win it / Then get the hell out.”

  • arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
    Chris Pizzello—Invision/AP

    It seems appropriate that William Adams—or—had a couple of false starts before making it big as the founding member of the Black Eyed Peas. A debut album for Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records was shelved in 1992, and later fell through altogether when Eazy-E tragically died of AIDS in 1995. There was also a stint in the “Black Eyed Pods” before a name change and the addition of Fergie to create the rave-inspired hip-hop group we know today. After all, these days, Adams identifies himself primarily as an entrepreneur and businessman, with music coming second.

    But just as The Black Eyed Peas garnered enormous success—they’ve sold over 76 million records to date— has arrived at no shortage of success in the world of innovation. He’s channeled classes he took at LA’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising into creating +, a fashion tech start-up most recently known for Puls, a competitor to the Apple Watch, and has partnered with Coke on Ekocycle, a project that promotes the use of recycled materials in the fashion world. He owned a founding share in Beats Electronics alongside Dr. Dre, and reaped the rewards when Apple bought the company for $3 billion last year. He’s Intel’s Director of Creative Innovation. And in 2012, he became the first artist to ever debut a song from another planet, when he premiered “Reaching for the Stars” from the Mars curiosity rover.

  • Diddy

    Sean 'Diddy' Combs attends the Sean "Diddy" Combs Fragrance Launch at Macy's Herald Square on May 6, 2015 in New York City.
    Ilya S. Savenok—Getty Images

    It’s been years since Sean Combs was topping the charts with songs like “I’ll Be Missing You,” his 1997 tribute to the passing of friend and musical partner Notorious B.I.G. But don’t feel sorry for Combs—a.k.a. Diddy, P. Diddy, Puff Daddy—who currently has a net worth in the neighborhood of $735 million, according to Forbes.

    With his Sean John clothing line sold in mainstream outlets like Macy’s, and with investments and partnership deals with huge companies like Diageo and upscale brands such as Aquahydrate and Ciroc vodka, Combs is the very picture of rapper turned entrepreneur. As for his advice about being a successful businessman, Combs told that it’s essential to research and understand a company before getting involved. Above all, pay close attention to how the business will make a profit. He’s a believer in the phrase, “If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.”

TIME marketing

5 Reasons Donald Trump’s Brand Is So Wildly Powerful

Branding experts try to explain why people love Donald Trump

People can’t seem to get enough Donald Trump. The real estate tycoon turned reality TV star turned presidential hopeful is leading recent polls among Republican candidates, despite an ongoing litany of controversial comments that would likely have torpedoed a traditional campaign.

It may not exactly be Trump’s platform that is attracting voters. He’s been purposefully vague on the campaign trail about how he’ll fix the many problems he sees in America. His campaign website appears to talk more about his success as a businessman than his specific plans for the White House.

That’s likely all by design, according to marketing and advertising experts. The very things Trump is doing that look like political suicide are only reinforcing his brand as a no-nonsense boss who does whatever he wants. It’s an image he’s been cultivating for decades and which now seems to be resonating with a large number of American voters.

Here are five Trump attributes that brand experts say define his personal brand:

He’s an ‘Outlaw’

Marketing experts can categorize pretty much any brand (and politicians are certainly brands) into one of 12 archetypes based on research by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung: Sage, Innocent, Explorer, Ruler, Creator, Caregiver, Magician, Hero, Outlaw, Lover, Jester, and Regular Guy/Girl. Most politicians are either all-knowing Rulers or spread-the-wealth Caregivers.

MORE: Here’s Roughly Every Controversial Thing Donald Trump Has Ever Said Out Loud

Trump is better categorized as an Outlaw, according to Edward Boches, professor of advertising at Boston University. He doesn’t operate according to the traditional rules of politics and is openly hostile to his adversaries, much like the freewheeling boss character he plays on his reality TV show The Apprentice. “A lot of people wish they could be that egotistical and get away with it,” Boches says. “We’re not necessarily envious but enamored by that, the fact that someone can pull that off.”

…but he’s also a “Creator” of wealth

Trump’s brashness would get him nowhere if he didn’t have a track record to back it up. With no political record to speak of, Trump uses his wealth as proof of his credentials. That also makes him a “Creator” as a brand archetype and could make him seem like a more accomplished figure in some voters’ eyes compared to lifetime politicians. “Being a creator–building things out of nothing–and doing it on your own terms, are inherently American,” says Boches. “They represent independence and a desire to get ahead. I think people really gravitate to that aspect about him.”

He’s a symbol of success

In everything from reality TV to rap songs, Trump’s name and face have become a kind of shorthand for wealth and success. He’s created a sense, real or not, that there’s no sector he can’t conquer, including the political arena. “As a brand, the fact that he has success at such a high level, people probably think that that can translate into any endeavor that he takes on,” says Tor Myhren, worldwide chief creative officer of the ad agency Grey. “That’s very attractive to people.”

He speaks his mind

Trump has called Mexican immigrants rapists, mocked prisoners of war and made disparaging remarks toward women during his campaign. Those are the kinds of incendiary faux pas that would sink a regular campaign. But Trump hasn’t backed down from any of his statements, which may make him even more appealing to a certain sect of voters. “Middle America abhors the idea of political correctness,” says Mike Sheldon, North American CEO for Deutsch. “They feel victimized by all the victims out there. In a way, I think he’s like their secret microphone.”

He feels authentic

In an age of ongoing Washington gridlock and high partisanship, there’s a sense among many that every high-level politician has compromised their ideals at some point or another. Trump has no political record so opponents can’t say he’s flip-flopped on issues. And since he’s funding his campaign himself, voters may perceive him to be separate from the typical moneyed interests that control Washington. “We’re attracted to his lack of sponsors,” says Sheldon. “It’s like a NASCAR vehicle with no logos on it.”

TIME Cancer

Users of Jessica Alba’s Honest Company Sunscreen Are Posting Photos of Epic Sunburns

An investigation by NBC5 in Chicago found that the company reduced the zinc oxide levels in its sunscreen to 9.3%, when the standard is between 18 and 25%

Eco-friendly Honest Company’s sunscreen may be “naturally derived,” “unscented” and “non-toxic,” according to the company’s website, but now some users on social media are claiming that it doesn’t work.

The sunscreen, promoted by sometime-movie-star Jessica Alba’s wildly successful baby product company as “providing the best broad spectrum protection for your family,” is getting bad reviews by users online, many of whom are posting painful-looking sunburn photos they say they took after using the product.

In a statement to the Today Show, the Honest Company stressed that the sunscreen is tested by an independent third party with positive results and that “the number of complaints received on our own website about our Sunscreen Lotion constitute less than one half of one percent of all units actually sold at We stand behind the safety and efficacy of this product.”

A country-wide investigation by NBC5 in Chicago found that the sunscreen’s formula was changed at some point, reducing to 9.3% non-nano zinc oxide from 20%. (The majority of zinc oxide sunscreens list their active ingredients at 18 to 25%). Still, the company says it added other components to make up for the difference in zinc.

“The Honest Company has been transparent about the amount of zinc since the new formula came out in early 2015 as seen on the website and the new formula’s packaging,” the company told Today.


Read next: You Asked: Is Sunscreen Safe —and Do I Really Need It Daily?


TIME Brands

Here’s Why Converse Redesigned Chucks After 98 Years

The new Fall 2015 Chuck Taylor All Star II sneaker in blue, white, red and black.
Converse via AP The new Fall 2015 Chuck Taylor All Star II sneaker in blue, white, red and black.

“You can’t be afraid to fail”

Tuesday, July 28, brings the much-hyped debut of the Chuck Taylor All Star II–a new, improved version of the classic Chuck Taylor. It features all-white foxing, a Nike Lunarlon sock liner and perforated microsuede liner, a foam padded collar, and a tongue that never needs straightening.

Converse All-Stars, the iconic canvas-and-rubber sneaker, debuted in 1917; and until the early 1990s, it was the epitome of “cool”– worn by pro and college basketball players during the 20s through the 70s, and then adopted by cutting edge artists, musicians and actors from James Dean to Kurt Cobain.

After stumbling into bankruptcy in the 1990s, Converse was bought by Nike in 2003. And today, Chucks are selling at a rate of two pairs per second of every day. It would be hard to come up with another product that so readily generates goodwill.

So, that raises the question: why would this sportswear and lifestyle brand — owned by Nike — fix something that clearly wasn’t broke? Fortune sat down with Converse CEO Jim Calhoun, who explained the iconic sneaker’s unique position in culture and why they retooled it.

“Even at the height of your game, you always need to be asking and answering the questions–what can we do better, how do we get there faster, how do we get bigger?” said Calhoun, CEO since 2011. “As a brand with our history, [as] people who knew what it was to be at the height of your game and knew what it was to be bankrupt, I think we have a healthy sense of just never being complacent. Another adage is you fix your roof when the sun is shining.”

Converse took two years to ask thousands of people who own Converse — as well as those who don’t — what they liked and didn’t like about Chuck Taylors. The answers boiled down to innovation, technology, and comfort. “The expectations of kids is that things will be broken in, ready to use, super comfortable, super functional from the minute it leaves the store,” he says. “It’s a good lesson for a company like us to say, hey, if that’s their expectation, we can fight that, or we can understand that and go with that.”

It’s a risky prospect, as Converse All Stars enjoy a very rare status. “What on this planet that is popular with young people has changed so little over such a long period of time?” asked Calhoun. “It’s the true definition of timeless, because our consumers are young kids, and the surest way to get young kids to think something is uncool is tell them that their mom, dad, grandparents and great grandparents all wore these.”

When the demographic of Converse began to change in the 70s, it was because subcultures (like surfers, then skaters) were adopting the Chuck Taylor All-Star, yet today the shoes are both mainstream while still keeping that association with creative and alternative cultures.

“I think the idea and the need to be authentic and to celebrate the unique and individual you has actually become mainstream. We see it around the world, I think we see it in gay rights, this idea of hey—being different is something to celebrate, not hide,” he says, adding, “I’d love to sit here and tell you that we knew that saw that or planned that. It’s been fortuitous. But I think it’s now at the center of what we do and what we hold very precious.”

So it wasn’t by design, but the Chuck Taylor both resonates as a timeless classic and appeals to self-expression–sort of a blank canvas made of canvas. But that doesn’t mean it has to be spare. The Chuck Taylor All Star has finally gone electric. “Nike’s a great partner in that sense–using all of their R&D dollars and their learning as well as our own. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”

Anytime a big brand retools a classic product, it raises the specter of the disastrous revamp New Coke. What if the Chuck II tanks? “You can’t be afraid to fail,” Calhoun said, noting, though, that Chuck 1 isn’t going anywhere. “Both products will also be in the marketplace at the same time, and I’m going to be really fascinated to see how the consumer votes.”

This article originally appeared on

MONEY Shopping

‘Trophy’ Women’s T-shirt at Target Called Sexist and Demeaning

target employee organizing t-shirts and apparel in target store
Patrick T. Fallon—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Target thinks the shirt is cute and funny.

Does a T-shirt featuring the word “TROPHY” that’s sold at Target help perpetuate rape culture? Indeed it does, according to a new petition.

“The truth is that millions of women and young girls are taken as ‘trophies’ every year in war, sex trafficking, slavery, and rape,” states the petition, which was created with the goal of pressuring Target to stop selling the shirt. “The word trophy should not refer to any person, man or woman, because we are not THINGS- we are human beings. Labeling any person as a ‘Trophy’ is demeaning their humanity and objectifying them as a tangible object that can be bought, used, and disposed of.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition had a few hundred online signatures. But after attracting significant attention in the media over the past day, the total was up over 12,000 signatures at last check.

As USA Today observed, people offended by the “Trophy” shirt have been hitting Target on social media for weeks. “The fact @Target has a bridal shirt that says ‘Trophy’ on it AND in the juniors section sickens me. How can that seem like a good idea?” one woman Tweeted more than a month ago.

Target responded to the controversy with a statement explaining, “It is never our intention to offend anyone.” What’s more, Target insists that many customers love the “Trophy” shirts. The joke seems to be a play “trophy wife,” a term coined way back in 1989 in a Fortune article about CEOs and their younger second wives. “These shirts are intended as a fun wink and we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests.”

Obviously, not everyone agrees that the shirt’s message is lighthearted and cute. It’s a fun wink “kind of like how catcalls are just friendly observations,” says a writer at Jezebel.

Read next: 5 Ways That Amazon Is Still Far Superior to New Upstart

MONEY marketing

10 ‘Old Person’ Brands Getting Millennial Makeovers

Awkward. Like a mom wearing her teenage daughter's clothes.

As a consumer brand’s core customer base gets older, it’s inevitable that the brand itself will start to feel old as well. Some brands embrace the shift and smoothly transition from trendy mass darling to beloved old-timey classic. More often, though, brands have a difficult time accepting that their years in the sun have faded, and that hipper, trendier labels are taking over.

What’s particularly tricky about the attempts of old-fashioned brands to remain relevant and in-demand today is that millennials are notoriously difficult to reach with traditional marketing. Nonetheless, from NASCAR to Maxwell House Coffee and beyond, we’re seeing all manner of brands launching makeovers and tweaking old products to woo millennials, with varying degrees of success—and awkwardness.

  • Maxwell House

    Maxwell House Iced Coffee concentrates
    courtesy Maxwell House

    As AdAge noted, Maxwell House coffee is 122 years old, and it’s “one of the retiree set’s favorite brands.” Instead of remaining focused on its core gray-haired customers, Kraft-owned Maxwell House has been trying to reach millennials, who love coffee but rarely brew their own at home and more rarely still drink it black. Kraft’s proposed concept to woo the flavored-coffee-loving youngsters is Maxwell House Ice Coffee Concentrates. They’re squeeze bottles that are poured over ice for instant iced coffee, in Caramel, Vanilla, and other flavors. “Think of it as Mio with caffeine,” the Chicago Business Journal explained.

  • Residence Inn

    Smores on the firepit at Marriott Residence Inn
    courtesy Marriott Residence Inn Smores on the firepit at Marriott Residence Inn

    The Marriott-owned extended-stay hotel is turning 40 in 2015, and like many turning the big 4-0 before it, the brand isn’t ready to embrace old fogey status. Instead, the chain is trying to inject some hipster cred with a new program called Residence Inn Mix, with guests encouraged to mix and mingle other business travelers on various “themed nights.”

    Local food trucks show up every other Wednesday, for instance, and there are hangouts around fire pits. A few Residence Inn locations are also testing a pilot program involving an augmented reality technology called Blippar, in which guests are presented special “beverage coasters that allow them to unlock unique interactive experiences including multi-player trivia games, customizable selfies and premium Anheuser-Busch content including suggested food and beer pairings.” Food trucks, tech rewards, selfies: What more could a millennial want?


    Phelan M. Ebenhack—AP Live music and DJs have become staples at NASCAR events.

    Why are DJs, go karts, and foam parties turning up at NASCAR races? The added side attractions are all about trying to turn the children of prototypical NASCAR Dads into NASCAR Kids. For instance, ticketholders for car races this summer at the Michigan International Speedway are simultaneously granted admission to Keloorah, a two-day festival that sounds a lot like a rave, with “live concerts, deejays, video games, tailgate games, foam parties and paint parties.”

    There are also “dedicated spaces for hanging out with your friends even into the wee hours of 3 a.m.,” the Detroit Free Press reported. The overarching idea is that while millennials might not turn up for a plain old car racing event, they’ll be intrigued with a three-day festival that includes electronic dance music and late-night partying.

  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House

    Ruth's Chris Steak House
    Helen Sessions—Alamy

    The experience at this upscale steakhouse chain—butter-topped steak served in quiet, low-lit rooms draped in dark woods—is classic. But another way of saying “classic” is old-fashioned, and perhaps out of touch with what young people want today. To boost its sway among millennials and younger diners, Ruth’s Chris is undergoing a broad “Ruth’s 2.0” renovation at as many as 15 locations this year, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Some of the dark polished wood will disappear, to be replaced with hipper (and lighter) stone. Bigger bars and more open space will be added on patios too, because, you know the youngsters like to drink and socialize.

    To avoid alienating the established clientele accustomed to the way things have always been at Ruth’s Chris, the changes will be subtle. And they’re not daring to get rid of the butter on the steaks.

  • Hyatt

    Hyatt Centric, South Beach, Miami, Florida
    Hyatt Hyatt Centric, South Beach, Miami, Florida

    Following the trend of other big travel companies introducing “hotel for millennials” concepts, Hyatt recently rolled out Hyatt Centric. The new hotel brand, with locations only in Chicago and Miami’s South Beach thus far but many more on the way, is targeted at younger customers who might otherwise use Airbnb because of a preference for city-center locations and a residential feel. Among other millennial-friendly amenities, Hyatt Centric guests always enjoy free wi-fi and are allowed to bring their pets, and the on-site lounge features “local flavors, artisanal cocktails and an occasional riff on an acoustic guitar.”

  • Chevrolet

    2016 Chevrolet Sonic RS Sedan
    Mueller/Chevrolet 2016 Chevrolet Sonic RS Sedan

    General Motors’ Oldsmobile brand was phased out more than a decade ago. But GM, and the entire auto industry for that matter, has been understandably concerned that millennials think car ownership in general is old-fashioned and out of date. To win over the millennial generation, which now accounts for one-quarter of new car sales, GM’s Chevy brand has launched huge social media campaigns not only on Twitter and Facebook, but Vine, Tumblr, Snapchat, and other “emerging” platforms. Specifically, Chevy is using social media to promote models like the Spark, Sonic, Trax, and Cruze, which are smaller, more affordable, and (presumably) more appropriate for millennials than other kinds of cars.

  • Good Humor

    Unveiling of The Good Humor Joy Squad and launch of the Good Humor Welcome to Joyhood campaign,Thursday, June 25, 2015, in New York.
    Diane Bondareff—Invision for Good Humor

    On the one hand, Good Humor is using nostalgia in the form of vintage ice cream trucks to give ice cream sales a boost this summer. While that should play well with “vintage” old-timers who remember when an ice pop cost a nickel, the Unilever-owned brand is simultaneously going for younger generations with a series of brightly-colored tricked-out ice cream trucks that blare Taylor Swift and Beyonce tunes instead of the ice cream jingles of yore. Perhaps inevitably, customers will be able to place orders with iPads at the new trucks too.

  • KFC

    Colonel Sanders
    KFC KFC's Colonel Sanders

    You’ve probably noticed that Colonel Sanders has made a comeback. While the return of KFC’s white-haired founder-mascot may not seem to have anything to do with millennials, the goofball humor of the new Colonel, now played by SNL veteran Darrell Hammond, certainly seems aimed at a new generation of consumers who may largely ignore KFC’s “finger lickin’ good” food. What’s more, the revamped Colonel is part of KFC’s larger hipster makeover that includes a screwball online video game in which players make Colonel Sanders punch people in the face and bounce babies off of trampolines.

  • Goodwill

    Goodwill of Orange County
    Michelle Carrillo—Goodwill of Orange County Goodwill of Orange County

    The rise of hipper, or at least more organized thrift store chains like Savers and consignment shops has pushed stalwart thrift brands of old such as Goodwill to take a look in the mirror and try to appeal to a broader—and younger—base of consumers. A spokesman for a group of Goodwill locations in western New York recently explained that stores were undergoing upgrades such as improved lighting and more user-friendly layouts in order to attract “young families, college kids looking at getting really good branded products at a good price, do-it-yourselfers, just getting new shoppers to give us a shot.” In some cases, the buildings housing Goodwill stores have been upgraded, or are brand new construction rather than serving as the replacement when a fading retailer like Barnes & Noble or Toys R Us fails. Improvements at Goodwill stores seem to be the inspiration for upgrades to Salvation Army stores as well.

  • Pizza Hut

    courtesy Pizza Hut Pizza Hut Hot Dog Bites pizza

    If any group is intrigued with tasting fast food monstrosities like Pizza Hut’s new hot dog pizza, it’s millennials. They’ve come of age as full-fledged foodies who welcome spice and quickly tire of the same-old, same-old. In addition to wacky creations like the hot dog pizza, Pizza Hut has been shooting for a youth surge with a radical new menu featuring a wide spectrum of crust, sauce, and “drizzle” dipping options, as well as gimmicks like this funky pizza box that turns into a film projector.

MONEY groceries

Look for Major Grocery Price Wars Coming Soon

Aldi shopping carts
Peter Byrne—AP

Upstart super cheap grocery brand expands in a big way.

There seems to be no stopping Aldi. If you haven’t heard of this supermarket brand, you probably will very soon.

Aldi is a super cheap grocery chain that’s owned by the same company as Trader Joe’s, and that has an unusual business model that keeps grocery prices incredibly low due to small store size and limited selection—including almost no national brands. Like TJ’s—named recently as America’s favorite supermarket chain—Aldi’s inventory is dominated by private label brands (a.k.a. generic store brands) you won’t see in any other store.

Based on how quickly Aldi has been growing, the model seems to be resonating with shoppers. Aldi had around 1,200 stores in the U.S. as of 2013, and it’s up to 1,400 now. This week, the company announced another huge expansion, with its first location in southern California set to open in March 2016, and as many as 45 more stores planned for the region by the end of the year. Altogether, Aldi has set the goal of opening 600 or so new stores around the country by 2018, which would bring its location total to roughly 2,000.

Despite its success, Aldi clearly isn’t the supermarket for every kind of shopper. The limited selection, particularly in terms of produce and perishables, pales in comparison to the wealth of options at Wegmans, Whole Foods, or Publix—chains that always score highly in consumer surveys. Aldi only recently began accepting credit cards in addition to cash or debit cards, and shopping carts are available only to customers with a quarter handy: You must insert a 25¢ coin to get a cart, though you get your money back when you return the cart. Aldi keeps staffing (and overhead) very low through techniques such as this, which essentially makes customers do the work that’s normally handled by an employee.

The tradeoff for Aldi’s quirks is pricing that’s rarely seen outside of “Extreme Couponing.” A box of cereal is rarely over $2. The price of a gallon of milk is often $1 or more cheaper than at traditional supermarkets. Aldi was named America’s third-favorite supermarket brand in the latest Market Force Information report, and it received the highest overall score in the “Value” category.

What’s perhaps most interesting is that the expansion of Aldi will even benefit grocery shoppers who will never enter its stores. Next year, shoppers in southern California can expect “a pronounced price war” at grocery stores thanks to Aldi’s entrance into the region, Burt Flickinger III, managing director of consulting firm Strategic Resource Group, said to the Los Angeles Times. “Aldi has been Wal-Mart’s worst nightmare. It will be tough on Costco as well as all the established food retailers.”

What’s more, Flickinger explained that “Aldi has always done best with markets with the highest cost of living,” and “California has the highest cost of living in the continental United States.”

MONEY Advertising

The Yuccie and 2 Dozen Other Ways to Categorize Millennials

Raphye Alexius—Getty Images/Image Source

Meet the unholy mashup of hipster and yuppie, the Yuccie.

What do you get when you combine an insufferable hipster with a materialistic, ultra-ambitious yuppie? The Yuccie.

The term, freshly minted in a Mashable post by self-proclaimed Young Urban Creative (or Yuccie) David Infante, applies to a category of millennials who are “borne of suburban comfort, indoctrinated with the transcendent power of education, and infected by the conviction that not only do we deserve to pursue our dreams; we should profit from them.”

The Yuccie “is someone who is driven by the same careerist concerns as the yuppies might have been 20 years ago but with the creative drive of a hipster,” Infante explained to Yahoo. “They want to be known for their craftsmanship.”

The Mashable post includes a list of behaviors reminiscent of the old Jeff Foxworthy comedy bit (“You might be a redneck …”), only the checklist here is meant to identify the Yuccie. The individual who “takes boozy painting classes,” “avoids visible tattoos (not a prudent career move),” and “doesn’t like gentrification in theory; loves artisanal donuts in practice” may very well be a Yuccie. “Brogrammers hawking Uber for weed and Tinder for dogs,” as well as “boutique entrepreneurs shilling sustainably harvested bamboo sunglasses,” also fit the category, according to Infante.

The term “Yuccie” may be every bit as mockable as actual hipsters and Yuppies, but it’s hardly the first attempt at categorizing millennials based on their consumer habits and career ambitions. The acronym HENRY, or a person who is “High Earning, Not Rich Yet,” has been applied to up-and-coming millennials by none other than Goldman Sachs.

In 2012, Boston Consulting Group researchers identified “six distinct segments of U.S. millennials.” They are:

• Hip-ennials (29 percent)—“I can make the world a better place.”
• Millennial Moms (22 percent)—“I love to work out, travel, and pamper my baby.”
• Anti-Millennials (16 percent)—“I’m too busy taking care of my business and my family to worry about much else.”
• Gadget Gurus (13 percent)—“It’s a great day to be me.”
• Clean and Green Millennials (10 percent)—“I take care of myself and the world around me.”
• Old School Millennials (10 percent)—“Connecting on Facebook is too impersonal, let’s meet up for coffee instead!”, meanwhile, said that there are seven types of millennials:

• The Boomerang Baby (lives at home with parents)
• Perpetual Intern (underpaid, underemployed)
• The Grad Student
• The Idealist (active with nonprofits and crowdfunding)
• The Young Householder (loves decorating, being creative)
• The High-Tech Multitasker
• The Startup Kid (highly entrepreneurial)

Yet another list of millennial types was created last fall by the digital advertising firm Exponential. Apparently, it was impossible to limit the list to only a half-dozen or so categories. They came up with 12, including Nostalgics, Culinary Explorers, The Underemployed, The Collectors, and The Exuberants.

As you’d guess, there can be a fair amount of overlap with these groups. The individual Yuccie may very well be equal parts Idealist, Hip-ennial, Multitasker, and Exuberant, whatever that means.

Why are these categories created in the first place? Millennials aren’t regularly pigeonholed merely because it’s fun. Instead, millennials are placed in boxes by marketers and brand experts because understanding a demographic is the first step to being able to sell stuff to the people in it. The Boston Consulting Group presented its half-dozen millennial types with the straightforward goal of trying to “help companies improve the way they develop their marketing, brand, and business models.”


This Is the World’s Most Valuable Auto Brand

2015 Toyota Camry
David Dewhurst Photography 2015 Toyota Camry

Despite a strong year for industry sales overall, the top automaker saw its value drop.

Toyota is worth 2% less than it was a year ago, according to the just-released BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study from market research firm Millward Brown. Nonetheless, Toyota, estimated to be worth $28.9 billion, is still the world’s most valuable automotive brand. The Japanese automaker has held the title in eight of the last ten years.

Automotive News noted that Toyota, as well as Honda, saw its valuation drop over the past year partly due to massive recalls that plagued the entire industry and hit these two automakers especially hard. Honda’s worth, according to the BrandZ study, dropped 5%, landing the automaker in fourth place with a value of $13.3 billion.

BMW and Mercedes-Benz hold positions #2 and #3, while inching up slightly in value over the past year. Ford, the only American automaker in the top 10 (#5), boosted its value by 11%, while Audi (#7) and Volkswagen (#8) increased their values an impressive 43% and 10%, respectively.

Overall, the total value of the top 10 automakers rose 3%, which is nothing compared with the growth in industries such as tech and retail—both up 24% year over year. The insurance and telecom categories showed substantial increases as well, with their overall values up 21% and 17%, respectively.

Why isn’t the auto sector growing faster? The study’s researchers point to the overlapping trifecta of mobile devices, millennials, and non-ownership trends that include car sharing and services like Uber. “Factors such as urbanization and the influence of millennials are changing the very idea of mobility in fundamental ways,” the report explains. “Young people, in contrast to their parents, don’t rely on cars for freedom or for defining and projecting a self-image. They have mobile devices.”

TIME Brands

These Are the 8 Most Valuable Brands

Google isn't No. 1 any longer

After a brief demotion to the No. 2 spot last year, Apple has won back its title as the world’s most valuable brand, according to the annual BrandZ ranking put together by marketing research firm Millward Brown.

Google briefly claimed the most valuable brand title last year, interrupting Apple’s three-year run. Apple’s brand value boomed 67% this year, hitting an impressive $247 billion. Google’s brand value, meanwhile, climbed 9% to $174 billion over that same period–making it the No. 2 most valuable brand this year.

Millward calculates the most valuable brands using a mix of market data and consumer surveys to isolate what portion of a company’s value is credit to its brand name.

Here’s the top 8 most valuable brands for 2015:

1. Apple

Brand value: $247 billion

Last year’s value: $148 billion

Change from last year: 67%

2. Google

Brand value: $173 billion

Last year’s value: $158 billion

Change from last year: 9%

3. Microsoft

Brand value: $116 billion

Last year’s value: $90 billion

Change from last year: 28%

4. IBM

Brand value: $94 billion

Last year’s value: $108 billion

Change from last year: -13%

5. Visa

Brand value: $92 billion

Last year’s value: $79 billion

Change from last year: 16%

6. AT&T

Brand value: $89 billion

Last year’s value: $78 billion

Change from last year: 15%

7. Verizon

Brand value: $86 billion

Last year’s value: $63 billion

Change from last year: 36%

8. Coca-Cola

Brand value: $84 billion

Last year’s value: $81 billion

Change from last year: 4%

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