When it comes to fame and infamy, former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes has apparently taken the market.
Internet marketers are profiting from mugs, T-shirts and even shower curtains in the weeks leading up to his criminal fraud trial in August.
A review of online stores shows over 50 listings for Holmes and Theranos products on Etsy, Poshmark, eBay, and Redbubble.
One of the most exclusive items is what is advertised as an authentic Theranos lab coat priced at $ 17,000.
Holmes, once a beloved Silicon Valley girl, faces federal wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges in connection with allegedly misleading investors, patients and doctors about her company’s blood test technology.
However, customers are excited about their product purchases on social media.
On a TikTok, a young woman is seen posing in a mirror wearing a pink T-shirt that reads “Elizabeth Holmes is my #GirlBoss.”
Another TikToker shows a mug with Holmes on one side and Theranos on the other. She says, “I really wish Elizabeth Holmes had an MLM so I could join him.” An MLM is a controversial multi-level marketing operation that, the US Federal Trade Commission warns, may be a pyramid scheme.
And another pulls a T-shirt out of a package, proclaiming, “You are all here. The Queen of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes ”.
A search on Instagram and Twitter also shows customers posing with their merchandise.
Holmes, who is pregnant and will be born next month, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Before the fall of Theranos, her image seemed to be everywhere, even landing on the cover of Forbes.
Today, despite a battered image and an upcoming 13-week trial, his brand remains seemingly popular.
“I’m not surprised, Elizabeth Holmes was a very inspiring person,” says Mark Macias, founder of Macias PR. “She was the youngest self-made, enterprising billionaire woman, and even though we found out it was supposedly a fraud, she sold something that was revolutionary.”
Anthony, owner of the Etsy store “Finance Memes,” says sales of his Holmes-related products have skyrocketed since February. Anthony asked CNBC not to use his last name for fear of jeopardizing his job.
“You see it with Wall Street Bets – people love to talk about how much they’ve lost,” Anthony said. “There is an obsession with fraud, gambling and bad risks. Everybody loves a good villain. “
A mug that says “Theranos Early Investor” is the most popular item in his Etsy shop, says Anthony. “It’s a bit more discreet, you can put it in your drawer when your boss passes by.” Anthony says he has had more than 200 hits on the cup in the last few months.
“There will always be people on the sidelines, who want to express themselves, confront the system and show them the finger,” said Macías. However, he cautions, “If you want to have a lasting brand, it is better to be famous. Infamy is short, it can ruin and destroy a brand ”.
For Holmes, whatever image he projects is eternal.
As MSNBC columnist James Surowiecki wrote in a recent article, “On the way up and down, one thing about Elizabeth Holmes has remained constant: people are fascinated with her.”
Watch the video to learn more.