How Jessica Simpson Built a $1B Brand
In the world of celebrity fashion, her line is surprisingly successful
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2011 11:17 AM CST
A model wearing a swimsuit from the Jessica Simpson collection walks the runway in Los Angeles Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008.   (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
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(Newser) – When you think of Jessica Simpson, "savvy businesswoman" is probably not the very first phrase to come to mind. But the singer-actress's fashion empire did $750 million in sales last year, and with the additions planned for this year, sales will probably surpass $1 billion. That's about the same volume in sales as Michael Kors, New York reports. So how did she do it?

  • She's directly involved: Simpson, or her mother, approves every single item in her collection.
  • She doesn't focus on the "celebrity" part of the line: After all, most other celebrity fashion lines have failed miserably. "When it comes to other celebrity brands, I think a lot of people do a great job, but it can’t be all about them," Simpson explains. "Everybody doesn’t want to just look like the celebrity, because they can’t. They just want one element of that style.”

  • Instead, she focuses on the basics: “We try not to set trends, but you need your trending pieces in every delivery," she says. "But those go fast: What you really need is your basics for every type of person."
  • And her stuff is neither snobby nor expensive: "A girl could go to the shopping mall with her mother and she’d have a great new outfit and still have some money left for lunch at McDonald’s," her business manager says. "She can look like Jessica Simpson, smell like Jessica Simpson, and she can afford it."
Click to see Simpson's New York cover, and read what else she had to discuss in the article: her fiance.