Celebrity clothing lines appear to be a thing of the past. In the early 2000’s it seemed nearly every big name was trying to hawk their own brand of ready-to-wear pieces, but few lasted more than a season. There are a few examples of celebrity entrepreneurs who have actually found success in the fashion game. L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani makes $90 million a year. P. Diddy’s Sean John line makes $250 million per year. But those two combined, and then doubled, don’t pull in the amount of one blonde fashion icon.
The clear front-runner of the celebrity fashion game is Jessica Simpson, who’s collection earns $1 billion dollars (and growing) annually. Why is Jessica Simpson the retail queen? Her pieces offer shoppers long-lasting, quality products that not only look great, they’re affordable.
The Jessica Simpson Collection launched in 2006. It began with sales of shoes; high-heels and red cowboy boots, which became sought after thanks to Jessica’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking” music video. The Collection earned $50 million in its first year. Simpson’s likeability, or, awareness sparked interest in the brand but its quality is what would eventually lead to its enormous growth.
A study from Q Scores Co. ranks Jessica Simpson’s awareness at 91% among women and men 18 to 34 years old. The average of other celebrities is 71%. The percentage of those who rate her as one of their favorites is 15%
“Pretty much everyone in that age group knows who she is,” said Henry Schafer, executive vice president, Q Scores Co. “Its top tier awareness.”
Jessica began adding new categories to her brand the following year. Popular fragrances, handbags, sunglasses and denim helped the collection build a loyal following, with more licenses added annually. Recent additions include athleisure, home and baby. There are now more than 30 categories available at stores like Macy’s, Dillard’s and Babies “R” Us. For any Jessica fan it was exciting to see the number of displays, featuring the business woman modeling her new line of belts or handbags, pop up at department stores.
“I think people really trust me,” Simpson told Women’s Wear Daily. “They trust that the product is going to be great, because they’ve given it a try and it hasn’t failed them.”
Seeing the Jessica Simpson label while wandering the mall may not excite you like it does some fans, but try on one of her pieces before you dismiss them. Her line offers a variety of sizes, including plus sizes. Her shorts are the most comfortable ones you can find; they stretch in all the right places and sit at the perfect hip position. Her perfumes are not too overpowering and will assure you lots of compliments. Don’t believe me? Stop into your local department store and try something on!
The collection is also, despite its popularity, extremely affordable. A visit to Macy’s website right now will show 515 results after searching “Jessica Simpson”. After sorting the results from price: low to high, you’ll find pieces from her line range from $4.99 (for a girl’s t-shirt) to $219 (for a faux-leather-trim coat). Trends are not often followed by the line, ensuring you can wear your purchase many years after buying it. Those same red cowboy boots released a decade ago are still one of the collection’s most popular items.
Jessica Simpson smartly wears her own clothing line as well. She even takes photos with fans she spots wearing her heels, or carrying her luggage through the airport. This gives fans assurance that she’s not just slapping her name on items, she genuinely likes them.
So who’s shoe racks are filled with JS heels? Who is dressing their baby in JS onesies? Well, that majority of that billion in annual sales actually comes from the Midwest and that’s where she’ll begin the next chapter for the collection.
“Simpson’s team is currently brainstorming what a Jessica Simpson store could look like… and will likely roll out the first locations over the next year,” Lieber writes.
So will you be first in line at the first Jessica Simpson store? Maybe not, but you can bet hundreds, if not thousands of Midwest girls will be – waiting patiently in their comfortable, affordable Jessica Simpson shoes.