Simpson's business savvy has inspired other celebs. "I admire Jessica Simpson a lot because she has branded her line to become a huge success," wrote "Jersey Shore" reality TV show star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi in an email to The Associated Press.
Polizzi last year started selling perfume and nail polish, among other items at HSN home shopping network and to beauty chain Perfumania. This fall, she expanded her collection to include jewelry. She also plans to add headphones and accessories next year.
"I bring in my ideas on what type of bottle shape I'd like, to different designs of animal print or clothing designs to my favorite smells from soaps, lotions (and) hair sprays," Polizzi wrote.
BEYOND THE NAME
But attaching a star's name to a tee shirt or earrings does not guarantee success. Generally, how well a line does will vary greatly, depending on the star's popularity and involvement in the design, the quality of the merchandise and marketing of the brand.
There are all sorts of ways the merchandise deals work. But in many scenarios, the idea of starting a collection comes from the celebrity, who shops the concept around to manufacturers and stores. How the deals are structured varies widely.
The lines can be a gamble for stores. For one, their success often is closely tied to one person whose popularity can fade quickly among finicky fans. And while shoppers may grab celebrity brands when the lines debut, they may not return if they don't like what they see after that.
"The celebrity name draws the fan base to the product but at the end of the day, the product has to stand on itself," says Michael Stone, president of The Beanstalk Group, a global brand licensing agency. "It has to be well priced and well designed."