This morning Lainey emailed me about some new Jessica Simpson photos so I went online to find them. Then I had to find the date to make sure they were new because to be honest, if I’m looking at Jessica Simpson photos from 5 years ago or 5 minutes ago, her aesthetic is largely the same. Which isn’t to say it doesn’t work. Her overall brand is solid, with 30 plus product lines (including perfume, athleisure and maternity) and the largely quoted $1 billion in retail sales a year
The term “girl boss” is often used to celebrate women who are running companies or diversifying their brands. We know Gwyneth Paltrow is a boss – she has often talked about getting VC funding for goop and the pains of growing a business. Even more so with Jessica Alba. And of course Drew Barrymore has Flower Beauty, and Kate Hudson has Fabletics. Nicole Richie runs House of Harlow and Reese Witherspoon, who is doing both lifestyle and heading a production company, has burst out from her bad rom-com prison before our very eyes. Then there’s Ivanka Trump, Bethenny Frankel, and Sophia Amorusos of the world. (Sophia, founder of Nasty Gal, wrote the popular #GIRLBOSS book and has an upcoming Netflix series based on it.) But do we think of Jessica Simpson as a “girl boss”? Does that marketing package of empowerment + business savvy + gumption apply to her? I’ve never really thought of Jessica Simpson as a boss, even though she must have employees and responsibilities and manufacturing stress and marketing plans.
In 2015, she sold a large part of her licensing to Sequential Brands Group (the Camuto Group kept the license for her very lucrative shoe line), and she retains brand equity. No doubt the details of this deal were complex, but did we ever really hear about Jessica’s triumph? In one old article I found, she said, "Working together with the powerful management team at Sequential and with all of our trusted retailers and licensees, including Camuto Group, there is no limit to our success. I'm as committed as I was ten years ago. Here's to the next billion."
Against the trend of many female celebrities in lifestyle, Jessica is the CEO who chooses not to show her work. But if she did, I’m very curious about what she could tell us, and why she chooses not to share. Is mystery the secret weapon in Jessica Simpson’s outstanding retail success?