Celebrity Entrepreneurs: 5 Musicians with Rockin’ Business Sense

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You’d think with hit songs, award-winning albums and sold-out concert venues, these musicians would have plenty on their plate. Think again. Driven by their entrepreneurial spirit, these five rockin’ women have a thing or two to show us about the business world and how to create a seriously successful brand. Whether they’re designing fashion lines or giving other artists the jumpstart they need to succeed, these go-getters certainly inspire us to think big.

Jessica Simpson:
Whether it’s singing, acting or even her most recent foray into motherhood, Jessica Simpson knows how to make a name for herself. And now she’s got a major foothold in the fashion industry to boot! Her massive empire includes shoes, handbags, denim, swimwear, fragrance and maternity lines—perhaps you even own a few of her products? Simpson’s combined brands resulted in $750 million in sales in 2010, and she’s projected to become the first celebrity brand to break $1 billion in annual sales.

Beyoncé Knowles:
Like Gwen Stefani, Beyoncé Knowles has fashion in her blood. Her grandmother Agnèz Deréon worked as a seamstress in 1920’s Louisiana, inspiring Beyoncé and her mother to create House of Deréon, a ready-to-wear women’s fashion line. While the line draws inspiration from three generations of women in their family, the overall style of the line most closely resembles Beyoncé’s taste. The House of Deréon collection features sportswear, denim with fur, outerwear and accessories (including handbags and shoes).

Gwen Stefani:
Search for the most successful singer/entrepreneurs today, and you’re sure to find the highly respected Stefani near the top of the list. Though she comes from a long line of seamstresses, she first found fame as the lead singer of immensely popular California band No Doubt. She furthered her success as a solo artist, but fashion never lagged far behind. As she penned hit singles, she also sewed her own clothes for the stage, culminating in the 2003 debut of her own clothing line, “L.A.M.B.”; she’s since added “Harajuku Lovers” to her fashion repertoire. The hard work has paid off—her clothing lines pull in an estimated annual gross of $90 million and the admiration of fashionistas all over the globe.

Alicia Keys:
While celebrity singers clearly have a foot in the fashion industry, some have made their entrepreneurial name through other ventures. Alicia Keys, for instance, started her own production company at only 24 years of age. She speaks on behalf of numerous charities, co-founded KrucialKeys Enterprises (a musical production/songwriting company), and more recently, she founded “I Am A Super Woman.com” as a community where women could support each other. She’s even created an interactive app for young people. This girl is indeed on fire!

Ani Difranco:
Indie folk-rock superstar Ani Difranco didn’t stray far from the music industry to find her entrepreneurial niche. To avoid being tied to a mainstream record label, Difranco simply created her own in 1990, ultimately naming it “Righteous Babe Records.” Her Buffalo, NY-based company still turns out albums from emerging artists and profits upwards of $1 million per year. And in 2006, Righteous Babe added a venue to its name by converting an abandoned Church into a concert venue, giving it the apt name of “Babeville.”

Watch this insider interview with Jessica Simpson inside her LA clothing showroom!

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