Gene Simmons, Carlos Santana, Charlie Sheen Make Unlikely Designers

Celebrity branding has never been hotter — or more bizarre.

KISS rocker Gene Simmons is peddling an "elegant" new perfume. Guitar god Carlos Santana has a new line of sexy women's shoes. And "Two and Half Men" star Charlie Sheen is shaking up the kiddie couture market.

Why are these already successful stars branching out into what appears to be foreign and very unlikely territory?

You guessed right: It's all about the Benjamins.

“It doesn’t have to make sense,” Simmons told “What does KISS have to do with shampoo or coffee? Nothing. The reason to get involved in anything is commerce.”

There are other odd pairings. Donald Trump, a known teetotaler, just launched Trump Super Premium Vodka. Rocker Jon Bon Jovi is the co-founder of the Rock Star Baby line of baby gear. And actor Jackie Chan recently launched an organic skin care line.

“Nowadays, celebrities realize they are like stock portfolios," said Marshall Cohen, chief analyst at market research information company NPD Group. "They need to diversify, because even though they are hot today, they know tomorrow they could be gone. Finding alternative ways to put your name out there helps keep you in the spotlight for a longer amount of time."

Cohen added that celebrities like Simmons generally make between 10 and 16 percent of the gross sales of products that bear their names.

Indeed, when Simmons appears in stores to hawk his perfumes, an average of 2,500 people show up, and his product sells between $35,000 and $50,000 at every stop, said Lori Zelenko, a representative for KISS Fragrances.

"He has the magical touch. People want him to sign bottles. Gene Simmons has women who have been waiting 30 years to touch the guy," Zelenko added.

Most celebrity-branded goods are obvious attempts to ride the wave of success stirred by Sean 'Diddy' Combs' Sean John clothing line and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s merchandising empire.

The $1.3 billion Olsen powerhouse, which capitalizes on the former "Full House" stars' names, has inspired Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Hilary Duff, Jennifer Lopez and countless other stars to cash in on fashion and lifestyle products.

Hip-hop mogul Combs has similarly paved the way for other rappers to play stylist. Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Outkast and Jay-Z have all made their personal styles available at clothing stores around the country, and even Justin Timberlake is living up to his “SexyBack” reputation with his new denim company William Rast.

“All it takes is one successful entity to breed competition,” said Cohen.

But what sets Sheen, Santana and KISS apart from Jessica Simpson's Dessert body cosmetics and Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. apparel is the unlikeliness of the products they are selling.

What does KISS, best known for white face paint, breathing fire and rock 'n' roll, have to do with a delicate women’s body splash?

Not much, according to Simmons.

"We're a rock brand instead of just a rock band,” said the star, who launched his new KISS Her and KISS Him fragrances Oct. 1 and has a 27-city chain of KISS restaurants in the works. "There is nothing we can’t do."

Unlikely as these products are, they are selling. CARLOS by Carlos Santana Shoes says business is booming (with partial proceeds going to charity).

And Sheen, who plays a childless ladies' man on his hit sitcom, has had steady sales with his Sheen Kidz children's clothing line, which was picked up by Los Angeles' trendy Kitson boutique and Bloomingdale's, according to Sheen Kidz.

“Being able to align yourself with a celebrity product, regardless of quantity or quality, is something stores want because the name on the product already gets recognition, which is the key to getting a jump-start on success,” said Cohen.

Most of the time, a celebrity product will sell on novelty alone. KISS fan Howie Davis, a 25-year-old New York City lawyer, wasn't impressed with the smell of KISS Him ... but he still got a kick out of it.

"I thought the packaging was a cool, classic KISS design," Davis said. "The smell is pretty generic, but I don't know how they can package a KISS smell without smelling pretty gross."

Davis added that he doesn't think people buy it for the smell.

"You're not going to impress anyone when they ask you what cologne you are wearing and you say 'KISS cologne,'" he said.

According to a recent NPD survey of 3,500 consumers, 21 percent of consumers said their purchases are influenced by celebrities or endorsements by celebrities.

And celebs like Simmons know better than to stick their tongues out at this moneymaking potential.

“Some celebrities dabble in things, but this is a business. This is show business. The business part is right up there,” he said.

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