Friday, March 6, 2009
Queen Bea got the chance to interview inventor and entrepreneur extraordinaire, Lori Greiner (check out her website here), who is celebrating 9 years on QVC.
I asked some "real" questions, but I also threw in some totally random questions for fun and to try to get to know her a little better. Not that we all don't appreciate Lori keeping our silver from tarnishing, but I wanted to know more about what makes her tick.
Don't forget to Enter the Contest!!!
QB: Is it true that you had your flight diverted and ended up stranded in Canada during 9/11?
LG: Yes that is true. I was flying back from Paris and our plane was ordered down into Newfoundland, an island at the very Northern most tip of Canada near Greenland. We stayed at the Salvation Army Church for a week with 189 other passengers from United Airlines and Delta Airlines flights. Six thousand passengers landed on St. Johns that day, a town that had a population of only 120,000, so 6,000 people was a lot to shelter. It was an amazing story, all the steps we went through just to get processed and put in places that would shelter us. We were very fortunate to have landed there. The people involved with the Salvation Army church were so wonderful to us. Between the Red Cross and the Salvation Army Church, they fed us 3 times’s a day, brought us sleeping bags to sleep in, soap, towels, etc. We were not allowed to take any luggage off the plane, so they really had to care for us completely and they did. I could go on and on about it. While a terrifying experience and difficult physically at times, the kindness of these people is what stands out so strongly to me and we are forever grateful to them.
QB: How has this affected your outlook on life?
LG: I remember thinking at the time how amazing and caring people can be. The town of St. John’s literally jumped into emergency action to take care of all of us. I also realized firsthand what the Red Cross and Salvation Army do and it has given me enormous respect and admiration for these organizations. It was also very interesting to me how the horrible terrorist act also deeply affected the Canadians. They considered is their “brothers/sisters” and their hearts went out to all of us. It made me think about how truly wonderful the human spirit can be and how important it is that an adversity (and even outside of adversity) that everyone should always care about each other and help each other. We are all the same and should share the very best parts of ourselves in life with others.
QB: When you are doing lots of shows in one day (like when you have a TSV), is there somewhere in the studio where you can nap privately or do you have to schlep back and forth to the nearest Motel 6?
LG: That’s funny. When we have a TSV or long day of shows we do get our own green room which is great. We can hang out in there between shows and take a nap—if we can. It’s just great to have somewhere private to relax for a few minutes and sit down. We do schlep a lot of props back and forth because we use all of our own props on air so we run around a lot. It takes us about 4 hours to set up before each show and an hour to break down, so unfortunately we don’t get to sit down or rest much on those hectic days.
QB: Do you get any cool vendor perks--drivers, hair & make-up, meals, etc. or are you on your own lugging samples in your own car?
LG: QVC does have a hair and makeup person that we can schedule an appointment with before a show. I am always so busy setting up that I never have the time to take them up on this great offer. I do my own hair and makeup. I am very hands on in all aspects of my business, so I am really out there setting up and busy most of the time. Because we do lug our own samples back and forth and back and forth!
QB: How far in advance are your appearances scheduled? Do you ever have to fill in quickly? Is it any different during the busy holiday season?
LG: It depends. My Clever and Unique Creations Shows are scheduled a good 6 weeks in advance, but the individual airings I do in other QVC shows, can happen just a day in advance sometimes.
Yes sometimes I do fill in quickly. I remember one huge snowstorm, my husband and I were one of the very few to get to the studio before it became completely impossible. We wound up pinch hitting, making dishes in the test kitchens for on air last second, and doing airings all day to help out QVC because no one else was around. It was a very fun day!
Yes, it definitely is more hectic during the holiday season. More last minute shows or changes going with the flow of whatever if needed.
QB: Are you having to make any changes in light of the current economy? Smaller/less complicated/lower priced items?
LG: I always try to make items that can be very affordable on the whole and a great value. I want to make items that people can say, “Hey, it’s only 'x' dollars, I can afford that!” I think it’s better to make items that the majority of people can afford—then I know I am making people happy.
QB: Have you ever met anyone who can actually fill up the Trifold jewelry cabinet with 700 pieces of jewelry? And if so, is this person planning a yard sale any time soon?
LG: You’re funny. I do know a lot of people who can. My mom for one. Many of our QVC viewers wrote and called in asking me to make a super duper sized Silver Safekeeper and that is why I created it. So many people would tell me that they had 4, 5, or even 6 of my other Silver Safekeepers and that had to take up a lot of room. This product can store all their pieces. And takes up just a little over a square foot of space.
QB: What is your favorite pizza--toppings and style?
LG: Well growing up in downtown Chicago—pizza capital of the world—I love pizza and Uno’s (they also have a sister restaurant called Due’s) in Chicago is really good! My husband and I have done several pizza “throw downs," where we order a pizza (same kind) from two different Chicago pizza places and then have a contest which one is better, Uno’s has won hands down so far over all of them. We get the deep dish sausage, mushroom, and pepperoni. Besides that, I am a pretty healthy eater. The Chicago Uno’s is different from the chain Uno’s you find in other cities, so you have to come to Chicago and go to the “real” Uno’s.
QB: Do you like your coffee simple or do you tend to go for things like the venti soy vanilla mocha latte with no whip? On a side note, have you tried the Keurig (it's my new baby)?
LG: You wouldn’t believe what I do to coffee. I mix about ¼ coffee with ¾ hot water. So at Starbucks I order a skinny latte vanilla and a hot water and then mix them. Adding more Splenda and the powdered chocolate they have on the counter. Crazy, I know. I’m not really a coffee drinker.
We do have your baby. My husband loves it!!!
QB: Looking back, what is the most embarrassing fashion trend that you took part in?
LG: Oh boy, I guess really big shoulder pads. I am rather short, so I think I thought having big shoulders would make me seem larger. I have some pretty funny coats that when I look at them now, I probably looked like a little quarterback in them.
QB: Do you know how to play poker? Are you any good?
LG: I love playing poker!!!! I am [good] when the stars are in my favor.
QB: What is your favorite meal to cook? To eat?
LG: Oh boy—I love to eat and I love to cook so that’s hard to answer. I guess our favorite thing to make, which I don’t make often, is my pasta sauce that I make from scratch—with tomatoes, tomato sauce, lots of Parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, oregano, and of course neck bones for flavor. We throw country style ribs in and it simmers for hours and it is just awesome. Of course I eat pretty healthy other than that.
QB: Aside from your own, what are your favorite QVC products?
LG: I have to say I am a Judith Ripka jewelry fan. I also really like my Arctic 180 ear muffs. Great invention! The Pilates Performer and Northern Nights flannel sheets. There are so many things I have and like—I just can’t think of them all right now.
What celebrities has Lori met behind the scenes? Who is she just dying to meet? What's this I hear about a goat? What's on her iPod? Stay tuned to the next part of the interview!
Don't forget to enter to win Lori's Silver Safekeeper Mirrored Jewelry Cabinet! Submitting your name and email address will get you one entry. However, if you also include a link to where you posted about the contest, you'll get an extra 5 entries! Just entering your name five times in a row doesn't count, y'all!!!
I would hurry, Queen Bea's feeling like giving away some Runner Up Prizes today ... :-)