Thursday, March 19, 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.
Just like in part 1 of the interview, 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.
The contest ends tomorrow at midnight so don't forget to Enter the Contest!!!
QB: Apparently your hair is a hot topic since I received many emails and posts about it. What products do you use and is it anything we can get at the Q? (Someone also complained about your hair color, but I really like your hair color, so whatever!)
LG: I use the Kerastas line of products on my hair. The Masqueintense is a great conditioning treatment! Depending on your type of hair, would depend on what to use. I really love their products.
QB: How do you come up with ideas for products and how many patents do you hold? How does it go from an idea in your head to a TSV? Do you have to approve the prototype? Do you focus group it? Does QVC have input in how you manufacture it?
LG: Often I think of what products I will create based on a need I have or a problem I see friends and family having and then I try to think of what would work really well to solve that problem and I create it. Sometimes it is just what would I like or think our customers would like to have. My best ideas often come to me while I am on an airplane. I guess because being on an airplane is a very quiet time for me, where there are no distractions and I can think.
I have 93 patents to date.
TSV’s have to be special in concept and value. We try hard to have it be something we really feel our customers will like or need. Typically like all products I create, I will start with a hand drawing that I sketch out, then my husband who is a much better draftsman than I, will redraw it perfectly. Then I send that drawing over to whatever factory I feel would be best to make it.
I have such good longstanding relationships with all the factories/sources I use that they can take my line drawings and make a pretty good first sample for me. From there, I will keep tweaking the samples, with changes needed until we get it down to what I feel is just right. Sometimes we don’t need that many revisions, and sometimes we can go through 8 or 9 to get to the perfect last sample. I then keep that last sample as my last sample to refer to when checking final production.
I don’t do focus groups because I think I have a good pulse on what our customers like. When I first started in 1996, I did do market research myself. I went to many different areas around Chicago with my prototype and stopped women walking by and asked them what they thought of it. I knew I would have to take out a very large loan to make my first product, so I wanted to be sure that women would like it and would buy it. After that first product, I didn’t find the need to do market research again. I do get input from the members of my team and also the buyers at QVC. Once I have a product ready in the final sample stage, I will then show it to the buyers for my brand at QVC. They then share their thoughts about the product.
QB: What celebrities have you met behind-the-scenes at the Q? Were you able to chat with them?
LG: Joan Rivers – Who I love. She is really nice and very funny.
Heidi Klum – She liked my Silver Safekeeper initial boxes and has one for herself and her daughter.
Chuck Woolery – A very nice and fun man who we talk to often.
Bo Derek – Very pretty and very surprising to me. She was so petite!
Paula Deen – Funny, full of life. She stuffed me full of her breakfast sausage one day. I don’t normally eat that, but I have to say it was very good.
Tova – I talk with Tova often. She is a lovely person.
Jack Hannah – I loved when he would be at QVC and I was there at the same time. We would go into his greenroom and play with whatever animals he had with him. We played with 5 snow leopard cubs, he had a baby tiger, armadillo, and I loved the kid pygmy goat! It was the cutest thing I think I have ever seen.
Carson Kressley – Very nice and down to earth.
Anson Williams (Potsie from Happy Days) – A very nice guy.
QB: Is there anyone that you've been dying to cross paths with, but it just hasn't happened yet?
LG: James Taylor and also Carly Simon. They were both at QVC at different times and I wish I had been there when they were because I really like them both. Unfortunately, I was out of town both times.
QB: Obviously, being able to start a successful business from the ground up demonstrates that you are a very determined and positive person. Are there any lessons that you learned along the way that you can pass on to other enterprising women (especially in light of the the current economy).
LG: Yes I think that if you are really determined you can make anything happen. My motto is—Don’t ever think you can’t—Just how can you? You just have to be willing to put the time, energy, and dedication required into making something happen. Whatever it is a business or a product. You have to be willing to devote those long hard hours to doing whatever it takes to make it happen and work. Often people have very good ideas, but they don’t want to give up other things or they are unwilling to take any risks. Both are necessary. But I do firmly believe that if you really want something, you ca attain it.
QB: What is your favorite band or singer? Have you seen them in concert?
LG: Boy, favorite band—that’s tough. I like such a huge cross section of music. I like so much. I find music so creatively inspiring. I used to write plays and almost always my best work came form hearing a certain song, which would then set my mind going and into a scene.
I really like sultry music—songs like: At Last, Lou Rawls, Louisiana Sunday Afternoon, Walking in Memphis, but I also like certain songs by U2—Vertigo, Usher—Yeah, Eminem—Lose Yourself, James Taylor, female vocalists like Paula Cole-I don’t Wanna Wait, it’s more certain songs that I like than artists overall. I love almost anything Tango, Mambo, and Mediterranean/Latin.
I also tend to really like the music to may movie soundtracks. My favorites are Body Heat, the love theme to Blade Runner, and most recently I love the music to Revolutionary Road.
Was that an answer or what! You can tell when I like something I really get passionate about it!
Seeing someone in concert—I am going to see Cher in Las Vegas soon. I love Cher’s voice and think she will put on a great show. Just looking at her outfits will be interesting to me!
QB: Do you collect anything and why?
LG: I do collect a few things. I really love old compacts, vanity cases, and pendant vanities from the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. I also like antique silver boxes and cigarette cases as well from those decades.
I love antique jewelry—had to get jewelry in there.
I have recently been into Mei Ji pieces which are from the period 1862 to 1912 in Japan.
QB: What is your dream vacation--cost and time are no object!
LG: I love going so many places. I love to travel, so I like everywhere. I guess right now a dream vacation is one of two things—both would include staying at a fabulous hotel. Either in a warm climate and doing nothing but relaxing or going somewhere in Europe—I like so many places in Europe, but I guess Italy is my favorite. I love almost everywhere in Italy.
QB: Are you obsessed with any television shows?
LG: I am—I Tivo them and then watch at 12 a.m. I love—The Office and Boston Legal. These are two of my all time favorites. I also really like: The Closer, Damages, 24, Fringe, Lost, and 30 Rock. I am so glad there so many things on now that I really like. I also really love the Food Network and I get a kick out of Cash Cab and Mark Burnett’s Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.
QB: Were there any exciting changes during 2008?
LG: Yes, a BIG exciting change! We launched our new website, which people have shared they really love. It helps our customers easily interact with me, see and be able to buy older favorites and keep track of my shows and upcoming exiting happenings. It also answers Frequently Asked Questions and we have an exciting Enter To Win a new featured product each month! Our customers really love the site and we love having it.
Don't forget to enter to win Lori's Silver Safekeeper Mirrored Jewelry Cabinet! Do it right now cause you've only got until tomorrow at midnight to submit your name and email address. Plus, I'll be giving away some totally awesome runner up prizes latter!