Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
By special request ... some before and after pictures of Patti. I had some trouble finding any decent before pictures, so they aren't the best quality. If i find anything better, I'll post it.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Word is, QVC is going to be rolling out another new host soon, Albany Irvin.
According to the bio on her website, Albany grew up as a military brat who worked to become a dentist (she's gonna be all over those SuperSmile presentations!) However, her plans were put aside when she fell in love with the camera. In addition to her hosting and commercial work, she's also another "busy mom" since she's married with three kids. (Note to Albany: If you didn't already know, "busy mom" is an entire category of home shopping hosts. As a busy mom host, you are required to say something like: I don't have time to fuss. I'm a busy mom! That's why this product is perfect. I can just throw it on with a crisp white shirt and I'm out the door!)
Check out her host reel:
You can check out her website here, her blog that she forgot about here, her MySpace here, and her Facebook here.
Wayne, Wayne, Wayne ... oh, how I've missed thee! After his break from HSN, there has been a vacuum in the home shopping universe that can only be filled by one Mr. Wayne Scot Luas.
I caught a bit of his maiden ShopNBC presentation yesterday morning, and he did not fail to disappoint.
Best moment: Can we say "nipples?"
Check out the new line on ShopNBC.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
QVC loves to flash a little bling-bling. In fact, it's how they built their multi-billion dollar empire. But with the economy swirling the drain and gold prices continuing to skyrocket, home shopping customers are losing interest in shiny objects.
The Q is now focusing more on "practical" items like electronics, kitchen gadgets, and food (although I for one don't think that a $50 cheesecake is practical). Just think back to this past Memorial Day weekend. Save for the Black Hills Gold show last night, there was nary a sparkle to be found. I think every time I flipped onto QVC they were presenting that flat garden hose or a food item of some sort.
The problem--other than Queen Bea being bored out of her gourd--is that jewelry has a much higher profit margin than these other categories. Sales focused on non-jewelry categories and lower price points resulted in QVC's first quarter earnings dropping 18% from last year.
The trend against jewelry isn't just affecting QVC. The demand for gold is at a 20-year low and all jewelry retailers are suffering. When you just lost your job or you aren't sure that you'll still have a job in a month, buying a new bauble simply isn't the priority.
Even Jewelry Television (JTV)--a channel focused solely on jewelry and gems--is getting in on the act. JTV recently rolled out a new gemstone-infused skincare line called DermaGem. I can only assume that they are looking to find new non-jewelry products to help carry them through the slump.
On the flip side, that ginormous 25-carat apple quartz ring pictured at the top of the page is the Today's Special at HSN ... maybe there is hope. The sheer audacity of that ring makes me smile. Home shopping without bling is like eating cereal with no milk. Yuck.
Sure, it could send me into a diabetic coma and add ten pounds to each thigh just by smelling it, but I think it just might be worth it.
What it's definitely not worth is $36.84 + $11.22 S&H + tax. Are they freaking kidding me? I don't care what they say about how many servings are in there. Anyone who watches the Golden Girls knows what really happens with the cheesecake when no one is looking.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
no!no!--famous for their hair removal device that is painful or not painful to use and works well or doesn't work at all depending on who you talk to--just came out with something to help tone your saggy, wrinkly face. Like a Total Gym for yout face, the FaceTrainer is supposed to provide resistance training that gets your face muscles in shape.
Clinical studies have shown that 10 minutes a day through 30 days of use will result in 71% reduction in sagging and 42% reduction in wrinkles. The FaceTrainer™ enhances the muscle activity by up to 93%. ... Facial exercising has been proven clinically for many years to help tone the underlying muscles of the face and neck, increase blood flow and reduce wrinkling and sagging.
While I appreciate anything that helps me stay looking younger without surgery or injections, this contraption scare me and reminds me of something else entirely ...
It's already on HSN and is selling for $200(!) and, personally, I think that if I want to try the whole face muscle workout thing, I'd much rather try the Facial Flex from the Q. It's only $30 and it's far less scary looking. Ridiculous looking, yes ... but not nearly so terrifying.
If I help you, Clarice, it will be "turns" with us too. Quid pro quo. I tell you things, you tell me things. Not about this case, though. About yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no? --Hannibal Lecter
I can't wait to see them demonstrate the Hannibal Lecter mask live!!!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Steve was laid off as part of the company-wide workforce reduction back in May of last year. However, a month before he was terminated, Gordon said he met with two Jewelry Television executives who discussed the company’s increasing health-care costs, including those associated with his cancer treatment.
Steve was hired in 2004 after being recruited by then-CEO Robert Hall and then diagnosed with a type of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma cancer in 2005. He claims that he was replaced with younger people (i.e. healthier), that they re-hired certain people, and that they tended to hire friends and family.
The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, maintains that Jewelry Television sought to eliminate employees who threatened the company’s objective of an independent public offering by increasing health insurance or workers’ compensation premiums. Steve is seeking $10 million in damages.
After the whole Andesine Labradorite debacle and jewelry sales being down across the board, JTV needs another lawsuit like it needs a hole in the head. I hope this isn't true. I hope that they aren't so heartless as to pull the rug out from someone diagnosed with cancer. But I know the realities of corporate America and nothing surprises me anymore.
Click here for all the information on the open call auditions. If you have an invention, there's simply no excuse not to take a chance and audition. Take the leap and do it! You can even submit a video if you can't make it to one of the cattle calls.
I can't wait until the show starts! Should be interesting ... especially if they bring on some of our favorite HSN personalities.
I thought I was going to do a regular old post announcing the news, when I came across a blog written by Lilliana Vazquez, the vendor rep for Maxx New York handbags on QVC. Apparently she's a total fangirl of Rachel's ... unfortunately, in the process of promoting her fashion idol, she manages to completely dismiss every other fashion accessory designer currently on the Q and make fun of QVC's entire customer base. Classy.
Here's a snippet (emphasis mine):
So as many of you might (or might not) know, my “day job” is going on QVC to represent Maxx New York handbags…and although I really enjoy what I do, I hate the fact that besides our collection, there’s nothing at QVC that I would actually wear…UNTIL NOW…according to FabSugar, Rachel Zoe will be bringing all her gaudy, gold goodness in the form of an accessories line to the Q in October!!!
I hope to that the buyers let her do her “thang” and don’t make her tone it down for their audience. Based on past experiences, QVC has a lot of say in the design of each item so I hope they let Zoe’s genius take the reins on this one. I’m sure they’re goal is to attract a younger, more fashion-forward audience with her and they won’t be successful if they tailor the line to appeal to retiree’s in the mid-west.
Wow! Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Does she even know about all the designers at QVC? I realize that you have to push through racks of bedazzled ducks to get to the trendy section, but it's there.
Just in her handbag category alone, there's B. Makowsky, Dooney & Bourke, Kathy Van Zeeland, Tignanello, Vera Bradley ... the list goes on and on (as one host is apt to say) ... are they all beneath her? If I like them does that make me an old, fashion-backward, mid-western retiree?
No, I didn't abdicate my throne y'all, I just needed to "defrag" my brain and get out of the home shopping bubble for a while. Plus, there was that little matter of American Idol to attend to. I *heart* Adam. Not that I dislike Kris, but Adam warms my glam rock lovin' heart.
I'll be speed posting* soon trying to catch up on all the latest news and gossip since I'm waaaaay behind on everything at this point.
*Speed posting = low quality, poor grammar, horribly written posts with little redeeming value. In other words, the same as usual! W00t!!!
Friday, May 8, 2009
See, I told you it was raining men!
Jonathan Redford is the new QVC host-in-training. Here's a snippet of his bio from his website, JonathanRedford.com:
Jonathan Redford grew up in a musical family, kind of like the Partridges, except they didn't tour... though they considered it. He fell asleep every night listening to his dad (who's a composer) plunk out melodies on the piano, thus inspiring him to become a carpenter... which he does on the side when he's not training to join the Los Angeles Lakers... which he also does when he's not trying to become America’s answer to Jude Law... which he does when he’s not trying to one-up Seacrest... which he happens to do when he isn't writing or listening to music.
Check out Jonathan's website ... there's pictures of his cute little dog, Simon, his music (kind of Jason Mraz sounding to me), blog, and resume. It appears that Jonathan is an enthusiastic jack-of-all-trades so maybe, just maybe, he might be able to pull this off. We shall see.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I'm really tired of all the cleavage pictures lately, so I'm just gonna use one of my favorite Mike Rowe shots so there's at least a semblance of some balance around here. Mike Rowe ... *sigh*
First, if you haven't read It's Raining Men! Part One, read it now. Guest blogger and our official Home Shopping Knight, Sir High, gave us his take on home shopping from a man's perspective.
After finding out how much Hugh enjoyed watching home shopping but how little he actually bought, I wanted to know what would make him buy. Was there anything that the home shopping powers that be could do to get Hugh to open up his wallet?
Here's what he had to say:
I think a lot of it has to do with content and not price, or gimmicks.
Several years ago the old Shop-at-Home network used to have sports collectibles on after midnight. Some of it was interesting, most of it was overpriced, and over exposed since you saw almost the same thing every night. Then they fell into the tired old Coin Shop stuff to replace sports collectibles when that burned out.
The problem is they tried to lure male viewers with the same items every night. The steroid scandal in baseball might have been a nail in the coffin of SAH--all of those Barry Bonds, Mark Magwire and Sammy Sosa items became worthless overnight, .....it was probably a last attempt to save a network that was in the tank.
Saying that...I think if the networks wanted more viewership and male customers, go with more sports, outdoor, and entertainment related shows. QVC once did a weekend with Bon Jovi ( which drew several demographics).
Bottom line...I think the networks need to make a change before they find the universe has changed around them, but so far no one is willing to really deviate from the old tried and true format.
I forwarded Hugh's thoughts to former QVC, Q2, and Shop-At-Home host, Ron Maestri, for his reaction.
I do understand what he is saying and can certainly relate, especially with everything he says about Shop-at-Home. When Steve Bryant was hired as their VP of on-air, he desperately tried to get them to understand everything your guest blogger wrote in his post, especially the buyers, who were hellbent on doing things their own way, irregardless of what was right.
I hosted a few watch shows where the items were definitely male oriented, but very stereotyped. There was no real style. I thought it was the manufacturer, until I actually visited them when I was in New York and saw their vast selection. Even the manufacturer (Croton) couldn't understand why our buyers kept buying the same things over and over, taking no risk on anything, all because of their excuse, "our audience won't like that." A ridiculous assertion that cost us plenty, as we all know now in hindsight.
The same was true in practically every other product category. Stubborn narrow thinking buyers who just didn't get it. They were buying for their own tastes and not the audience, which clearly craved variety (and it showed in sluggish sales after seeing the same things presented over and over, night after night).
When I was a TV program director for several different stations, staff and consultant, I'd have to remind management that we weren't buying programming to suit their own tastes but the audience we were programming to. I don't happen to like wrestling, but it sure didn't stop me from buying wrestling shows and scoring big numbers with them.
Attracting a male audience is not a challenge exclusive to TV shopping. Men are the most difficult to attract and keep because they are so elusive. You should also know in most cases, it is the women they happen to be sitting next to who are placing the order or writing the show information in the Nielsen diary, so those rating or sales statistics provided by the respective networks are a bit skewed. Still, men remain a challenge always, in any genre.
It also has a lot to do with the sell. Women are more emotional buyers while men react to things like the speed to which they got someone on the phone to place the order or how good the service is if there is a problem or question afterwards. I found this when I'd ask live phone callers (men) what they liked about shopping with us (QVC, Q2 and Shop-at-Home). Their responses were so much different, 180 degrees from the women I'd speak to. That meant the host needed to understand his/her on-air presentation needed to be more complete.
These were both very well thought out and in-depth responses. I appreciate both Hugh and Ron for taking the time to write down their thoughts.
Be sure to check out Hugh's blog, UselessTriviaAndMindlessRants.blogspot.com.
You can find Ron at RonMaestri.com. He also recently made a guest appearance on Fox TV's Good Day New York morning show preparing his Italian grandmother's original recipe of TORTA, literally translated is potato pie (but based on the ingredients, it's really heart attack on a platter--Yum-O!) It's definitely worth checking out!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Here's some gossipy not-so-blind items on several of our beloved divalicious vendors. See if you can figure out who everyone is! Answers coming soon.
Remember to use a number two pencil and fill in the bubble completely.
1) Which diva vendor finally admitted to a pain pill addiction after years and years of completely denying ever having a pill or a drink?
2) Contrary to rumors, which diva vendor just came out in support of her gay daughter's right to marry?
3) Which diva vendor is being sued for holding her maid at gunpoint? (Yes, you read that right.)
4) Which diva beauty product vendor said "I'm not going to lie to myself: past a certain age, creams work on the texture of your skin but, in order to restore elasticity, all I can really count on is vitamin injections, Botox and collagen."
Happy Cinco de Mayo! QVC is celebrating the big day with the Margaritaville margarita maker as the TSV. Unfortunately for them, South Park skewered the Margaritaville and the people who buy the lushy contraption on an episode just a few weeks ago, and now that's all that pops in my head when I see a presentation. Well, that and where I can find that damn lost shaker of salt ... Maybe that'll be a TSV Extra today? Lunchtime Special, perhaps?
Here's a clip (obviously since this is South Park, it's probably NSFW):
Check out the entire episode here.
Did you catch the QVC piece on Nightline last night?
The Nightline crew followed the ladies from the Microcurrent Facial Toning System for their first on-air appearance, briefly interviewed Lisa Robertson, talked to a few self-proclaimed QVC Queens who are part of the "Cult of QVC," and discussed how the economy has affected sales. And because the Q is completely paranoid, Nightline had to be escorted by four QVC staff at all times. Gotta make sure Nightline doesn't accidentally stumble across any secret upcoming TSV's.
They didn't really report anything new or incredibly interesting and there was the usual underlying "trailer park" stigma, but you do get to see the awesome Box Guy. Next to the person who gets to wrinkle the clothes for the iron presentations and dirty up the carpet for the vacuum presentations, Box Guy totally has the best QVC job! Love him!
Check it out here.
Monday, May 4, 2009
I was asked by our friend QUEEN BEA to write a guest column about “Men and Home Shopping” in order to get a male perspective on home shopping and the home shopping culture. Obviously “QB” has read my columns on the TV series LIFE ON MARS and ASHES TO ASHES- she knows of my fascination with worlds somewhat like my own, but not quite. And that’s how I look at women and their love of shopping, and their attitude towards the home shopping networks as opposed to my own.
"Dontcha Think The Boy Is Stray-yaah-yange?"
Let’s get to the heart of the matter- as far as the shopping channels are concerned men are not quite nonentities- but its close. Several years ago I checked out the demographics of “who buys” at one of the channel’s websites. It stated that 75% of all buyers are women. Recently an I read that the number of male customers is more like 10%. So the breakdown is something like this; female customers 75-90%; “other” 10-25%. And when customers are discussed, the pronoun "he" is about as common as a miniskirt in Saudi Arabia. Men do tune in for the tech and coin shows; the former is more or less a “one shot” purchase (the buyer never to be seen or heard from again), and the latter is regarded as a “niche” purchaser.
So.....I’m a typical guy, a wretched minority, tuning in for the guy stuff (get techy, NFL football, outdoor items, and home and garden). I stay away from the coin shows. When I was little my grandma gave me a bunch of old coins from the 1920's or older. Me being the savvy businessman that I was at age eight, I decided to spend those coins on MR. SOFTEE and MAGLIONE’s ITALIAN ICE when the trucks came around each summer. I still feel guilty...and quite a bit poorer...about those third grade Joneses I had. Nope...I can’t bear to watch those damn coin shows.
But I do tune in for some of the shows that feature “non guy’ stuff as well.....but I’ll get to that just a little later.
Actually I ‘m not very fond of shopping, particularly shopping for myself. Shopping for others doesn’t bother me. I could go into a monologue on shopping, but for now, I’ll just stick to the home shopping , the networks, and some of the personalities on the channels.
I confess- I have exactly ONE home shopping purchase, EVER. That was for a canopy for tailgating at football games- there’s something immensely frustrating about tying to cook burgers in a parking lot during a torrential rainstorm with 48 degree temps. I first became aware of the home shopping channels in the mid 1980's. I was living in Florida at the time and the cable system just picked up what was then called THE HOME SHOPPING CLUB. I don’t remember all of the hosts but Bobbie Ray (Carter) was there, as was a crazy little brunette from Georgia named Alicia Ames, who had a horn at her desk that she would toot for the callers. Ms Ames seemed like she was forever jacked up on Café Cubano, streaming out more words per second than Chris Mathews (of MSNBC) and Suzanne Runyan combined. At first I thought “what kind of desperate housewife (I should have asked for a writer’s credit from ABC) watches this insanity?”
"Oh Lord, I've Seen The Light!"
But a funny thing happened. Over time I began to see the entertainment value of what was then called HSC. It was a hoot. This was live TV, and weirdness, blunders, bloopers, and anything else associated with a live broadcast usually did happen sometime along the way. I’ve said this before, and I’m sticking to it; the only two true forms of reality TV are on live sports broadcasts and the shopping channels. There are no “do overs”; no director yelling “cut’ and going to the video tape; no editors deciding what the viewers will see as far as content. Its all LIVE, and nobody gets a mulligan.
Some people ask... what qualifies a former standup comedienne like Helen Keaney to be a host on HSN.? Well, if you can do standup, and be relatively successful, you can probably do just about anything else in front of a camera. Every audience is different, so is each situation, and the ability to think on your feet is critical, as is your ease in front of the camera. Several months ago HSN brought in a whole stable of young talent. One new host, Kara Connor, was knowledgeable and attractive- but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any person in her position so ill at ease with a camera. She was fine when teamed with another host, but was forever lost trying to locate the camera she was supposed to look into, and always seemed one step away from tossing it.
Being a guy who ventures into a domain where 75%...or 90%..... of the viewers and purchasers are women might seem odd to some. But I do find some of the programming very informative. I’ve probably learned more about computers and technology from watching HSN and QVC than I ever could from reading magazines or by watching the usual programming for techno- geeks on regular commercial TV. I don’t think I’ll ever buy a computer, TV, or home theater system from a home shopping network- I want to see it and touch it up close and personal before shelling out some bucks in these tough times- and if it does break, I want to be the guy to break it, not some guy in a brown outfit driving a truck like a maniac. But I do like the way the gadgetry is explained in very, very, very simple terms- even an idiot like me can handle that..
Another aspect of the shopping channels that is guy friendly are the sports related shows. I’m not a NASCAR fan, but QVC has had a long a fruitful relationship with NASCAR, with shows on location featuring host Dan Hughes and various drivers and racing personalities. The NFL shows are favorites- I’m a fan of former Giant Carl Banks, a bright and funny guy who makes regular appearances on HSN’s NFL shows.
"You're Gonna Carry That Weight!"
An NFL Shop show on QVC was one of the funniest segments of live television I’ve ever seen. The following happened about six or seven years ago, on an early morning show featuring then brand new QVC host Jacque Gonzales. Jacque was working with model Angela, and they were showing a rack of NFL licensed team jerseys. Angela served as both a model, and as a valet stand for Jacque, who piled jersey after jersey on Angela until the poor woman looked like a pile of laundry that had sprouted legs. After a dozen NFL jerseys were stacked on top of her, Angela’s knees buckled, she fell backwards like she had just collapsed by the weight of all the jerseys.
A stunned Jacque was speechless for several seconds, motionless, just looking at Angela lying on the floor. Jacque moved closer to Angela to see if she was OK. And then Angela opened her eyes and laughed at Jacque who jumped back, squealed, and then started laughing, after she realized that she had been punked.by Angela.
To close out the hour, Jacque and Angela played the same game, Jacque the displayer, Angela the coat rack....and again she fell to the floor, going for another laugh.
Jacque was the host during another really funny segment. It was a show that displayed a new product called THE YANKEE FLIPPER. This was a device that when attached to your bird feeder made life impossible for any squirrel that wanted a free meal. When the little old rodent reached the bird feeder its activated a device that spun the feeder’s platform, turning the little bugger into Rocky the Flying Squirrel. After seeing the taped demo of the item with the product representative Jacque started laughing...and couldn’t stop for the next five minutes. I wonder how many of those contraptions they sold?
"That's The Craziest Thing I've Ever Hoid!"
The unscripted nature of the HSN, QVC, and other shopping networks can make them more entertaining than what the networks call entertainment....particularly of the most brainless of genres, so-called “reality” TV. Some of the best escapist REAL reality television of recent years came in the middle of the decade when HSN teamed “The Doctor of Shopology”, John Cremeans, with my favorite Philadelphia export, the beautiful Lynn Murphy. There was always a feeling of controlled chaos about to erupt- but it was preferable to watching the news in the morning. Iraq was going badly, then came Katrina and its aftermath. Waking up each day to those horrors had to be balanced with levity...and HSN’s SUNRISE gave you a mental vacation from death and destruction with your morning coffee.
SUNRISE was always at its funniest when John would get Lynn laughing...sometimes she couldn’t stop, and I believe on a few occasions their mikes were cut and music began to play so Lynn could get herself together. One time an obviously elderly female caller asked Lynn and John why JC was called the “Doctor of Sexology”, driving Lynn into several minutes of hysterical, tears coming out of the eyes laughter.
Oh...look what I found!
And there were the promos that Lynn thought were being taped...but were actually live and going out over the airwaves....and the flubbed lines and surprise of “that’s it...no do-over!”. John and Lynn were easily as funny and complimentary as Regis and Kelly, or Mike and Juliet
Unfortunately, the pairing of Cremeans and Murphy didn’t last very long. An ambitious page for the SUNRISE program was put on the HSN website, complete with a forum. The very first entry on Day One of the forum was “Time For A New SUNRISE DUO”. The bulletin board sharks smelled blood and started to circle, and John and Lynn became targets for the miserable and the disgruntled. There’s one thing in common about the forums of both HSN and QVC....every week some of the villagers need a new witch to burn. So after about a year of unfair abuse John moved over to the late lamented AMERICA’s STORE, and Lynn teamed with Rich Hollenberg until she moved on to afternoons and evenings less than a year later.
SUNRISE (now HSN TODAY) has had almost as many host duos as SANTANA has had band members. Maybe the latest combo (Adam Freeman and Amy Morrison) will have that golden touch.
Last night (April 29th) Lynn and gal pal Diana Perkovic teamed for two hours of almost non-stop comedy. The two basically goofed on each other from start to finish, the Lucy and Ethel of the 21st century. If that show doesn’t make it to THE SOUP this week, then Joel McHale ain’t doin’ his job. The highlight, during a fashion segment, was when an attorney assigned to night court in The Bronx called in....the other attorneys and public defenders were watching the hilarity on HSN provided by Lynn and Diana. And so was at least one judge. The tax dollars of the citizens of New York put to good use, ladies and gents.
Some Closing Thoughts
As much as the hosts and vendors can be entertaining on the shopping channels, there can be some very poignant moments as well. Just about an hour ago I had QVC on while typing this. Designer Nolan Miller came on with a taped message...he was gaunt, with thin hair, and gasping for breath. He just wanted to give a message to his loyal customers and give them a thank you. Sadly, this had the appearances of what could be a goodbye.
And recently there was Jill Bauer with joy of her announcement of a pregnancy, and shortly after, of her tragic loss- played out live on national TV, to a potential of 75, 000,000 American households.
Yes, this is REALLY reality TV.
The subculture of home shopping breeds a closeness between the hosts and their audiences, something that is desired by management and is necessary for success. The relationship is much like a quasi-family in the eyes and emotions of many of the viewers. When a host leaves a network, unannounced, the event is often felt as if a friend vanished from the face of the earth, with no one willing or able to give an explanation of what happened or where did she/he go? Subconsciously this is like a death in the family for some viewers who felt close to a host.
You don’t believe me? Check out the HSN bulletin board- the departure of Kelly Repassy is still being mourned almost a year after the fact.
Many “vanishing hosts” resurface - Mindy McCourtney is “Queen of the Infomercial”. Just put on the tube at 5:00am. She could be on three different channels with three different products. Kathy Levine turned author/ designer, moved on to HSN then back to QVC.
And as for Kim Parrish, who I wrote a profile about in my blog, and got the greatest reaction of any article before or since- from QVC host to fashion designer on HSN, to President of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen- and now (according to one website) is the co-author of a children’s book.....and (according to another source) she is part of a management group that also includes PITCHMEN Anthony Sullivan and Billy Mays.
Twenty years ago I was mocking the concept of home shopping. Today I find the subculture fascinating, with personalities and situations that are more real than the contrived shallowness of reality TV. And though I am not a buyer, I am a watcher. They keep me entertained.
The least I can do is talk ‘em up just a bit.
Thanks Hugh!!! You can find Hugh on Twitter at @Hugh_Jee and at his blog UselessTriviaAndMindlessRants.blogspot.com
Stay tuned for Part 2 where I try to find out what, if anything, can be done to get Hugh to actually BUY something for once.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, new ShopNBC CEO, Keith Stewart, recently held an all-day "State of the Channel" meeting with staff and vendors.
"The economy has nothing to do with ShopNBC's woes," he told the group. "We shot ourselves in the foot. It was all about poor execution. It was all about a backward business model. It's why we haven't delivered more than a dollar of [earnings] in 18 years. And that is going to change."
The ongoing financial woes have been discussed and ranted about ad nauseum by Queen Bea--check out my sage advice for them here, a stock analysis here, an eccentric investor's letter to ShopNBC here, and all the crazy over-paid executive drama here, here, and here. And those are just a sampling!
Stewart, who cut his home shopping teeth at QVC, wants to turn ShopNBC into a "world-championship" company, just like the Yankees. He even got all decked out in Yankee attire because with 26 world championships, "the Yankees represent the kind of excellence Stewart wants at ShopNBC."
While I certainly appreciate his enthusiasm and wholeheartedly agree with him that things need to change quickly in order to stem what he calls a "mass exodus from ShopNBC," by his Yankee logic, they need to be spending more money than all the other shopping channels luring the best hosts and top vendors away from QVC. That's how the Yankees win, right?
As far as behind-the-scenes talent, Stewart seems to be doing just that. Since being promoted to CEO in January, he has "recruited a half-dozen former QVC employees as executives, consultants or board members."
"We really need to get better at customer service," Stewart said. "We really need to get better at answering the phones quickly. We really need to get better at processing reorders quickly. We really need to get better at delivering products intact, on time and ahead of schedule. We really need to get better at product assortment and product mix.
"We're stale," he said. "Let's be honest."
He wants to see more gourmet food and even wants to add cruises (now that's something I haven't seen before!) He also wants his vendors to work with him to lower the average selling price from $225 to $100, which is closer to the QVC and HSN average of about $40.
Stewart seems to be all about setting high goals: double sales and profits every five years, double the customer base in five years, and go international in three to five years. That's a high bar to scale when the economy as a whole is contracting.
And while competitors get half of their sales from about 5 percent of the customer base, ShopNBC gets that same share from 20 percent of its customers. ShopNBC points out that the number of "active customers," those who make more than one purchase, is up 26 percent, and the business has increased its base of new customers by 63 percent in the past year.
Stewart even brought out an old QVC favorite: the letter. You know, too many returns. Since he felt like certain customers--with a 70% return rate--were just "renting" jewelry, he "fired them" as customers. The overall return rate was 33% in 2007, dropped to 23% last year, and Stewart has set a goal of getting that down to 17%.
Has ShopNBC really turned the corner? Will they live up to their new moniker:
Read the entire artile here.
For all you loyal Dave King fans, here's a clip of him showing off his acting chops. Dave's also got a brand new website, davekingtv.com, so be sure to check it out, y'all.
Love the pocket hankie and the bow tie. He's so cute!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Blog reader, Joyce, went way above and beyond the call of duty in her home shopping-ism entry! She's selling her own boobs and she means business, y'all! Remember, buy more and save ...
My Sales Pitch For Trying To Rid Myself of My More Than Ample Breasts On The Home Shopping Channels
"Omigosh!" "My darling.."
"Oh Wowwwwwww" "I gotta tell ya," "I've got two of these" and they're "tonal" in "coloration." "This is the hottest color of the season." It's "amazing" how "fashion forward" and "dynamite" they are. "Oh, let's be honest." "I mean seriously." "It's all about stacking, ladies." "You can dress it up or dress it down" by adding some "bling." It's "sexy" and "I promise you, you won't see yourself comin and goin." "I have only a few left." "Literally."
"Let's face it" "this is the last presentation of the year" and "when they're gone they're gone." "I know hundreds of you are in the ordering process right now" and "I gotta tell ya," "if you want this color," "for all intense and purposes" it will make your man's eyes "pop" and he will surely think they are "to die for." "I promise you," "they are truly worth the price of admission." "Congratulations!"
Hmmmm ... she forgot to mention if her boobs were on easy pay.
Congrats, Joyce! Enjoy the Physician Endorsed sunglasses! And thanks to everyone who entered. My inbox has never been so much fun to read.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
I wear my sunglasses at night ...
This is gonna be a super quick little contest. Email or Tweet me your best, funniest, or most absurd home shopping-ism. I'll pick my favorite entry to win the shades and announce the winner tomorrow.
Since there has been a bit of an adjective shortage lately, we all need to pitch in and help! Click here for Queen Bea's old list of favorite home shopping-isms and here for a list from someone who should know! And if you need your list set to music, click here for Steve Bryant's musical rendition of silly things home shopping hosts say.
Send your emails to email@example.com and your Tweets to @QueenBea. Have fun and be creative!
ETA: Your home shopping-ism doesn't have to be specific to these sunglasses. Any kind of home shopping-ism will do.
In this short, but extremely touching video, Jacque Gonzales talks about her own breast cancer scare. The fear and sadness are pure and palpable ... she really got to me. My heart goes out to her.
I got a chance to chat with Physician Endorsed designer Elissa Margulies who will be on QVC today daring their big Fashion Day extravaganza and will have her very first TSV on May 22nd.
If you aren't already familiar with Physician Endorsed, it's a brand of hats and sunglasses that provides maximum protection from the sun while still looking trendy and stylish. Just because we don't want wrinkles and skin cancer, doesn't mean we want to look drab and dowdy.
Elissa kindly sent me some of her products via carrier pigeon (y’all know I loooove when the carrier pigeon pays me a visit!) However, as I explained to her, I have a horrible hat disability. No matter what size, style, or color of hat I put on, it just instantly transforms me from a relatively normal looking woman into a frumpy troll. I have been told this by honest female friends, my loyal gays, my husband, and the horrid reflection in the mirror. Elissa is determined to find a hat that works for me, but until then, I found a friend who looks great in hats to give it a fair review (I didn’t want my cranial impairment to skew the results). Here’s what she had to say about the Cute as a Button hat:
The name says it all! Love the black and white polka dots… I needed a hat that I could do more than double duty--summer gardening, backyard barbecues, ice coffee with friends at one of the many restaurants with outdoor patios--and this one is absolutely perfect. The wide brim is a lifesaver in the Southern sun (even in the spring it can beat down on you like crazy), and the fact that the hat is reversible made it an especially good deal. I have a pretty large head so I didn’t need to cinch the string to make the width smaller, but it’s still a nice feature just in case the material stretches with time. I haven’t had it for too long so I can’t review the UV protection part of it, but hopefully it’ll keep my dark hair from getting lighter in the sun!
She neglected to mention that when I gave her the hat, she couldn’t stop looking at herself in the mirror. Must be nice.
I do, however, look slamming in shades. By far, my favorite of the collection was the Santorini. I love to wear big sunglasses with wide sides to protect myself from the camera flashes of the paparazzi … or at least the sun. The detailed design and touch of bling on the side are perfect. If you like your accessories to be understated than this particular pair isn’t for you. Queen Bea most certainly doesn’t fall into that category! These sunglasses have definitely earned the solid five-star review they have on the Q.
QB: Tell me about how you got your products on QVC and what that first presentation was like. Was it at all like you expected?
EM: Actually, QVC discovered us. They buyer walked in to our NY Showroom, and asked the sales rep "What's that? I think it would be great for QVC"
I wasn't sure that our hats would work on QVC, but figured, why not give it a try. That was almost 7 years ago. Since then, we've expanded in to sunglasses and other private label accessories for QVC. I am naturally a more reserved person, so QVC has been a wonderful opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. It's much more nerve wracking than people can imagine. The hosts are so cool and confident, and I still get nervous, after all this time.
QB: Were there any skin cancer scares in your family that led you to want to do this? Or was it the influence of your dermatologist father? Or are you really worried about wrinkles?
EM: My father always lectured us growing up "The skin has memory, it won't forget", "Fry now, pay later", "You can still burn on a cloudy day"-you get the picture... But until I got Rosacea in my late 30's, I never worried much about being in the sun. Now that I am well in to my 40's, wrinkles are a definite motivation to stay safe in the sun.
QB: Obviously you are concerned with the health of your skin, what is your skincare routine?
EM: My routine is simple: I wash my face with Dove cleansing pillows, and then I apply a light moisturizer (Lubriderm or Atopalm). I do use a mild Renova cream to keep my skin fresh looking.
QB: Besides your own, what are some of your favorite QVC products?
EM: Toys!! I have 2 wonderful nephews that live in Charlotte (I live in Miami) and what better way to spoil them than with toys. QVC has the most amazing selection of toys I have ever seen- And you don't have to fight the crowds at the toy store. Also, being in the Green Room watching the beauty presentations, I have been known to order alot of Smashbox, Touche Eclat and Laura Geller
QB: If you weren't designing sunglasses and hats, what would you be doing?
EM: I would be designing home accessories. I absolutely love textiles!
QB: Did you have any on-air embarrassing moments?
EM: Yes, a couple of years ago, I was on air selling outside with Rick during "Out and About". I had a table with mannequin heads to display the hats. As Rick was pointing out the color options, the camera man leaned in close and knocked the mannequin heads off the table, and they started to roll away, and down the sidewalk. Rick didn't acknowledge what was happening, he just kept talking like everything was fine, but the camera man started to chase the rolling heads. I wasn't really sure how to react, but I thought it would look strange if I didn't pick them up, so I bent over, and the camera man zoomed in on my bottom.
I was a little distraught after the sell, and when I got home, there was a message on my machine. My sister in law said "Great sell, and your butt looked really good in those jeans!"
I still chuckle thinking about it.
QB: Are you thankful to Paris Hilton for making the big "hiding from the paparazzi" glasses so popular?
EM: Yes, and hats too! I have a photo of her wearing a Physician Endorsed "New Attitude" hat she purchased in Maui. (see above picture)
QB: What are your other hobbies or passions?
EM: #1Travel. My husband and I love to put the dog in the car, and drive.
#3 hiking, roller blading and riding my bike
QB: Are you into fitness and working out? If so, what do you do?
EM: Based on my last answer you would think so, but in reality, I have the lazy gene scientists discovered a few years ago.
QB: What else have you designed? Clothes? Jewelry? Purses? Artwork?
EM: I've been designing hats forever. If you remember the TV show Blossom, many of the hats featured on the show were my designs. I did a small collection of UPF 50+ clothing. It sold out, but unfortunately, I didn't have the time to expand the collection.
QB: Did you play dress up when you were a kid with big glasses and hats?
EM: My mother loves hats. She always had a wonderful hat collection. I remember the first time I was old enough to go to the mall with a girlfriend, I came home with a hat. It must be in the genes.
QB: Favorite type of music? Do you have a favorite band or singer? And do you happen to love American Idol like I do?
EM: I love so many different types of music. I love Broadway musicals, Gospel, Pop-everything but Opera (sorry to the Opera fans). LOVE LOVE LOVE American Idol-rooting for Adam this season. (AMEN, Sister! –qb)
QB: What actress would play you in the movie of your life?
EM: You have stumped me here... My friend suggested Katie Holmes, but I think that's just because we both have dark hair and blue eyes.
QB: Your best recipe .... please share!
EM: I do make a great Lime Chiffon dessert. It's made from lime Jell-O, Eskimo Pies and Cool Whip. It sends people over the moon. Unfortunately, I am here at QVC (and away from home and my recipe stash) until the end of June
Thanks to Elissa for giving me and my lucky friend the opportunity to review her Physician Endorsed products. And be sure to check out Elissa today--she’ll be presenting the new Retro Chic sunglasses during AM Style, my favorite Santorini sunglasses at 2 p.m., and the Great Escape Reversible straw hat (you can check it out online, but she said the picture is awful) during PM Style.
I'll be doing a quick giveaway of a pair of sunglasses later today, so stay tuned! :-)
Friday, May 1, 2009
We've watched Dana Bledsoe, the lovely Perricone vendor rep, continue to forge ahead, go on the air, and do her job--all while fighting cancer. Her recent dramatic "hair cut" was in reality Dana tossing out the wigs when her real hair started to grow back after the treatments were completed.
I'm not going to pretend to be a fan of the brand since Dr. Perricone is a little too rich for my blood. However, I am a fan of Dana and her courage.
Her advice? If you know someone who is going through cancer treatments, call them. Just take a moment and reach out to them. I think so many times, we're so afraid that we might say the wrong thing, that we say nothing at all.
Be sure to check out the Pink Ribbon products on QVC. A portion of the proceeds will be going towards the Breast cancer Research Foundation. You can also read blogs written by QVC employees who themselves are survivors of the disease.