Veteran home shopping host Judy Crowell says her return to Minnesota is like Dorothy coming back home from Oz.
Crowell, an Army brat, began her career in home shopping in 1989 at Cable Value Network, CVN, in Minnesota in1989. Later this month, Nov. 24, Crowell will debut a new accessory and clothing line on ShopNBC, which is in Minneapolis.
“It’s almost like Dorothy,” Crowell said. “I clicked my heels and I’m going back home again, full circle.”
Crowell and her husband Paul Deasy, who is guest host for a jewelry line on ShopNBC, both started their gigs as home shopping hosts in 1989. While Crowell was at CVN, Deasy was at Home Shopping Network, now called HSN.
“Ironically, as life would have it, our lives were parallel before we met each other,” Crowell said.
Judy Crowell and Springer Spaniel friend Brie
Crowell had also traveled to places like China so she could discuss jade on the air, while Deasy have been to Africa at tanzanite mines and to Australia to see opals mined, to better describe them.
The husband-and-wife team have a common love of travel and jewelry, as well as “the love of really being able to tell a story about where things come from so that our customer could appreciate the experience and what it takes to get the product into their hands, that it’s not just plucked from a tree,” according to Crowell.
Crowell and Deasy both first worked at QVC and then HSN together, until exiting the No. 2 home shopping channel.
One of our most-asked questions is why did the married couple leave HSN. Deasy exited in December 2007, while Crowell left in April 2008.
After 18 years of each being a host, Crowell said, “We each kind of came to the conclusion that it was just time for a new challenge….That really is the truth. It was just time to move on and do some new things.”
Crowell and Deasy each made the choice to leave HSN themselves, according to Crowell.
“Paul had made the decision to leave first, and I was thinking about it,” she said. “I really had one of these moments, it was actually a long weekend, of sitting in front of the fireplace and staring into the fire and thinking I’ve been a television personality for 28 years, and now I’m thinking about getting out of the business and taking a chance, with no net.”
It was not an easy decision, according to Crowell.
“It was really scary because I really love the business and I loved being on television and I love the interaction with the customers,” she said. “That’s why you do it. …Whenever that phone call would come in, and it was somebody who would say, ‘Hi, I’ve been watching you for so many years. It’s so nice to talk to you. Say hi to Paul.’ That’s the joy in this…and now you’re saying goodbye to it.”
Full-year non-compete clauses kept Crowell and Deasy off the air, and gave them time to build their own businesses.
“If you were to ask ‘Why were they gone for so long, that answers part of that question,’” she said.
In addition to planning her ShopNBC line, Crowell has been doing voiceover work. She has also joined the World Fashion Council and is taking classes to be certified a fashion trend forecaster.
Crowell and Deasy approached ShopNBC about doing lines for it, according to Crowell.
“At one point we were talking about, ‘You can to one channel, I can go to another,’” she said. “And we considered that for awhile, but as timing would have it, as the needs of the different channels would have it, it turned out as they say, meant to be.”
Crowell and Deasy are in a way replacements for home-shopping’s other veteran husband-and-wife team, Pam and Wes McCoy. The McCoy’s were let go as hosts from ShopNBC in a cost-cutting measure, but Pam still has a clothing line on ShopNBC.
The jewelry line Deasy guest hosts, the Gem Insider, debuted in July.
“ShopNBC has treated us like gold,” Crowell said. “They’re thrilled to have us both on board.”
Deasy’s book “Colored Gemstones” is sold on ShopNBC. And he is working on a second book on gems, this one on opals.
“From now on he’s going to be focusing on individual gemstones,” Crowell said. “And then he eventually wants to write another book similar to the one that’s already available, but on another whole series of gems that he didn’t have a chance to touch on in this book. There are hundreds of other ones.”
The night before their 2003 wedding, Crowell and Deasy with Kristen and Kyle
Crowell and Deasy still live in Florida, where their former employer HSN is based. They don’t plan to relocate to Minneapolis, where ShopNBC is located.
First of all, Deasy’s children, Kristen and Kyle, from a prior marriage live in Florida, as do Crowell’s parents.
And Crowell said that she has resided in the Midwest, in states such as Wisconsin, while working for TV before coming to home shopping.
“It’s a great place to live,” Crowell said. “It’s absolutely beautiful. The people are wonderful, but it’s really cold…. There’s something about landing in Tampa. Whenever we come home, it feels like a vacation.”
Crowell accompanies Deasy when he travels to Minneapolis for his ShopNBC shows.
“We’re up there a couple of times a month,” she said.
It looks like Crowell and Deasy have found happiness.
“We’re a great team,” she said. “We’re really lucky. It took a long time to find.”
See related story, “QVC and HSN Veteran Judy Crowell Explains Her New Line on ShopNBC.”