Archive for September, 2009

Carson Kressley Brings His Queer Eye to QVC

September 30, 2009

Carson Kressley, of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” fame, was his usual incorrigible self on QVC Wednesday, as the network ended its “Designing Men” series. He did several shows, including one with a studio audience in West Chester. His mom and sister were in the house, witnesses as Kressley did makeovers of two women.

He can’t resist making jokes, which included an endless stream of quips and sexual innuendoes — with mom right there watching. For example, Kressley is offering a long shawl in his fall collection, and host Patti Reilly had him hold one end while she held the other.

“Let’s see how long it is,” Reilly said.

“Patty, I thought you were coming on to me,” Kressley shot back.

We guess you had to be there, but it sure cracked us up. Kressley also managed to squeeze in a plug in for his show on Lifetime, “How to Look Good Naked.”

This week QVC trotted out the male designers who do lines for the network, including not only Kressley but Dennis Basso, Bradley Bayou, Bob Mackie and Louis Dell’Olio.

We literally bumped into Kressley once while we walking on Park Avenue South. Now, he’s leaving the East Coast and heading back to Las Vegas, where he’s got a hot date with Cher.

Guilty Of Returning Too Many Jeanne Bice Tops And Joan Rivers’ Jewelry? Irate QVC Customers Accuse Network of Reneging On 30-Day Unconditional Return Policy

September 30, 2009

For many months now, some posters on QVC’s online forums have been complaining about “the letter.” A number of customers claim they have received letters from the No. 1 home shopping network warning them that they are returning too many items. The gist of the letter is apparently that these excessive returns are costing QVC too much time and money.

Customer complaints have surfaced again this week, on a QVC forum thread called “The Letter! The Q Has A Lot of Nerve!” Several irked customers claim they were sent the letter, charging that the warning violates QVC’s stated policy of merchandise being able to be returned within 30 days, no questions asked.

Skeptical posters said if such a letter exists, how come nobody has posted it on the forums. But other customers claimed that the letter and excerpts from it have been repeatedly posted, only to be quickly deleted.

It’s unclear how many returns trigger a warning letter, or what the precise consequences are if you keep sending back products. Are you banned from placing future orders with QVC? Is your Q Card revoked? Some posters claimed QVC was threatening to close the accounts of compulsive product-returners.

Let’s put it this way: We have been reading complaints about this “letter” for at least six months now on QVC’s jewelry forum. Unless mass hysteria has hit QVC’s viewers, or they are compulsive liars, we’ve got to believe the letter does exist and is being mailed.

We’d love to see it, by the way, if you have a copy. There’s got to be some fans of Joan Rivers, Robert Lee Morris, Barbara Bixby, Michael Dawkins, Judith Ripka and Jeanne Bice who have gotten it.

QVC declined to comment on the matter. “QVC’s practice does not encompass sharing any information pertaining to our customers,” was the response from the home shopping channel’s PR department.

The purported letter has sparked a lively debate on the “Lot of Nerve” thread. There are 13 pages of comments. Some complained that they were returning more items because the quality of QVC’s products had gone downhill, or because of inconsistent sizing of its clothing. So customers shouldn’t be penalized for returning merchandise that’s not up to par, they argued.

“The new arrogance and greed of QVC never ceases to amaze me,” wrote one poster, who suggested people write their own letters to QVC’s president.

Another poster cited QVC’s return policy verbatim. “A customer may return an item to QVC (and its subsidiaries) for any reason within 30 days of the customer’s receipt of the item. QVC wants you to be completely satisfied with your purchase. If for any reason you’re not, send it back within 30 days of receipt for exchange or full refund of the purchase price, less applicable Q Return Label fee.”

She wrote, “If the above is NOT, in fact, QVC’s return policy, and QVC has some unwritten rule about the number of returns a customer can make, then what is stated above is clearly false advertising. I can’t imagine why QVC wouldn’t want to be as forthright as possible concerning their business practices.”

Others defended QVC, saying that “serial” returners were taking advantage of the 30-day return policy by using beauty or food items for nearly a month – or wearing clothes for special events — and then sending them back for a full refund.

Others argued that QVC was doing out-of-control shopaholics a favor by allegedly threatening to put the kibosh on their buying.

“I don’t blame QVC,” wrote one poster. “You must return close to 60 percent of purchases to get the letter.”

And still others said if customers are so dissatisfied with QVC’s products, whey do they keep shopping there?

“I do not think the letter is nervy,” yet another QVC defender wrote. “It’s good business.”

Ex-Soap Opera Actress Amy Stran Nabs Role As QVC Host

September 29, 2009

QVC officially named a new program host Tuesday, one-time soap opera actress Amy Stran.

In a press release, the No. 1 home shopping network said that Stran joined QVC in February and did a six-month training program “to learn about QVC’s products and sales strategy.” We guess she passed her probation period.

Stran has done theater and television, and has held parts on the soap operas “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” according to QVC. Before QVC, Stran hosted “Premium TV,” a show that promotes premium cable networks. Stran got a bachelor’s degree in theater from Catawba College, Salisbury, N.C.

Here’s the stock quote from QVC on the news, straight from the press release.

“Amy has a proven talent in connecting with our customers. She’s someone they love to shop with,” said Jack Comstock, vice president of talent for QVC. “We’re thrilled to welcome her to the team.”

Guys, This One’s For You: Griot’s Garage Debuts On ShopNBC

September 29, 2009

Home shopping tends to be a women’s world, but ShopNBC unveiled a new product line aimed squarely at men Tuesday. “Griot’s Garage” is offering “accessories for automotive enthusiasts,” including the Today’s Top Value, a “clean and shiny kit” for $48.96.

Richard Griot, founder of Griot’s Garage, is touted as an automotive expert. The other car-care products being offered on ShopNBC include spray wax and an engine detailing kit. We don’t even know what engine detailing is. In fact, we own a 1989 Toyota Corolla that we don’t spend much time waxing — or detailing.

‘Gawker’ Nastily Chimes In On HSN Ads: Calm Down East Coast Media Elite Snobs!

September 28, 2009

Well, the media jumped on the let’s-bash-HSN bandwagon, all following up on The Wall Street Journal’s story today that the No. 2 home shopping network is now doing product placements.

The gossip site Gawker, which has made its name making nasty remarks about other media outlets, wrote, “The Home Shopping Network is a 24/7 ad for various useless crap, but is one single layer of nonstop ads enough for consumers to learn about various pieces of crap? Or maybe could they put more ads in those ads?”

We’re nuts to engage in this argument, and it’s true there are items sold on HSN the world could surely live without (like Absolute cubic zirconia, the iconic home shopping stereotype).

But what other “useless crap” is Gawker referring to? Affordable clothes, shoes, computers, TV sets, cameras, vitamins, jewelry (our addiction, whether we really need it or not), watches, housewares, handbags, toys and make-up? Gee, who needs any of that useless crap?

‘Mad Men’ Is Hot in Hollywood, And So Is Jon Feltheimer’s Wife On HSN

September 28, 2009

Jon Feltheimer, co-chairman and CEO of Lionsgate, produces the hottest show on TV, the Emmy-winning “Mad Men” on AMC.  And his wife Laurie Feltheimer has a “hot” product line on HSN. The perky blonde has HSN’s Monday Special Value, a ruffled sweater coat for $39.90.  It is part of her “Hot in Hollywood” line, which offers clothes, shoes, handbags and “Starlet” jewelry.

Laurie, who has been on HSN for five years, often tells the story of when she was a struggling single mom, before she met her studio-chief millionaire husband (a fairy tale ending we’d like to see happen to us). Hot in Hollywood is meant to give the average woman access to the kinds of looks that usually only TV and movie stars can afford, and stylists put together.

“When I was a single mom, I could never find stylish things that were affordable,” she said Monday.

Laurie added that she tries to keep her prices low by keeping her company’s overhead low. “We don’t have fancy offices,” she said. “I don’t bring an entourage (to HSN in Florida).”

Laurie’s goods are modestly priced, like less than $50 for skinny jeans, but we know she can now afford to buy the best. Her husband Jon, as head of Lionsgate — the  movie and TV studio that produces the “Saw” gore fests as well as brilliant shows like “Mad Men” — brings home the cash.

In fiscal 2009, he earned $4.1 million in total compensation, according to securities filings. So when she alludes to going to pricey Beverly Hills stores to see what’s out there in high-end retail, we wonder how much shopping she does for herself, and how many pieces from her line she actually wears. We have spotted her wearing jewelry from “Hot in Hollywood” on the red carpet. 

On Sunday supermodel Iman, wife of rock star David Bowie, was selling her Global Chic line on HSN. Host Colleen Lopez asked Iman what her “hubby” thinks of her moderately priced line. Iman said that Bowie enjoyed looking at her goods, but that she told him not to think that it means the ends of buying expensive items for the household.

Ads on HSN? That’s What the Snippy Wall Street Journal Says

September 28, 2009

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that HSN is now selling ads, by offering product placements, to generate new revenue. It’s an interesting story, but The Journal can’t resist making some snide comments about the No. 2 home shopping channel. We’ll get to that later.

HSN has already started selling product placements, using Barilla pasta, for example, during a show on Jamie Oliver’s Survival Kit Cookware. And The Journal reports that next month HSN will make recipes using Kraft products during a cooking segment, and that Kraft’s brand will appear on the channel’s Web site.

Companies like Barilla and Kraft pay HSN to get their products shown and used on HSN shows. That’s called product placement.

Product placement is common on broadcast and cable TV networks. But The Journal had to take a dig at HSN for doing it. “Some TV watchers regard the channel — best known for celebrity fashion designers, gadgets and antiwrinkle creams — as one big commercial,” The Journal wrote.

The mainstream press can’t resist looking down its nose at home shopping channels. These channels are stores on TV. Their sole purpose is to sell merchandise: Why is that criticized?

Electronic retailing is a business. Does The Journal blast Lord & Taylor or Macys for selling stuff? Beyond selling “gadgets,” HSN is the biggest retailer of colored gemstones in the country. So if you are a jewelry fan, it’s a good place to shop. 

Finally, you could say that the Fox network — owned by The Journal’s owner Rupert Murdoch — may not be “one big commercial,” but a lot of little ones, since it runs many ads durings its shows. And those ads are actually selling products, just like HSN.

That’s Just How She Rolls: Supermodel Iman Brings Her Baggage to HSN

September 27, 2009

Model and entrepreneur Iman, who is also the wife of rock star David Bowie, this weekend was back on HSN with her Global Chic line. Iman offers purses, clothes, shoes and jewelry, which she models after baubles she herself owns or has found in her world travels.

This go around, Iman has Today’s Special Value, the “Jet…Set…Go” luxury duffle roller luggage at $89.95.

Iman often makes references to Bowie during her presentations, but she is always down to earth and friendly, like that best friend of your’s who is married to a stockbroker — not a jet setter with a cooler than cool husband.

But it’s a little hard to swallow her comments about every woman being dissatisfied with some part of their body. We can’t imagine her having any such insecurities. Yet while touting the new leggings she is offering, and which she was wearing, Iman said that other leggings make her look like she has “stumpy ankles.”

Iman’s HSN purses have been particularly popular, and at price tags in the neighborhood of $100.

“It takes a woman to understand what a woman needs in a bag,” the lanky, long-haired model said Sunday.

InStyle Magazine Offers Discount on HSN’s Curations Faux Fur Vest

September 27, 2009

The October issue of InStyle magazine, just out, is offering a 20 percent discount on a faux fur vest from HSN’s Curations with Stefani Greenfield line. The belted vest, on the magazine’s “This Just In” page, is regularly priced at $150.

Chuck Clemency Brings On His Sweet 16 Daughter Kellie Anne For His 17th Anniversary Show On ShopNBC

September 27, 2009

For years, 17 to be exact, Chuck Clemency has been on ShopNBC selling his jewelry, rare longevity for a channel that’s had its ups and down.

One of his specialties has been his Kellie Anne stud earrings, bracelets and pendants — named after his daughter. On Saturday night the 16-year-old high school junior was on the air modeling the earrings that were named after her. Kellie Anne is stunning, pretty and poised, with long light brown hair.

ShopNBC has sold 95,000 pairs of the earrings during the past 10 years, according to Clemency. His daughter owns 20 to 30 pairs of them herself, as they are available in a variety of gemstones.

Clemency, wearing a canary yellow sports jacket, is a clown who is constantly kibitzing with the hosts, and cracking them up with his self-deprecating stories (like the time he mistook his wive’s hairpiece for a rodent). He got the nickname “Mr. 99” because he usually sells the Kellie Anne earrings for $99. They were on sale for $76 and change tonight.

Clemency, whose line is called Gem Treasures, also had his son on the air for several shows, but we missed that. Besides, the son doesn’t have any jewelry named after him.

Some viewers felt having the family on crimped Clemency’s style.

“Chuck, you’re being too well-behaved with your children,” one caller complained.

“I am a little better behaved when the kids are around,” Clemency admitted.