Archive for March, 2010

Like Michael Corleone, Home Shopping Queen Gets Pulled Back In To Blog

March 31, 2010

Before there was The Homeshoppingista, there was the Home Shopping Queen. She’s back.

Before we launched our blog in November, we searched the Internet for any other blogs covering the home shopping industry, its gossip and the business of electronic retailing.

The only one we found was the Home Shopping Queen, aka Queen Bea. It was smart, insidery and nicely written. But the Queen blogger had not posted since June, we think it was, when her grandmother passed away.

Home Shopping Queen makes comeback

But March 23, she was back in action, and has been posting ever since. She also explained her absence.

“I decided after my grandmother died to just take a break from blogging and the home shopping universe in general,” Home Shopping Queen wrote. “I stopped checking my email, never looked at the blog, and even stopped watching all the home shopping channels (gasp!) It was a sudden and clean break from everything ‘Queen Bea.'”

But the addiction to home shopping is like the Mob. As Michael Corleone says in “The Godfather: Part III,” “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.”

The Homeshoppingista and the Home Shopping Queen have vastly different writing styles and approaches. We hope QVC, HSN and ShopNBC fans will check us both out each day.

ShopNBC And CEO Keith Stewart Profiled By Hometown Paper The Star Tribune, Why Wasn’t Charla Rines Quoted?

March 31, 2010

ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart, an apparent Yankee fan, as photographed by Richard Sennott of the Star Tribune

The Minneapolis Star Tribune did a goat-gagger of a profile this week on ShopNBC’s turnaround effort under former QVC executive Keith Stewart.

It’s a nice job by two staff writers, who describe Keith’s efforts to cut costs, diminish the number of returns and lower the average price of the No. 3 home shopping channel’s merchandise.

The Star Tribune notes that for the fourth quarter, as we reported, ShopNBC sales “were positive” for the first time in two years. But the company is still swimming in red ink, though it has decreased. The network posted a $42 million loss for the year.

Corporate Keith Stewart

What the Star Tribune doesn’t mention is that ShopNBC viewers are still steamed that the network let veteran host Charla Rines go in January. So far we’ve gotten about 80 comments denouncing ShopNBC for canning the mouthy host.

Not for nuthin, as we’d say in Jersey, but Stewart is pictured in the Star Tribune wearing what appears to us to be a New York Yankees cap and Yankee pinstripes. It’s a considerably more macho photo than his corporate shots, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Gems TV To Shut Down And Buy Stake In Jewelry Television, And An Unhappy DirecTV Files Suit And Gets Restraining Order

March 31, 2010

Thanks to a tip from one of our fans, we’ve wised up to the fact that financially struggling Gems TV is going black in the United States — and that DirecTV has filed suit against the home shopping channel over its demise.

Earlier this month Gems TV’s Singapore-based parent company, Gems TV Holdings Ltd., announced that it was ceasing the network’s operations and buying a 37.8 percent stake in its rival, Jewelry Television, known as JTV. Gems TV will end its operations whether or not its deal to buy into Jewelry Television, whose parent company is Multimedia Commerce Group Inc., closes.

“Since its entry into the U.S. in November 2006, Gems TV has struggled to achieve the necessary operational and economic scale that would enable it to thrive in that market,” the network said in its March 8 press release. “The Group’s margins and profitability have been under constant pressure from the extremely challenging and unpredictable economic environment.”

The press release also had a statement from Gems TV chairman Jason Choo.

“We are putting a stop to the operational cash drain in the U.S. which is clearly a disappointing outcome,” Choo said. “However, if the proposed investment completes, it will allow us to immediately increase our proportionate share of the U.S. jewelry market. Both parties believe that a significant portion of our revenue will migrate to MMCG once we cease broadcasting and MMCG is in an ideal position to leverage off that additional revenue.”

In the fiscal second quarter ending Dec. 31, Gems TV saw its product revenue drop 15 percent, to $40.2 million. Gross profit rose 27 percent, to $16.5 million. The loss attributable to shareholders was $6.3 million, down from $18.5 million the prior year.

Last Thursday Gems TV announced the satellite provider DirecTV had filed for a temporary injunction against it in U.S. District Court in California. There was also a retraining order issued barring Gems TV from taking any action that will leave the network with less than $25 million in money or assets, until further order of the court.

Gems TV said that DirecTV’s claims are without merit and that it will contest them. We couldn’t reach our buddies at DirecTV yet Wednesday morning: They are out in El Segundo, Calif.

JTV will incorporate Gems TV’s reverse-auction program with its existing fixed-price selling programs.

“I believe Jewelry Television represents the very best that the jewelry TV and Internet shopping industry has to offer consumers and is also a cut above the rest of the players, in terms of its established branding, market position and scale,” Choo said. “We are very confident that our proposed investment in JTV would give both parties the best vantage points from which to grow, and we look forward to sharing in the success of Jewelry Television.”

Melissa Etheridge To Perform Live On QVC In April

March 29, 2010

Adding to QVC’s hip factor, singer Melissa Etheridge will be performing live at its studios next month, the home shopping channel said Monday.

Etheridge will be in West Chester, Pa., April 20 for a show at 9:30 p.m. To see the songstress live and in concert, QVC’s Facebook fans were invited to make reservations so they could attend the event.

QVC, trying to draw in viewers who don’t normally watch the channel, has been airing live concerts from a variety of talent, most recent tween idol Justin Bieber.

Despite Jersey Girl Chelsea Handler’s Barbs, ‘Jerseylicious’ Finds A Groove With Second Episode

March 29, 2010

Christy Pereira, left, and her mother and Gatsby Salon owner Gayle Giacomo

A big thumbs-up for last night’s “Jerseylicious” episode, the show’s second on the Style Network.

We saw a lot more about the mother-and-daughter team that runs and manages the Gatsby Salon in Green Brook, N.J. Flame-haired Gayle Giacomo and her daughter Christy Pereira have a lot riding on their move and revamping of their beauty salon. We thought we heard Sunday that millions of dollars at been invested in the project, so the stakes were high.

Giacomo and Pereira can’t afford for the silly feuding between hair stylist Tracy DiMarco and her archrival Olicia Blois Sharpe, a makeup artist, to turn off clients and ruin their business. (Sharpe’s prominently featured roommate Briella, by the way, is my sister Karen’s stylist.)

We loved watching the Gatsby crew trying to deal with that unruly and demanding bachelorette party. And Anthony Lombardi proved he’s a model male again when he tactfully warded off the advances of the bride-to-be, who wanted him to massage her back. Lombardi said he doesn’t even give his wife massages.

As for Gigi Liscio, it’s hard to believe that the scene in the Italian restaurant, where her goombah boyfriend Frankie Buglione almost starts a fight with a waiter, wasn’t scripted in there. Frankie loses his cool, supposedly, after the waiter compliments Liscio on her necklace. Frankie believes the waiter is really eyeing Liscio’s rather ample cleavage, and has a fit. He starts to go after the waiter.

As for Tracy, don’t gloat about that “prize” boyfriend you have, Olivia’s ex- Lorenzo Gangala. You should drop him like a hot potato, especially after he brags about Olivia testing him, by creating a fake identity on Facebook, to see if he would cheat. He failed the test, he tells Tracy, because the photo of the girl on the fake Facebook identity was “hot.”

Tracy thinks it’s funny. Why? In that immortal truth all we women know, a leopard doesn’t change its spots. Once a cheater, always a cheater.

E! Entertainment Television’s tart-tongued Chelsea Handler, comedian and Jersey girl, recently blasted the women on “Jerseylicious” for giving Garden State women a bad name.

We’re thinking people should withhold judgment, from what we saw of Sunday’s episode.

Just In Time For Easter, QVC’s Isaac Mizrahi Lays Another Egg With His TSV: Continued Disappointment With This Talented Designer

March 29, 2010

We had high hopes when we heard that designer Isaac Mizrahi was coming to QVC. We met and interviewed him almost a decade ago, and he was delightful. And we loved his clothes at Target.

As we’ve said before (sorry if you’ve read this already), we wore a $59 black cocktail dress that Mizrahi did for Target to the Emmy Awards in LA in 2008. And, we swear we’re not bragging, we looked just as good as many of the women who had thousand-dollar gowns. We dressed up that LBD with big jewelry and were good to go.

But after all the hype that QVC generated about Mizrahi coming on board, when his line debuted we weren’t very impressed. But we have tried to keep an open mind. When we heard he was doing the Today’s Special Value for Monday, we were looking forward to seeing it. Well, it was quite the disappointment, as has been the rest of his QVC collection.

It’s a scoop neck knit top with “embellishment,” namely a few jeweled flowers and a denim/grosgrain ribbon flower pin, which is removable. The TSV is $40.

That top is as uninspired and pedestrian, and even ugly with the “embellishment,” as it could get. Isaac, what is wrong with you?

We checked out the QVC online forums to see what posters thought, and they echoed our gripes about the TSV.

Here are some of the brutal comments on the Mizrahi top:

“My computer broken or are we not even talking about Issac’s TSV? I don’t want it, it is just not for me. This is the first time in a year that I have not seen people talking about the new fashion TSV. Bad sign, I think.”

“My first thought was K-mart meets Quacker Factory. I have nothing against the man, but somehow I feel insulted by this item.”

“I am all for stimulating the economy and I wish him great success but I would only order it at the $19 end. And he could keep the pins.”

“$45.00? Wait a sec. Did I see and read this correctly? $45.00 TSV is a cheap tacky T-shirt that is selling for $45.00 (after S&H) that is just insane!!!”

“You aren’t the only ones who dislike this merchandise line, trust me. TSV is just ridiculous! Who on earth…. WHY on earth would anyone wear something like that unless it was their child’s art project???…And topping it all off? That huge black ribbon thing reminds me of something a person wears as a gesture of mourning. Personally I think QVC needs to step it up and dump some of the ‘Blue Light specials’ that it pushes on us. Actually this would work great as a Blue Light special but the price would have to be slashed from $45.00 to maybe $9.99.”

“Walmart wouln’t even sell that — that is horrific and a ridiculous price.”

“Methinks its headed for the clearance section…I like Isaac and have a few of this things but this top doesn’t say spring to me.”

Yes, these ladies are frank. But we happen to agree with them.

Isaac, you better step up your game. Please bring the zing and zest your Target collection had to the Q.

InStyle Magazine Gives Us A Peek Into Celebrity Stylist, And QVC Vendor, Rachel Zoe’s Jewel Box

March 28, 2010

The April issue of InStyle magazine has a feature on celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe, which talks about her designs for QVC as well as her personal collection of bling.

The article is part of the magazine’s monthly “My Jewel Box” series, which we never miss, and it’s headlined “I Dream of Jewelry.” It’s pretty expansive, three pages as well as a full-page photo of Jersey girl Zoe decked out in her jewels. She’s got it all piled on, she is no minimalist, and one fo the pearl necklaces she’s wearing is from Bulgari. It was a gift from her husband to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their first date.

Zoe is also wearing huge hoop earrings with big white and green stones. We can’t believe that they’re real emeralds and diamonds. It’s likely costume, since Zoe tells InStyle that she owns about 1,000 pieces of costume jewelry.

There are photos of two of Zoe’s QVC pieces in the story. One is a glass bead bib necklace that sells for $125, the other is a gold-plated bracelet with bars, also $130. We couldn’t find the bracelet on QVC’s Web site, so it may be sold out.

Zoe talks about layering jewelry, and admits to wearing about a dozen pieces a day. She started collecting jewelry when she was 11, she told InStyle, and her style icon is 1970s Elizabeth Taylor.

While Zoe often comes off a bit bitchy on her Bravo show, “The Rachel Zoe Project,” she comes across as very charming and passionate during her QVC appearances.

We love her big costume jewelry looks and clothes so far for QVC, which have included a gorgeous lambskin jacket.

The April InStyle issue has Gwen Stefani on the cover.

QVC Confessions: We Broke Down And Ordered the Clarisonic

March 27, 2010

We hate to admit this, but Saturday we lost al control and ordered the the mini-Clarisonic skin cleansing system that is QVC’s Today’s Special Value. It’s $120, on three payments.

QVC sold the larger version during Christmas, and we cursed everytime we saw a presentation, which was several times a day.

Now, when we look in the mirror and our skin looks dull, our pores are large, and it’s time to take action. We read the online reviews of the Mia Clarisonic and it almost all the posters gave it five-stars, Women raved about what it did for their skin.

So let’s see.

HSN Jewelry Vendor Molly Sims And Actor Aaron Eckhart Are Still An Item

March 25, 2010

A couple of months ago we blogged about actress/model Molly Sims, who does the Grayce jewely line for HSN, being an item with actor Aaron Eckhart. Looks like that relationship is still a go.

The New York Daily News writes Thursday that Eckhart made at an appearance at “the launch” of Sims’ jewelry line at Henri Bendel in the Big Apple.

Funny, we thought that her Grayce launched on HSN in November.

Mod Model Twiggy, Still Looking Good, Mounts British Invasion At HSN

March 25, 2010

We missed Twiggy on Tuesday.

The modeling icon of the 1960s was in Manhattan, at the Terrace Loft at the Bryant Park Hotel, to preview her new “Twiggy London” collection for HSN.

But we were tied to our computer, on deadline for a story, and didn’t have the time to trek into the city. We really wanted to be there.

We’ve already received a flyer from HSN about Twiggy’s line of clothes and accessories, which debuts April 3. It shows Twiggy, most recently a judge on “America’s Next Top Model,” wearing a long tiered shirt that’s right up our alley.

There are also several photos of the Union Jack handbag that will HSN’s Today Special April 3.

As we are one-quarter English (grandpa was Percy Moss, from Bolton, England), we welcome this British invasion.