Archive for June, 2013

Ex-ShopNBC Host Charla Rines Exits ‘World Of Watches’

June 29, 2013
Charla Rines

Charla Rines

It looks like ex-ShopNBC host Charla Rines has now left a gig she had on DirecTV.

We knew that Rines was doing a show called “World of Watches,” but hadn’t know she was hosting it with another ShopNBC refugee, timepiece geek Jim Skelton.

Skelton posted this on Facebook a few days ago.

“Remember when you’re watching our show tonight (6pm EST, DirecTV Ch 227 or on our player at worldofwatches.tv) to chat with us LIVE via Twitter (@WOWTVCHAT) to say your goodbyes to Charla Rines!!! It’s her final show, and I hope you show her some love tonight…,” he wrote.

We don’t know where she is heading.

QVC Lowers The Boom On Southern Belle Cook Paula Deen

June 28, 2013

Add QVC to the growing list of companies that have dumped controversial cook Paul Deen over her use of racial slurs several years ago. The network has dropped her like a steaming hot biscuit.

Our Facebook friend Lisa sent us this link of a lengthy letter that QVC top honcho Michael George posted on QVC.com, and Deen’s response. George said that QVC is taking “a pause” in selling her cookware, but we have a feeling it will be a very long pause, like forever.

But the action is well-explained, and it seems like George is bending over backwards to be fair the bubbly entrepreneur.

We’ve attached both letters. As of 11:30 p.m. Friday, the letters had sparked 1,555 comments on QVC.com. Most of them were critical of QVC.

In addition to the home shopping network, here are the sponsors Deen has lost so far Food Network, Kmart, Walmart, Smithfield Foods and Caesars Entertainment.

http://community.qvc.com/blogs/q+news/topic/387209/a-letter-from-qvc-ceo-mike-george-and-a-letter-from-paula-deen.aspx?cm_ven=FB&cm_cat=WALL&cm_pla=7EP_MIKEGEORGEPAULADEEN&cm_ite=ENGAGEMENTPOSTFACEBOOK_BLOG

A Letter From Mike George, President and CEO, QVC

To our customers,

Over the past week, in our online communities, our social forums, and our call centers, and through letters and emails to me, many of you have passionately shared your thoughts about QVC’s relationship with Paula Deen. This issue is so important to you and to our community that I wanted to talk with you directly about it, rather than couch our response in some anonymous corporate statement.

Many of you have expressed disappointment and even anger at the comments Paula has acknowledged making. Others feel equally strongly that Paula is not being treated fairly in the public debate and deserves forgiveness. Your spirited conversation reflects the complexity of the issues raised and the deep feelings surrounding them.

Regardless of where you stand, many of you are questioning what QVC is planning to do and whether we will handle our relationship with Paula in a respectful and appropriate manner – for Paula, for our customers, and for the broader community.

We owe you an answer. We too are troubled by what Paula has acknowledged saying. We’re also troubled by the allegations against her. We deeply believe, as you do, that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

At the same time, we have enjoyed a positive, long-standing relationship with Paula. She has always been gracious and supportive to every QVC team member she encountered. And we value, as we hope you know, all of our relationships. We believe it’s important to handle difficult situations such as this in a thoughtful and fair manner that recognizes our common humanity.

QVC bigwig Mike George

QVC bigwig Mike George

And in any strong relationship, when troubles arise, the first step is to talk. We have talked with Paula and her team extensively over the last several days, and together we have considered what is best for our customers, for Paula, and for QVC. For now, we have decided to take a pause. Paula won’t be appearing on any upcoming broadcasts and we will phase out her product assortment on our online sales channels over the next few months. We all think it’s important, at this moment, for Paula to concentrate on responding to the allegations against her and on her path forward.

Some of you may wonder whether this is a “forever” decision – whether we are simply ending our association with Paula. We don’t think that’s how relationships work. People deserve second chances. And we always strive to do the right thing.

I am grateful for the openness and honesty you have brought to the conversation, and I recognize that many of you will be disappointed by our decision. Whatever your views, we will continue to do what we have always strived to do – create a great shopping experience, and earn your trust, and your business, every day.

Sincerely,

Mike George

President & CEO

QVC, Inc.

A Letter From Paula Deen

To my customers at QVC,

I want to let you know how much I value my relationship with all of you and with QVC. I’ve loved hearing from all of you over the years, with your calls and posts and letters. I’ve so enjoyed my close relationship with David Venable and his team, and my warm interactions with the extended QVC family. I also appreciate the caring way that QVC has interacted with me over the past week.

As you know, I have some important things to work on right now, both personally and professionally. And so we’ve agreed that it’s best for me to step back from QVC and focus on setting things right.

I am truly sorry and assure you I will work hard to earn your forgiveness.

Paula

QVC Diva Lisa Robertson, Kelly Ripa Team On Cancer PSAs

June 27, 2013

How’s this for hype, part of a press release issued by QVC Wednesday:

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (June 26, 2013) – Talk about a show stopper! Two of the hottest hosts in live television – Kelly Ripa and Lisa Robertson – appear in both print and television public service announcements promoting “QVC Presents Super Saturday LIVE” on QVC Saturday, July 27 at 2 PM (ET), with net proceeds benefiting Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF).

We don’t know if we’d call them TV’s hottest hosts but Ripa, co-star of “LIVE with Kelly and Michael,” will once again serve as host for the fund’s “celebrity garage sale” in the Hamptons. Robertson will tag along to take viewers inside the event during the “QVC Presents Super Saturday LIVE” broadcast.

Lisa Robertson

Lisa Robertson

QVC began broadcasting from the Saturday sale in 2006, offering its viewers fashion, beauty, jewelry, accessories and home items for half the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, with net proceeds benefiting OCRF.

“It has been a pleasure to host this exciting show since the beginning and watch it rapidly grow into one of our highest viewed programming events,” Robertson said in a canned quote. “For me, personally, it has been amazing to be a part of such an important cause. If even one woman benefits from our broadcast then I feel that we have made an impact in helping to build awareness for this difficult- to-diagnose disease.”

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among American women.

QVC’s PSA campaign was designed to bring more awareness of this often “masked” disease.

“QVC continues to be one of our greatest supporters and we are so thankful to Kelly and Lisa for continuing the fight this year to help bring attention to the importance of research for Ovarian Cancer,” said Audra Moran, the CEO of OCRF. “We look forward to QVC’s involvement again this year and, of course, the amazing awareness that their broadcast brings to the event.”

Mustafa El-Rafey Joins QVC As Senior Vice President, Talent Management And Rewards

June 25, 2013

QVC has named Mustafa El-Rafey senior vice president of talent management and rewards.

El-Rafey, who will report to Beth Rubino, Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Workplace Services, will lead the development and implementation of a dynamic talent management and rewards strategy for QVC.

Damned if we know what that means.

“As QVC continues to expand into new global markets, Mustafa’s experience in building and implementing talent management strategies internationally across large, complex businesses makes him a tremendous asset to our team,” Rubino said in a canned statement. “We pride ourselves on retaining the most talented people, our greatest asset, and we’re thrilled to welcome Mustafa to QVC.”

In his new role, El-Rafey will focus on attracting and retaining key talent, driving a culture of development, performance and accountability, building leadership capabilities, and supporting careers in a way that maps to current and future business needs.

El-Rafey was most recently at Starbucks Coffee Co., where he spent two years as senior vice president of Talent Management, responsible for creating an integrated talent management strategy to bring the company’s mission to life.

Prior to working with Starbucks, El-Rafey worked at Mars Inc. for more than 20 years, where he held various management positions in sales, marketing, human resources and business development.

QVC May Dump Southern-Belle Chef Paula Deen, Too

June 25, 2013

We leave town for a week and go West, and all hell breaks loose.

First, we were shocked to hear that New Jersey-bred actor James Gandolfini had passed away. He made Tony Soprano real in that landmark HBO show.

Then, we were watching the Arizona Diamondbacks at their Phoenix stadium  when we checked out our iPhone and saw that Southern chef Paula Dean had been canned by Food Network when it became public that she had used racial slurs, including the “N” word, at her eatery.

On the plane East yesterday, we saw a crawl on the DirecTV service that said QVC was threatening to dump Deen, as a well. Deen does a cookware line for the home shopping network.

QVC put out a statement Monday that several news outlets published, including E! online.

http://www.eonline.com/news/432855/paula-deen-may-lose-qvc-deal-following-n-word-controversy?cmpid=rss-000000-rssfeed-365-topstories&utm_source=eonline&utm_medium=rssfeeds&utm_campaign=rss_topstories

“QVC shares the concerns being raised around the unfortunate Paula Deen situation,” QVC said in its official statement.

“QVC does not tolerate discriminatory behavior. We are closely monitoring these events and the ongoing litigation. We are reviewing our business relationship with Ms. Deen, and in the meantime, we have no immediate plans to have her appear on QVC.”

Many QVC viewers made their displeasure known on Facebook.

“Seriously? You are even considering not working with Paula Deen because of something she said years ago? Waiting to see how people are responding before making a decision? The companies that step up and stand by this woman will get my business. The rest of them can kiss my business goodbye!”

“I love watching and purchasing from QVC and believe me I spend a lot of money with you. Please do not drop Paula Dean from your company. Everyone has a past and has made a mistake or said something they wish they could go back and change. ‘Let those with no sin cast the first stone.’ Please do not treat her like the Food Network and Smithfield Foods have done. I would like to see you let her continue on. Please don’t be one of the companies that also disappoints America.”

“Drop Paula Deen and I will encourage everyone I know to discontinue following your company on FB and Twitter. If you drop Paula, consider me a past customer!”

“If you want to order Paula Dean products QVC has three pages of them. Whether you agree with the companies pulling her products or not they are continuing to do it one by one, Smithfield Foods dropped her today. Most companies do not want a spokes person who displays disrespect, especially verbally. No real winners in this kind of situation.”

“Don’t want nothing to do with QVC since you’re against Paula Deen”

But Deen had her detractors, though they were outnumbered by her defenders.

“To all of you QVC boycott plotters because of the Paula Deen debacle: Since when did buying pots & pans and cookbooks from a person become more important than keeping morals alive? Do you really value your ability to purchase your precious cookware & cookbooks more than valuing decency in America? It astounds me that material goods and sticking up for a racial bigot is greater than sticking up for those who were and still are offended. Please, if you want to leave QVC – GO! Enough already. I’m sure you can buy Deen’s precious ‘goods’ elsewhere. At least QVC has the guts to stand up for morals & decency.”

“PAULA DEAN has enough money and press she never has to work again. Maybe some of you people should quit buying from the Q since you stand behind her and her stinking remarks. Q has a little more class!”

This dirt about Deen came out in a deposition that Deen gave for a lawsuit filed by one of her ex-employees. She has apologized for her hideous remarks.

We obviously don’t condone her horrific racist comments. But we’ve made stupid, ignorant comments at times that we wish we could take back. Perhaps the folks at Scripps Networks, which owns Food Network, were blindsided by the controversy and shit-canned her because she didn’t let them know what was about to blow.

QVC hasn’t said it will definitely let Deen go. We think she deserves a second chance.

HSN Vendor Amanda Borghese Makes Page One of New York Times

June 17, 2013

It looks like all is not well with a member of the HSN family, namely Amanda Borghese, who has a beauty and jewelry line she sells on the home shopping network.

The New York Times Sunday had a Page One story, “Borghese v. Borghese: Battle for a Royal Name,” about a lawsuit set to go to trial this summer over the use of that moniker. As the newspaper pointed out, the Borghese name in Italy is synonymous with royalty, a family that has included kings and a pope.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/business/borghese-v-borghese-battle-for-a-royal-name.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

The suit was filed by Borghese Inc., a cosmetics brand launched in the 1950s by Princess Marcella Borghese and Revlon. That company is now operated by GOP fundraiser Georgette Mosbacher. It is suing members of the Borghese family, The Times reported, including Marcella’s son Francesco and his wife Amanda, the HSN vendor.

The story points out that Amanda’s HSN line doesn’t use the Borghese name. It is sold under that the brand Perlier. Nonetheless, Borghese Inc. contends that the family shouldn’t be allowed to make any reference to its illustrious history while promoting its products.

The Times reported that Perlier debuted on QVC, and then moved on to HSN.

ShopNBC Vendor Toni Brattin Defends The Net Over Returns Cut-Off

June 12, 2013

This morning ShopNBC vendor Toni Brattin, known for her self-tanner and hairpieces, posted a response to our blog about the home shopping network’s warning letter to us.

In case you didn’t read the blog, soon-to-be ShopHQ threatened to suspend our account because we were returning more than 50 percent of the items we ordered. This, despite the fact that the network, like all shopping channels, promises a 30-day money-back guarantee.

ShopNBC vendor Toni Brattin

ShopNBC vendor Toni Brattin

Brattin, a veteran of HSN, explained and defended ShopNBC, and presented the viewpoint of the vendors.

Here is what Brattin had to say:

Unfortunately, there are many that abuse and actually scam the service being provided. Because of the lax return policy there are many customers that take advantage and even basically use it as a way to purchase, use it, with full intentions of returning it before they even receive it…it is basically…authorized stealing!

Though this does not happen often, and may very well in some cases may not be the intent, of some customers, it is others. Most cosmetics and the such must destroyed, but the cost to manufacture is real to the vendor. If an excess is being returned from a particular customer, I guess Shop and other shopping channels review those accounts, but the truth is, someone (not the customer) is paying for these items to be manufactured none the less.

As a vendor, we have to “bill in” to the over all average cost of these goods, knowing that money will be returned to customer and nothing to the vendor. I truly feel that most customers return legitimately, and many just need an exchange, But, the truth is, some customers just do not realize the mathematics of average return rate.

It’s kinda like the person at Thanksgiving, that heaps their plate full, and then throws half of it in the trash, leaving others that got none. Most people don’t take advantage of the policy and only have their fair share of returns, but it doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out if a certain customer is always getting more than he/she ever pays for.

I know many people may not realize, but if an item has too many returns, (no matter why), Shop or other channels can and will decide not to offer that item again, simply because they can not buy airtime for an item with too high of a return. Every business has its margins…otherwise they’re out of business.

I don’t know if this helped, but hopefully seeing things from two perspectives, helps!

I love reading reading your blogs! Keep up the great work!

Toni Brattin & Co. Inc

As we said, we are typically returning jewelry, not cosmetics or products that we have nearly used up.

But we appreciate Brattin taking the time to write us.

ShopNBC Threatens To Cut Off The Homeshoppingista Over Returns

June 11, 2013

Ain’t this a kick in the ass. We got THE LETTER from ShopNBC today.

Several years ago we first learned from our readers that QVC had sent them warning letters telling them they were returning too much merchandise — all this despite the fact that all the home shopping networks say they have an unconditional 30-day guarantee. QVC suspended some of their accounts.

We couldn’t believe it! It sounded like false advertising to us: You say customers can return goods and then renege on that promise.

The Homeshoppingista with letter from ShopNBC saying how great she is, after being told by email that she was returning too many items

The Homeshoppingista with a letter from ShopNBC saying how great she is, after being told by email that she was returning too many items

Surprise, surprise, we got one of those letters from ShopNBC via email Monday. It chided us for returning more than 50 percent of the items we ordered this year. Nancy “Knucklehead” Kunkle, ShopNBS’s, get this, senior vice president of “Customer Experience,” sent us the letter.

Now, anyone who know us knows our addiction is jewelry. If a home shopping network has a jewelry Today’s Special, and we want to check it out, we will order it at its one-day-only discount price to see what it looks like. We don’t view that order as a commitment to keep it.

Now we understand that some customers really abuse the 30-day-return policy. They may use a hair shampoo or a lipstick, for example, until they are nearly used up and then return them. We have never done that. We don’t abuse the policy.

We posted the letter, which is at the end of this blog, earlier today on Facebook. And as usual, our smart and funny Facebook friends had some priceless comments. A common response was “that’s crazy.”

Here are some others:

“Boy, firing their customers, there’s a growth strategy!!” wrote Linda H., our former colleague and friend.

“Lemme think… The stuff you’re buying from us is not satisfactory. That’s not OUR problem, it’s YOURS. You’re not supposed to be a discerning customer who expects silly things like quality, accurate representation of our products. Just take our crap and like it, Beyotch!” wrote Ray G., a childhood friend.

“You have got to be kidding!!!!!” from our sister Karen’s close friend Anne.

“So I guess you’re on the naughty list,” from our sister Karen.

“Sounds like a column to me, got get ’em tigress!” and “Moss, don’t shop there. What a scumbag outfit. Write,” from our former boss and mentor, Marianne.

But here’s the kicker, as we say in journalism. When we got home from the gym tonight, we had a letter in the mail from ShopNBC.

It called us “a valuable member of the ShopNBC Family,” and talked about the rebranding of the channel as ShopHQ. Guess they didn’t get the memo from Kunkle.

“We’re honored that you’ve been part of our growth over the past 23 years,” the letter said. Really?

It was signed by ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart.

Here is the “naughty, naughty” email we got.

Dear Linda Moss,

Thank you for choosing ShopNBC to make your purchases. We hope that you have been satisfied with the products you have received.

At ShopNBC, we want you to shop with confidence. However, after reviewing your account activity during the year of 2012, we noticed that the majority of your purchases (over 50%) were not meeting your expectations and were being returned to us. This resulted in ShopNBC incurring a higher than average cost to service your account.

We value you as our customer and in order to better serve you, we are writing to ask for you to share your reasons for these returns. We invite you to share your feedback via survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ShopSurvey2013 or by phone at 1-800-676-5523 between the hours of 8:00am and 8:00pm CST, Monday through Friday. Your feedback will help us determine if we can make changes for you and other customers to improve the shopping experience with ShopNBC.

Please be advised that if we are not able to meet your expectations in shopping with ShopNBC and your return rates do not reduce, we may regretfully need to take further steps including closing your account in the future. We will contact you in advance if that step is taken.

We look forward to receiving your feedback. Thank you in advance for your assistance, and for continuing to shop with ShopNBC.

Sincerely,

Nancy Kunkle
SVP of Customer Experience

Odd Couple Iman, Joy Mangano Debut New Line On HSN

June 8, 2013

Here’s an odd couple for you: Huggable Hanger inventor Joy Mangano and supermodel Iman.

The duo will be debuting its first-ever collaboration of “Fashionably Functional” fashion accessories, the “Joy & Iman” collection, on Sunday. They have the TS that day.

“This is not about a trend,” Iman said in a canned statement, “This is a collaboration that brings together fashion and function at its best.”

HSN supermodel/vendor Iman

HSN supermodel/vendor Iman

And Mangano chimed in, of course.

“Working with a fashion icon like Iman to bring this collection to life has been an amazing experience,” said Mangano, president and founder of Ingenious Designs LLC, an HSN unit.

“She is the epitome of glamor and luxury, and her esthetic radiates throughout the entire line. I’m very proud of this new collection and can’t wait to introduce it to my HSN fans this weekend!”

The Joy & Iman collection is priced under $40, and includes the Luxe Quilted Wallet for $19.95; a set of 4 Glam Sun Readers with slip cases for $19.95; a Scarf Wrap with Lace for $19.95; and a Luxe Quilted Sandal for $29.95.

Additionally, a Joy & IMAN Iconic Quilted “Fashionably Functional” Bag will be sold for one-day-only Sunday at $39.95.

Iman is a veteran HSN vendor, and actually, her line is part of IDL, which Mangano founded in 1991. IDL has developed and managed product lines for not only IMAN but for chef and restaurateur Todd English and “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson.

Classy QVC Host Dave James Is Gone From The Network

June 8, 2013

This is sad news: Dave James has left QVC.

One of our blog readers tipped us off yesterday that James’ photo was no longer on the host section of QVC.com.

We looked on Facebook to see if James said anything about leaving QVC, and we emailed the network about it. It wasn’t until tonight that we saw posted that he was leaving the home shopping network,

“I’m really doing my best to not type out a cheesy goodbye & thank you blog as I’m letting you know that I’ve left QVC. But I have to admit that the sentiments I want to express in this short passage are as giant as any gouda wheel I’ve seen in the deli,” he wrote in a blog on QVC.com.

Now former QVC host Dave James bids his fans goodbye on Facebook

Now former QVC host Dave James bids his fans goodbye on Facebook

“Simply put, I will miss you,” he blogged. “To my QVC colleagues, friends, and co-workers, I know we’ll stay in touch and maintain a friendship outside of the ‘Q,’ so I’m not worried about us saying goodbye. And to all the ‘Q’ viewer friends I’ve made along the way, your viewership, phone calls, emails, Facebook posts, and tweets have been a grand on-going conversation that I’ve loved through the years — you are diverse, opinionated, and strong!”

“I’ve loved meeting every one of you who took the time to chat with me on QVC,” he wrote. “You may not realize this but, if you’ve thought of me in your life, rest assured, I thought of you in mine too. I’m humbled and grateful for your viewership. I want to take this moment to say, ‘thank you for watching’ and ‘Roll Tide!’

On Facebook he added, “Please stay in touch with me on at Photos by David James and on Twitter @DavidJinPA.”

QVC posted this: “A goodbye & thank you from host Dave James QVC. We wish Dave luck in his future pursuits and thank him for sharing his talents with QVC!”

This does not sound voluntary, and it sounds like it was a surprise to James, a huge Crimson Tide fan.

One woman posted on Facebook, “Dave HAD to be let go… The other morning when he was on with Pat, he said that since Dan Hughes was on a sabatical, he would be filling in for him the month of June. That was Tuesday, now he’s gone… it sure wasnt his choice.”

Been there, Dave!

Anyway, we grew to admire James as a real pro a couple of years ago, we think it was a Black Friday weekend, where QVC televised backstage 24 hours or more. You could go online and see the live backstage stuff. James hosted this knuckle-headed event, the poor guy. Without sleep, he really hung in there.

We’ll never forget the haughty way that host Rick Domeier acted when has backstage with James.

James’ fans were upset about his departure, and said goodbye on Facebook.

“Why are you leaving the”Q”?? I was soooo surprised to read that you left,” one woman wrote.

“Dave James was the winner of QVC’s 2004 Program Host Search Auditions. Millions of Americans voted for Dave, and after MONTHS of intensive host training, he joined the ranks as a QVC program host in May 2005,” wrote another.

And several home shopping hosts had comments for James.

“Dave you will definitely be missed by me and many others at the Q!!! It has been a joy to work with you these past nine years. Please stay in touch ok?” wrote QVC host Dan Wheeler.

“Sorry to hear the news, Bud. All the best! Stay in touch!” said Dave King, a former QVC host and current ShopNBC host.