Archive for March, 2014

Literally Breaking The Mold On QVC Jackie Kennedy Jewelry Line

March 30, 2014

Say goodbye to the Jacqueline Kennedy Collection on QVC. And here is the the $64,000 Question: Did Caroline Kennedy put the final kibosh on the fashion jewelry line?

The line of reproductions of Kennedy’s jewelry, a popular staple on the home shopping network for a decade, is permanently retiring. On Saturday the line’s guru, Kennedy historian Phil Katz, did several shows talking about the collection and selling its remaining inventory. Fans of the jewelry were heartbroken.

Say goodbye to Jackie Kennedy's jewelry on QVC

Say goodbye to Jackie Kennedy’s jewelry on QVC

We missed the Jackie jewelry show Saturday night (we were at Mass), but BFF Ann saw it and told us that Katz, in a rather sad ceremony, was using a hammer to smash molds for the pieces on-air. After destroying each mold, Katz would say, “This is retiring, never to be made again.”

“I’s so sorry to see the line is going,” one viewer from Massachusetts, Kennedy Camelot, lamented.|Home&refine=1046658+4294965937

On and his own company’s own website, Katz wrote a send-off the the collection.

Here is part of it:

From the start, we always knew that the pieces would be limited in availability and duration. Due to your amazing support and loyalty, we’ve enjoyed extending the timeline far beyond our original intentions.

Now we feel it’s time to bring this fabulous chapter to a close. We’ve rendered all the pieces in her collection that are currently available to us, and we’ll continue to offer the line only as long as inventory exists.

We wrote a blog about a brouhaha over QVC selling the Jackie jewelry reproductions back in August, sparked by a New York Post gossip item. Our headline was “Is QVC’s Jackie O Jewelry Line ‘Tacky,’ ‘Sleazy’ And ‘A Ripoff’?”

The Post’s Page Six, in a real hatchet job, said that Caroline Kennedy was upset about QVC’s Kennedy jewelry line, which was manufactured by Camrose & Kross of Boonton, N.J. (Go Jersey!)

Caroline had apparently made the manufacturer put a disclaimer on its website saying that neither the Kennedy family nor the John F. Kennedy Library endorsed or were associated with the venture.

Page Six described the QVC Jackie jewelry as “tacky” and “sleazy,” adding that the First Lady “would not be caught dead in ‘gold tone’ jewelry.”

We — and many of our readers — thought Page Six was full of crap. One, Katz respectfully and informatively would tell QVC viewers the history of each Jackie jewelry piece he sold. He would explain where she got the necklace or bracelet or pin, and show photos of her wearing it.

As for “gold tone jewelry,” our bright readers told us that Jacki often wore costume jewelry, despite the snide and misinformed comment in Page Six.

Here is one poster said just today.

The original, famous paperclip necklace owned by Jacqueline Kennedy, created by Coco Chanel was not made in a precious metal. It was fashion jewelry, it’s color is based on the gold jewelry worn in Europe during the era in which it was made.

Therefore to say the necklace is tacky or cheap is calling the original piece owned by the first lady and her taste in jewelry tacky and that is incredibly disrespectful. By the way many of Mrs. Kennedys ‘ pieces were fashion jewelry. That is a fact that is easy to look up..

We can’t help but wonder if Caroline, and/or her family, were responsible for the demise of the Jacqueline Kennedy Collection.

QVC shoppers were sorry to hear it was the end of the line, too, and said as much on Camrose & Kross’s Facebook page.

“Very sorry to hear this,” one wrote. “I have purchased several pieces from the collection over the years and had looked forward to seeing more. I treasure my crystal cross, my Russian Cross and Mr. Katz’s stories that went with them, as well as my watch, my bracelet and my necklaces. Jackie Kennedy was a woman of intelligence, quality and substance, as well as excellent taste, and I am happy to have these mementos of her and her time.”

Another posted, “I will miss Phil Katz and these shows. I have thoroughly enjoyed not only the beautiful jewelry but Phil’s delightful history & stories. I hope Camrose & Kross continues to make jewelry of the same high quality.”

Yet another wrote, “I am so sad… the collection could have continued with the same pieces though! I will miss this show, one of the reasons I watch QVC.”

Katz was a class act, and we hope he will be back on QVC with another line. There was some talk about an Audrey Hepburn collection somewhere down the road. We hope it’s true.

Actress Tiffani Thiessen To Appear In QVC Cancer PSAs

March 27, 2014

Actress Tiffani Thiessen is appearing in both print and TV spots for QVC’s charitable event in conjunction with Cosmetic Executive, the home shopping network said Wednesday.

“QVC and CEW Present Beauty with Benefits” is a two-hour live charitable broadcast that will air April 17 at 8 p.m. QVC viewers will be able to shop a selection of products from 19 beauty brands including bareMinerals, Fresh and Philosophy.

Tiffani Thiessen

Tiffani Thiessen

For this initiative, 80 percent of the purchase price of donated merchandise will benefit Cancer and Careers, a charitable program established by the Cosmetic Executive Women foundation.

“Cancer and Careers empowers, educates and provides essential tools to people with cancer so that they can thrive in the workplace,” according to QVC’s press release.

“Beauty with Benefits embodies QVC’s commitment to supporting the success and wellness of women through the power of relationships,” QVC CEO Claire Watts said in a canned statement. “We’re excited to bring the beauty industry together again for this charitable effort and to have Tiffani as our spokesperson to build greater awareness for Cancer and Careers.”

The event will focus on the philanthropic efforts of the beauty industry while providing viewers a special opportunity to support a great cause.

“Cancer in the workplace is so prevalent yet it’s an issue that rarely gets discussed,” Thiessen said in a statement. “I am excited to work with QVC and CEW to support such a worthy cause. I love that I get to use a fun thing like makeup to shed light on such a powerful message.”

In 2013, “QVC and CEW Present Beauty with Benefits” generated more than $984,000 to benefit Cancer and Careers. Sweet.

“We are so pleased to have Tiffani support Beauty with Benefits,” CEW President Carlotta Jacobson said in a statement. “We are confident that her positive energy will inspire people to get involved.”

Has HSN’s Joy Mangano Got A Pillow For You!

March 22, 2014

Our pillows are flat as pancakes, and they give us a sweaty neck. So we may have to give Joy Mangano’s coming MemoryCloud pillow a look.

HSN calls Mangano its “Mother of Invention,” and she will be debuting her Warm & Cool MemoryCloud Universal Pillow with TempTexx Sunday. It comes in seven colors and will the Today’s Special.

“I am so proud to once again offer one of the most comfortable products I’ve ever created, my MemoryCloud Universal Pillow,” said Mangano, president of Ingenious Designs LLC, an HSN unit. “This jumbo pillow, with my TempTexx technology, is designed to be your answer for a peaceful slumber. With its warming plush side and moisture wicking cooling side this pillow is designed to be a universal solution to a great rest, regardless of the way you choose to sleep.”

Mangano has a patent pending on her TempTexx six-layer system, which incorporates memory-foam layers and “cloud like clusters to provide a loftier alternative to traditional memory foam,” according to HSN’s press release Friday.

The pillows have: a textured fabric to wick away moisture; a gel-infused memory-foam layer to create a cooling effect; memory-foam cozy-cloud clusters to maximize air flow; a memory-foam layer to conform to the curve of your head, neck and shoulders; and plush fabric for extra comfort.

And the shape is supposedly designed to conform for a side, back or stomach sleeper.

The pillow is available in butter cream, lavender field, platinum silver, sage green, colonial blue, ivory and white — and fits within a standard size pillow case.

The price will be $39.95, and its regular price $59.95,

Todd English’s Shenanigans Cost Him Control Of Olives, Post Reports

March 20, 2014

Not to beat a dead horse, but there’s more news on celebrity chef Todd English, a former HSN vendor.

We recently blogged some gossip on English from the New York Post’s Page Six. It was about the handsome but randy restaurateur being spotted groping two very willing women at a Manhattan eatery, embarrassing other patrons.

That was followed by Page Six showing a photo of English, looking inebriated, in a hot tub with three topless women.

Page Six had a folo on Wednesday, an item with the headline “Antics Cost Todd His Eatery.” The story said that English has “lost control” of his Manhattan restaurant, Olives, at the W Union Square Hotel. The Gerber Group was called in to take over management of the eatery because of English’s “erratic” behavior, Page Sis reported.

That item several times referred to English as “going off the rails,” the exact language we had used to described the chef’s sexy shenanigans.

Is Lori Greiner Really The Queen Of QVC?

March 17, 2014

Parade magazine Sunday did a cover story on the judges of “Shark Tank,” including Lori Greiner, QVC’s answer to HSN’s Huggable Hanger inventor Joy Mangano.

The story has a bio of 44-year-old Greiner, who it says is “known as the queen of QVC.” Well, we never heard her called the queen of QVC, but whatever.

The bio says Greiner, whose hair gets blonder and extensions longer every time we see her, “turned one idea — a plastic jewelry organizer for earrings — into a multibillion-dollar brand, creating over 400 products,” according to Parade.

Her most successful product is her “Scrub Daddy,” which we never heard of, that hit more than $15 million in sales in one year, Parade reported.

Greiner confesses that her biggest splurge is “jewelry and Cartier watches.”

ShopHQ Names Time Warner Cable Vet Landel Hobbs To Board

March 15, 2014

ShopHQ, apparently as part of its effort to fend off a hostile shareholder group, has named two new directors to its board, including Time Warner Cable veteran Landel Hobbs, the company said Thursday.

In addition to Hobbs, the No. 3 home shopping network also appointed Lowell Robinson to its board, which now has eight directors, seven of whom are independent.

In a blast from the past when we covered the cable TV industry, here is Hobbs’s bio. He has 18 years of experience in the media and telecommunications sectors, including financial, strategic and operational leadership roles.

Hobbs is currently chief executive officer of LCH Enterprises LLC, a consulting firm that operates in the broader telecommunications and media space.

Before that, Hobbs was chief operating officer of Time Warner Cable, where he led a major operational reorganization. While at Time Warner, Hobbs relaunched the company’s commercial line of business in 2009, and was responsible for Time Warner Cable’s rebranding efforts and its creation of proprietary customer segmentation, pricing architecture and yield management.

Hobbs will serve on ShopHQ’s Audit Committee and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.

Robinson has held senior global financial leadership positions at Citigroup Inc. and Kraft Foods, and has been Chief Financial Officer of several public companies including ADVO, and MIVA, and has provided transformational management at both board and operational levels.

He has also served on a variety of public company boards, including The Jones Group, International Wire Group, Inc., and Edison Schools Inc. In his capacity as a public company director, he has served as chair of compensation and audit committees. Robinson is also a member of the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board and the Board of the Metropolitan Opera Guild.

Robinson will serve on ShopHQ’s Finance Committee and the Human Resources and Compensation Committee.

“We are very pleased to welcome two extremely accomplished and independent directors to ValueVision’s Board (i.e. ShopHQ),” Chairman Randy Ronning said in a canned statement.

“Both Landel and Lowell are dynamic, change-oriented individuals with excellent track records of performance in fields that are highly relevant to our business. Landel’s deep operating and management experience in cable and Lowell’s broad based marketing and strategic background, as well as his vast public company Board experience, will complement our existing Board’s skills and further support our successful execution of ValueVision’s strategy.”

Hobbs and Robinson are expected to stand for re-election at ShopHQ’s annual meeting.


Muppets, Smuppets Taking Over QVC On Sunday

March 14, 2014

Here’s some fancy QVC press-release writing for you.

“Imagine a pig, a pair of frogs and their posse walk into QVC,” it says. “Sound like a far-fetched story filled with contagious laughter? Well, it will be reality on March 16 when the Muppets burst through QVC’s doors to celebrate Disney’s ‘Muppets Most Wanted, in theaters March 21. That’s right. The Muppets are coming to QVC!’

Dudes, we already wrote all about that, weeks ago! But here is the latest spin on QVC’s Muppet event Sunday.

“We might be crazy to let the Muppets assume control of QVC on March 16, but it’s too late to back out now,” Doug Rose, QVC senior vice president of marketing and programming, said in a canned statement. “We’re just crossing our fingers that they know what they’re doing and that nobody gets hurt.”

QVC honcho Doug Rose, who is not a Muppet

QVC honcho Doug Rose, who is not a Muppet

Here are more gems from the announcement:

The fun-filled day will include numerous opportunities for the Muppets to mingle and cavort with many of QVC’s program hosts and celebrity guests. Among them, Swedish Chef will put his cooking skills to the test during a special edition of ‘In the Kitchen with David.’

Pepe the King Prawn will prove he’s no shrimp when it comes to social commentary throughout the day. And Link Hogthrob may have a dream come true with the chance to serve as QVC co-host. Entertainment icon and fashion laureate Joan Rivers will also be on air that day, which is sure to lead to even more excitement for the gang.

Given their pop-culture limelight, Miss Piggy, Kermit and other beloved Muppets will get beauty tips from QVC guests Chaz Dean, Laura Geller, Mally, Josie Maran and Sherri Shepherd.

The crew will also have the chance to meet style and fashion experts Jill Martin, Lori Goldstein, Dennis Basso and Joe Zee, who will be sure to keep the film stars on trend. Of course, there’s no doubt the Muppets will get in on some whimsical behind-the-scenes action during their whirlwind visit.

One of the movie’s stars is no stranger to QVC, however. Undeniable style icon Miss Piggy made recent headlines with her appearance at QVC’s Red Carpet Style event in Los Angeles. The ever-fabulous fashionista made her foray into the world of design with Miss Piggy’s Haute Tote, the special-edition tote bag for the gala event, and she’s eager to return to QVC this Sunday.

‘When it comes to shopping, no one has more experience than moi,’ said movie star and world-class diva Miss Piggy. ‘And QVC keeps my shopping skills at the peak of performance. I am really looking forward to connecting with the QVC woman. We have so much in common. We’re fabulous. We’re fashionable! And we always get what we want!’

Randy One-Time HSN Vendor Todd English Cooks Up A Threesome

March 9, 2014

Here’s one chef you won’t see on HSN’s 24-hour cooking special Sunday: playboy restaurateur Todd English, a one-time vendor on the home shopping network.

English, whose romantic — and we use the term “romantic” loosely — romps would put the young Warren Beatty to shame, was a headline several times last week in Page Six, the New York Post’s much-read gossip column.

In fact, English’s tacky, drunken antics have been so frequent, there is actually a tab “Todd English” on the Post’s website.

Todd English, out of the hot tub

Todd English, out of the hot tub

In a nutshell, it looks like English has gone off the rails. Early last week, Page’s Six headline on the randy chef was “Todd English has ‘threesome’ at Provocateur.'” It seems that English was spotted at a Manhattan Meatpacking club pawing two women in a booth.

Page Six reported that English and the babes — one Asian, the chef’s frequent romantic choice, and one white — were a very merry threesome. English’s tongue was all over both chicks, and their tops were loosened as they fooled around, Page Six said. The gossip column claimed that the club’s patrons could “see one of the girl’s boobs” during all this canoodling.

Apparently, English’s ex-girlfriend, Candice Sonneman, threw a drink in his face when she saw him at the Provocateur club with the two half-dressed women, the Post later reported.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Later in the week, the Post ran a photo of English, looking very inebriated, in a hot tub with three topless babes. In true tabloid style, the headline was “Star chef’s recipe for fun? 1 hot tub, 3 topless girls.”

Please check out the link from the Post, because it includes a photo of English in the hot tub with the trio of women. As they say, one picture is worth a thousand words.

We don’t know if any of the hot tub women were the one’s from the Provocateur incident.

English had been a vendor of green-friendly cookware on HSN, but we looked at the network’s website tonight and couldn’t find any of his merchandise.

Maybe we just missed it. Otherwise, it looks like English’s partnership with HSN has ended.

English’s prior claim-to-shame was when he left his fiancee Erica Wang at the altar the day they were supposed to wed in Manhattan. A real class act.

Jerry Seinfeld’s Wife Jessica Joins The HSN Family

March 7, 2014

HSN’s 24-hour culinary event Sunday will feature comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, cookbook author Jessica Seinfeld, the home shopping network said Thursday.

In addition to Mrs. Seinfeld, for the first time ever four of HSN’s chefs will appear together “to chop, slice, dice, cut and cook up a series of highly engaging, interactive cooking demonstrations in front of a live studio audience of HSN Credit Card customers,” HSN said in a press release.

Jessica Seinfeld

Jessica Seinfeld

Celebrity chefs and restaurateurs Ming Tsai and Lorena Garcia will appear together from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.; and restaurateur and “Top Chef” Masters Aussie sensation Curtis Stone and “Iron Chef” judge and Zagat’s “Hostess with the Mostess” Donatella Arpaia will offer their recipes from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Scott Conant, Jessica Seinfeld and Kelsey Nixon will be demonstrating recipes from their cookbooks, and autographed versions will be for sale.

“HSN is thrilled to have an unprecedented lineup of culinary greats come together to present stellar products and cooking tips during one of our most memorable cooking events ever,” said Anne Martin-Vachon, HSN’s Chief Merchandising Officer. “HSN continues to redefine the shopping experience by offering highly entertaining events such as these that are fun and informative for our customers.”

The HSN Cooks event will begin with a special preview at 11 p.m. on Saturday.

ShopHQ Posts 17 Percent Fourth-Quarter Sales Gain

March 7, 2014

It looks like ShopHQ finally had a strong quarter, much to the chagrin of its dissident shareholders.

The channel’s fourth-quarter net sales last year rose 17 percent over the prior-year period, to $193 million from $165 million, the No. 3 home shopping network reported Thursday.

For the full year 2013, ShopHQ’s net sales jumped 12 percent to $640 million from $574 million in 2012.

That’s more growth than QVC and HSN posted for the quarter, but of course, a lot less dough.

QVC posted a 6 percent gain in revenue in the fourth quarter, to $1.9 billion, and was up 5 percent, to $5.8 billion, for last year. HSN reported a 2 percent gain in net sales in the fourth quarter, to $697.4 million. For the full year 2013, HSN’s net sales were up 2 percent, to $2.31 billion.

“Our fourth-quarter performance marked our seventh consecutive quarter of sales growth and positive Adjusted EBITDA,” ShopHQ CEO Keith Stewart said in a canned statement.

“Our continued diversification of product mix resulted in strong sales growth across a much broader customer base,” he said. “We expanded our product assortment, improved our channel positions and continued to focus on the customer experience. These efforts drove record new customer counts in the quarter. With our rebranding to ShopHQ complete and more customers shopping with us than ever before, we believe we are well positioned for fiscal 2014.”

We wonder how this will play for The Clinton Group, which is trying to oust Stewart and many of ShopHQ’s board members.

The network’s sales were driven by strong performances in the categories of home & consumer electronics, fashion & accessories, and beauty, health & and fitness. ShopHQ, whose corporate name is ValueVision Media, saw its gross profit increase 14 percent in the fourth quarter, and as a percent of sales, it was 32.1 percent compared to 33.2 percent in the prior year.

Adjusted EBITDA improved to $5 million in the fourth quarter versus $4 million a year ago.

Adjusted net income for the quarter was $300,000, or breakeven per share, compared to an adjusted net loss of $300,000 in the year-ago quarter.

Net shipped units increased by 44 percent to a record 2.4 million from 1.6 million in the same quarter last year, reflecting a broader merchandise mix and a 20 percent decline in the average price point to $74 from $92.

Total customers purchasing over the last 12 months rose 20 percent to a record 1.4 million from 1.1 million in the prior year.

“The growth in customers reflects a broader merchandise mix at lower price points,” ShopHQ said in a press release. “In addition, the size of the total customer base who purchased during the three months of Q4’13 increased 30 percent versus last year’s same period.”

For the full year 2-13, adjusted EBITDA was $18 million for the full year 2013 versus $4 million last year. Adjusted net loss for the year was $400,000 compared to an adjusted net loss of $16 million in the prior year.

“Our balance sheet position is strong,” ShopHQ Chief Financial Officer William McGrath said in his canned statement. “We ended the year with $31 million in cash and restricted cash, an increase of $3 million from the start of fiscal year 2013. During the fourth quarter, we also expanded the size of our total credit facility with PNC Bank from $50 million to $75 million. The additional liquidity better positions us to support future growth as we evaluate options to increase our warehouse distribution capacity in 2014.”