Archive for November, 2015

Tough Thanksgiving For QVC’s Wheeler, Us And Our’s

November 26, 2015

We can sympathize with QVC host Dan Wheeler, who just returned to the home shopping network after losing his beloved wife Beth to cancer.

It is going to be a tough Thanksgiving for him, as he eloquently wrote in a blog, as it is for us and our family.

Dan Wheeler returns to QVC.

Dan Wheeler returns to QVC.

This is our first Thanksgiving without our father. Our uncle passed away a few weeks ago, and my aunt and cousins won’t have him at the table today. Our childhood friend lost her 67-year-old husband to a heart attack, leaving her alone to raise their 11-year-old son.

Dan took an upbeat approach to writing about Beth, expressing thanks that he enjoyed 37 years with her. We had our dad a lot longer than other people. We give thanks for that.

Our dad wasn’t a religious man, but every Thanksgiving he would lead us in an off-the-cuff prayer before we ate. Every year, it was almost the same.

He’d give thanks for our food, for everyone around the table, for our troops overseas, for our country, adding that we also remembered those who were no longer with us.

This year, we wonder who will say the prayer.

Evine Live’s Third-Quarter Sales Up 3 Percent, To $162.3 Million

November 25, 2015

Evive Live’s net sales were up 3 percent, to $162.3 million, a 3 percent increase in the third quarter versus last year, the home shopping network reported Tuesday.

That compared to QVC’s 4 percent revenue increase, to $1.4 billion, and HSN’s net sales rising 2 percent, to $590.6 million.

But it wasn’t a good quarter for the No. 3 home shopping network. Evine Live saw a $5.2 million net loss in the quarter, which sent its shares into a sell-off. The company also said that it had launched a spin-off channel, Evine Live Too, that offers a three-hour-delayed feed of its core network.

Evine Live’s online net sales as a percentage of total net sales increased 250 basis points to 46 percent.

Mobile remains the fastest-growing platform with net sales of $31.2 million, a 34 percent increase year-over-year.

The active customer count during the quarter increased 3 percent year-over-year, while reactivated customer count increased 4 percent.

Average purchase frequency increased to 4.1 units per customer, a 4 percent increase, while adjusted EBITDA was $200,000.

“We are pleased with our third-quarter results as the sales trends we experienced last quarter have continued,” Evine Live CEO Mark Bozek said in a canned statement. “We enter the holiday season with optimism in our merchandise assortment and growth strategies.”

Never one for brevity, here’s the rest of what Bozek had to say.

“Through a deliberate merchandising strategy launched just over a year ago, we’ve developed a more diversified product assortment of proprietary offerings with margins that are more in line with industry averages.”

“We believe improvements in our customer counts and average-purchase frequency are proof that our customers are responding positively to ‘more in our store.’ In addition, we believe our efforts to increase brand awareness and broaden our distribution footprint are important to driving incremental business in the fourth quarter and beyond.”

“With the changes we initiated a year ago to position the company for sustainable growth, we are seeing real continued momentum and, despite operating in a highly competitive retail environment, we remain confident that we’ve laid a solid foundation for top line growth and profitability in the fourth quarter.”

Home and consumer electronics was the fastest-growing category at 18 percent while all other categories, with the exception of jewelry, delivered growth of 3 percent to four percent.

The return rate  for the quarter was 18.9 percent, down 230 basis points year-over-year, a five-year low.

Gross profit decreased 5.3 percent to 5.3 percent to $55.9 million. gross profit as a percentage of sales decreased 310 basis points to 34.5 percent, due in part to reduced margins in jewelry and margins.



Jersey Guy Dan Dennis Joins Liquidation Channel

November 22, 2015

HSN veteran Dan Dennis is back at a home shopping network, resurfacing as a gem expert for The Liquidation Channel. He debuts on Thanksgiving Day.

Dennis posted the news on Facebook, saying he had relocated to Austin and finished negotiations with the network.

He said he will be appearing on the channel 30 to 40 hours a week, part of a roster that includes Evine Live veteran Shawn Wilsie.

We love Dennis, because he’s from Clifton, N.J., a fellow North Jerseyite, and attended Montclair State University.

Apparently, Dennis was at the Liquidation Channel back in 2011.

“There you have it — I’m actually back doing what I love to do best, with all my friends both at work, and all my friends on the airwaves around the country,” he wrote. “Hope you can find the time to watch me work my magic!”

Congrats Dan!

Scary Spice To Season Evine Live

November 21, 2015

Evine Live is adding some spice to its roster. Some scary spice.

Mel B, known as Scary Spice when she was a member of the Spice Girls group,  will be featured on a one-hour special called “Celebrity Inc.” on Pop, a cable network. It airs Nov. 30.

The show delves into the world of celebrity endorsements. And Mel will be meeting with inventors to create and market products.

The winner in this competition will have his or her product sold on Evine Live on Cyber Monday.


Quacker Factory Queen Ties The Knot

November 21, 2015

Congrats to Angel Smedley, the face of Quacker Factory on QVC, on her nuptials Friday to her beau Glen.

Smedley, a former QVC model until she took over Jeanne Bice’s role after her tragic demise, looked stunning in a flouncy, layered gown by Dennis Basso, a QVC vendor.


The female members of the wedding party wore black, which we thought was an unusual choice, but what the heck.

Smedley, who recently said she had lost weight and went down from a 1X to a large, looked lovely. There are loads of great photos of the nuptials and festivities on her Facebook page. Congrats to her and her new hubby.

QVC Promotes Penati To Leader of QVC Italy

November 20, 2015

QVC has promoted Paolo Penati to the post of market leader of QVC Italy.

Penati will be responsible for overseeing QVC’s operations and growth in Italy, succeeding Gregg Bertoni, who has led QVC Italy since January 2014.

This role will leverage Penati’s experience and leadership in the Italian market. He will report to Steve Hofmann, EVP of International for QVC.

Bertoni will become the president and CEO of CNR Mall, QVC’s joint venture with China National Radio, where he will continue to build the business’s growth in China.

“Since its launch in 2010, QVC Italy has become the market’s leader in video and ecommerce retail and generated consistent revenue growth,”  Hofmann said.

“During this time, Paolo has consistently demonstrated his ability to lead and inspire teams, has strengthened the QVC brand and has the right experience to build our brand awareness, drive growth of our customer base and contribute to and execute our enterprise strategy.”

Penati previously served as CFO and vice president of merchandising, planning and programming for QVC Italy. He joined QVC Italy in 2010 to lead finance and subsequently added responsibilities for distribution, customer service and merchandising, programming and planning.

Prior to joining QVC, Penati was the CEO of La Gardenia, a chain of perfumeries, and before that, the CEO of Blockbuster Italia.

“As QVC continues to expand, we are implementing a more global approach to operating our business that leverages our worldwide strengths and capabilities to position us for future growth,” said QVC president and CEO Mike George.

“Paolo’s breadth of experience in leading successful teams and strengthening brand awareness combined with his knowledge of the Italian retail industry will position QVC Italy for continued success.”

QVC Names Bertoni Head Of Chinese Network

November 20, 2015

QVC this week appointed Gregg Bertoni CEO of CNR Mall, the home shopping giant’s joint venture with China National Radio (CNR).

Bertoni will be responsible for overseeing QVC’s growth and operations in China and will continue to build on QVC’s strong partnership with CNR. He will report to Steve Hofmann, QVC’s executive vice president of international.

Bertoni is succeeding James Clarke, who has served as CEO of CNR Mall since the joint venture’s formation in 2012.

Under Clarke’s leadership, QVC made significant strides building the QVC joint venture with CNR and growing the CNR Mall brand and business, now reaching over 100 million homes in China. Clarke has made the decision to depart QVC later this year to pursue other opportunities.

“Since the formation of the joint venture in 2012, CNR Mall has become a leading multimedia retailer in China, focused on providing a differentiated shopping experience and great value and customer service,” said Hofmann.

“Gregg’s role in launching our Italian business, including ensuring a compelling product portfolio and driving customer loyalty, coupled with his knowledge of international video and ecommerce retail, make him an outstanding choice to succeed James in leading CNR Mall.”

Bertoni has held several roles across markets at QVC during the past 20 years, most recently leading QVC’s business operations in Italy. He began his career with QVC US in 1995, later moving to QVC UK, subsequently adding roles of increasing responsibility in merchandising.

He transferred to Italy in 2010 to build and lead QVC Italy’s merchandising group, and was later named the chief merchandising officer, adding additional responsibilities of TV sales, TV operations, merchandising, programming and planning and marketing.

“As QVC continues to expand across markets, we are implementing a global approach that fosters agility and positions the business for ongoing future growth,” said QVC president and CEO Mike George.

“Gregg has been instrumental in expanding our global footprint and strengthening our position as a leader in multichannel retail. His appointment will position CNR Mall for continued success and drive further integration of best practices and strategies into the existing operation.”

HSN To Premiere Diamonds Unleashed By Kara Ross

November 20, 2015

Whenever anyone mentions diamonds, they get our attention. And HSN has. And we’re talking ethical diamonds here.

HSN is teaming up with jewelry designer Kara Ross to debut the Diamonds Unleashed collection, which supports women’s empowerment, on Dec. 13, the home shopping network said Thursday.

Diamonds Unleashed has partnered with She’s the First and Girls Who Code, and will donate all net profits from the sales of jewelry and products after expenses and has committed to make a minimum donation of $20,000 to each organization.


HSN said in its press release:

The brand will be brought to life through a collection of jewelry and other products, a powerful network of influential ambassadors, and a platform of compelling content that is educational and engaging.

“I was so excited when Mindy approached me and wanted to be the first retailer to launch Diamonds Unleashed,” Ross said in a canned statement.

“The network of women that HSN provides access to is so exciting for a brand like ours as we are trying to create a shift in mindset,” Ross said. “I want to do for diamonds what Victoria’s Secret did for lingerie. When people think about diamonds they think about love and marriage. We’re redefining the act of engagement: that of engaging with your community and with the world at large.”

The jewelry will debut on HSN exclusively Dec. 13.

Ross designed the Diamonds Unleashed logo as a symbol of female empowerment.

It’s the “the shape of two diamonds, one elevating outside the other; those two shapes together form a heart,” the press release said. “The heart symbolizes the unifying philanthropic power of women helping women, to help create the next generation of strong female leaders.”

“Kara Ross is an amazingly talented designer and visionary woman who inspires everyone she meets,” HSN CEO Mindy Grossman said.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Diamonds Unleashed By Kara RossS collection to HSN’s fine jewelry portfolio. This transformational brand not only features beautiful product, but it represents a movement that empowers, educates and entertains women. Diamonds Unleashed aligns perfectly with HSN’s core values and I am honored to be one of its ambassadors.”

The collection for HSN features 28 pieces necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets ranging in price from $129 to $1,399.

Each piece in the collection features genuine diamonds – diamonds that are ethically sourced from mines in Australia and Canada and manufactured to exceed minimum standards in: health, safety, the environment, human rights, quality management and financial capacity, as well as ethical and anti-corruption practices.


For more information about Diamonds Unleashed and the support of these organizations, visit

Evine Live Jewelry Vendor Samuel Behnam And Our AZ Vacation

November 15, 2015

In the grand scheme of things, and what is happening in the world now, we guess this blog will sound trite. But we wanted to report back on what we found on the jewelry scene when we went to Arizona on vacation last month.

We have not been in AZ — or its areas such as Scottsdale, Sedona and Carefree — in about two years. So our eyes almost popped out of our head when we saw the way prices for jewelry and such have skyrocketed.

Even some of our favorite haunts, jewelry shops a bit off the beaten and tourist-ridden path, didn’t seem to have any deals.

Lucky ladybug

Lucky ladybug

We have a pretty sizable collection of blue turquoise now, and quite frankly don’t want any more. If anything, we keep our eye out for green turquoise, Carico Lake in particular. But Arizona has a lot more than Native-American made Southwestern-style jewelry. Its shops have a wide variety of sterling silver, artisan-crafted pieces from all over. That’s why we can browse at this stuff for hour upon hour.

We did make some purchases, but probably not what you would expect. In Sedona there is a New Agey-crystal store that we’ve been going to for years, which has not only jewelry but a huge selection of rocks.

We were keeping our eye out for Herkimer Diamonds, and thought maybe they would be a new trend in AZ. A couple of years ago, druzy was red hot.

In this Sedona shop we found a small bowl filled with some very large Herkimer Diamonds, 2 to 2 1/1 inches long. Some of them had black carbon spots, which we actually like in this particular stone.

Each Herkimer Diamond was wrapped in a sterling-steel girdle so you could wear it as a pendant. We bought two, one for us and one as a belated birthday present for our friend and traveling companion Deb.

As it turned out, it was a good purchase, because we only ran across one other store that was selling Herkimer Diamonds, and they we weren’t jumbo-sized like the ones we bought.

Samuel Behnam pendant

Samuel Behnam pendant

In Old Scottsdale, a real tourist trap that we still love because of all its jewelry stores, we came across a few finds. One shop had a little corner dedicated to jewelry by Evine Live vendor Samuel Behnam. The store owner began explaining that Behnam was a jewelry maker based in New Jersey, which was news to us Garden State gals.

We said we were familiar with his work, but didn’t mention his home shopping collection. They were selling several Behnam men’s bracelets with dragon heads, which were remarkably similar in style to those made by John Hardy but a hell of a lot cheaper.

But ultimately, we brought a large dog tag-style silver pendant on a leather cord that is probably a piece of men’s jewelry, but we liked it for us. It has several skulls on it, which like the Mexicans we think of as a good symbol, and a background of real stingray skin.

On the other side of the pendant, which we consider reversible, was a pattern of small stingrays.

We were also on the lookout for ladybug jewelry, since we think that critter is good luck. At another Old Town shop, we found a round inlay pendant that looked like a ladybug. We picked that up and have already worn it several times.

Reverse side

Reverse side

The ridiculous prices we were in Arizona made us realize some of the really great deals that the home shopping networks offer us for jewelry and gemstones.

By the way, the Old Town jewelers didn’t seem to know their stuff. In the only shop outside of Sedona where we found Herkimer Diamonds, the sales woman insisted that Herkimer was in Pennsylvania, not New York. You HSN girls know that’s not correct.

In another store, we asked to see a huge gem pendant that was marked as onyx. We held it up to the light, and saw that you could see through it and that it was brown — in other words, smoky quartz, not opaque onyx.

When we told the salesman in that store that the pendant was incorrectly marked, that it was not onyx, he insisted we were wrong.

Evine Live To Present Vendors’ Holiday Gift Lists

November 14, 2015

We just spotted this press release from Evine Live, and are we reading it right?

The home shopping network is having its key vendors offer their holiday gift lists, and the items on the lists are basically products from other Evine Live vendors?

If so, how convenient. If not, our bad.

EVINE Live’s Brightest Stars Share the Holidays and Inspire Gift-Giving With Their Ultimate Personalized Gift Lists

Nancy O’Dell, Paula Deen, Karen Fairchild, The Dubrows and Other EVINE Live ‘Brands With Fans’ Share Their Holiday Gift Lists

MINNEAPOLIS, MN–(Marketwired – Nov 13, 2015) – EVINE Live Inc. (NASDAQ: EVLV), a digital commerce company (, today announced that it will give customers an exclusive look at the gift lists of some of EVINE Live’s most popular personalities and brands.

As part of EVINE Live’s “Share the Holidays” campaign, many of EVINE Live’s best known personalities and brands will share their favorite gifts of the holiday season with their fans. The gift lists will be unveiled on social media via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Among the EVINE Live personalities sharing their personal holiday gift lists are Nancy O’Dell, Paula Deen, Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town, The Beekman Boys and Dr. Terry and Heather Dubrow of E! Entertainment Television’s “Botched” and “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”

“This unique holiday experience is just one of the many ways we are delivering on our brand promise of Shop.Share.Smile. Our ‘brands with fans’ were thrilled to share their holiday gift lists with their rapidly growing social networks. This fun shopping experience is a way to connect new and existing customers,” said Russell Nuce, EVINE Live’s Chief Strategy Officer.

“Through this first-of-its-kind campaign at EVINE Live, we’ve taken the idea of sharing the holidays to a new level. During the ‘Share the Holidays’ campaign, Paula Deen will introduce her fans to Beekman 1802 bath and body products, Nancy O’Dell’s fans will discover Paula Deen’s food items, and Dr. Terry and Heather Dubrow’s fans will get acquainted with Karen Fairchild’s new fashions. It’s social discovery at its very best.”

The 12 EVINE Live Gift Lists will be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and are available beginning today on Items on each gift list include some of this year’s hottest giftable items from EVINE Live including fashion, beauty, jewelry, watches, home entertaining, consumer electronics and this season’s “must-have” gift item, the Swagway.