Archive for the ‘Naeem Khan’ Category

The Wall Street Journal On HSN Honcho Mindy Grossman, Why Home Shopping Is Hot And ‘Pooh-Poohing’ Designers

November 11, 2010

Did you realize it’s “The Golden Age of TV Shopping”?

We know, we’ve been telling you that for more than a year now, but The Wall Street Journal made it official Thursday, with a big feature with that “Golden Age” headline.

It looks like Journal reporter Elizabeth Holmes actually plopped her butt onto a plane and made the trek to St. Petersburg, Fla., to find out exactly why the hell upscale designers such as Reem Acra (who is so high-end we had never heard of her), Mark Badgley and James Mischka, and Naeem Khan are now selling their wares on HSN. In the past, they were selling their duds to celebs like Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry.

The Journal story mainly focuses on HSN and its evolution (which has some irate customers wanting to start a revolution) under the helm of CEO Mindy Grossman. But it also references the market’s dominant player, QVC, and its hip vendors such as razor-thin celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe and “Mad Men” costume designer Janie Bryant.

Your's truly with designing team Mark Badgley and James Mischka, who are a big part of The Journal's home shopping story

As usual in one of these home-shopping-networks-are-no-longer-downscale stories, we have the usual quotes from Acra and Khan (who has designed for First Lady Michelle Obama) knocking electronic home — that is before they swallowed the Kool-Aid.

“I never watched it before,” Acra told The Journal, referring to HSN. “I pooh-poohed it. But now look at it. There are items I would want every single day.”

Ah, a true believer now.

Naeem Khan's $870 bag for HSN

Then the story gets to the obvious: High-end designers have gone to HSN because they can move a hell of a lot of product on it, which is pretty crucial when sales for upsale goods have crashed. Mischka told Rupert Murdoch’s financial rag that Badgley Mischka sold 18,000 units of one particular jacket on HSN. It would take a lot of couture gowns to ring up that kind of revenue. Volume, volume, volume.

We did learn a few things from The Journal, like that HSN keeps track of sales by the minutes, and uses that “intel,” as Jack Bauer would say, to guide hosts. The story says that when HSN host Bobbi Ray Carter mentioned the quality of one of Acra’s jackets, it’s sales shot up. So HSN had Ray talk in more detail about the material in the piece.

HSN chief Mindy Grossman

The article talks quite a bit about Nike veteran Grossman, who came on board to HSN in 2006 and began making it more fashion-forward by courting a host of big-name designers.

Grossman did her research, asking people about HSN, and told The Journal she got three responses, “Some who shopped, some who didn’t, some who did but they whispered that they did.””

We never whispered, Mindy! We were always loud and proud about our HSN and QVC purchases, despite being surrounded by snobby Manhattanites (most of whom where transplants from the Midwest).

The Journal story goes on about Grossman, saying, “The new CEO cleaned house, shedding brands that she didn’t think made sense for the network.”

We guess the “shedding” refers to the exits of vendors like Suzanne Somers, Terry Lewis, Beyonce’s mom Tina Knowles and a parade of others. The departure of Terry Lewis and her Classic Luxuries line still has some HSN shoppers calling for Grossman to be drawn and quartered.

We did get a kick out of the anecdote in the story about Mischka “falling off the stage” the first time he and his partner Badgley appeared on HSN. But unfortunately for viewers, the camera wasn’t on him when that little mishap took place.

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Wall Street Journal Does Non-Snarky Story On HSN’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ Promotion

August 5, 2010

We broke the story June 1 that HSN had a big promotion cooking for the new movie “Eat, Pray, Love” — even though the home shopping network wouidn’t comment on it.

On July 6 HSN put out a press release about the formerly hush-hush three-day promotion with Sony Pictures for the film, which stars Julia Roberts and is being released Aug. 13.

Today, Thursday, The Wall Street Journal had a piece on the promotion headlined “‘Eat, Pray, Love’ — and Shop at HSN.”

Unlike most of The Journal’s stories, this one doesn’t look down its nose at HSN and the home shopping industry.

The article says that Sony Pictures will get a piece of sales of some merchandise that HSN sells this weekend for its “Eat, Pray, Love” event. The more than 400 new items being presented from India, Italy and Bali — where the movie is set — will include special teas and spices from “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi and clothes from Michella Obama designer Naeem Khan.

In The Journal story HSN CEO Mindy Grossman is given full credit for coming up with the idea of the home shopping network’s tie-in with the film.

HSN staff has already previewed the flick, and they have also been given copies of the bestseller by Elizabeth Gilbert that the film is based on.

For its part, Sony Pictures is trying to draw HSN’s female customers in and get them to see the movie.

HSN Finally Reveals Details Of Its ‘Eat Pray Love’ Promotion With Sony Pictures

July 6, 2010

Weeks ago when we asked HSN about a big event it had planned in conjunction with the release of the movie “Eat Pray Love,” we didn’t really get a response. We wrote what we could garner about the event from HSN.com.

Well, Tuesday HSN announced that it was partnering with Sony Pictures to support the launch of the film.

HSN modestly says that it “will be executing the most comprehensive 360-degree marketing campaign in its history, including 72 hours of original programming on Aug. 6, 7, and 8 featuring unique products themed around the movie.”

“Eat Pray Love,” based on the best-selling novel and starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem, will be released Aug. 13.

“There are very few retailers out there that have the breadth and depth of HSN,” Marc Weinstock, president of worldwide marketing for Sony Pictures, said in a canned statement. “This is a unique promotion that taps into its power as a content, community, and commerce platform, and we are excited to have them on board as a partner. This is a great opportunity for us to reach our target audience while extending the ‘Eat Pray Love’ experience on the weekend prior to our release this August.”

HSN, which reaches 95 million homes in the U.S., has a customer base that’s about 83 percent female between the ages of 30 to 50 years old, with an above-average income. Its website is a Top 10-trafficked e-commerce site.

Padma Lakshmi will be part of HSN's Eat Pray Love extravaganza

“‘Eat Pray Love’ is an event motion picture for women, and we are very excited to partner with Sony Pictures in an alliance that allows us to support the film while also providing immersive content and product experiences for our core female consumer,” HSN Mindy Grossman said in her canned statement.

“Our customers will be able to experience the journey of traveling through Italy, India and Bali as we bring ‘Eat Pray Love’ to life through stories, engaging personalities and unique products that complement the themes expressed in the movie,” she said. “We have no doubt our customers will love ‘Eat Pray Love’!”

HSN will leverage multiple platforms to deliver a 360-degree experience for consumers in support of Eat Pray Love: TV, online, mobile, print advertising, public relations, events and direct mail.

The 72-hour “Eat Pray Love” on-air event will incorporate appearances by more than 20 of HSN’s partners and brands and feature more than 400 unique items across a variety of categories, including beauty, electronics, home decor, travel, cooking, jewelry, accessories and ready-to-wear.

You’ll be seeing wares from Naeem Khan, Robin by Me & Ro, Rebecca Moses, Padma Lakshmi, Lancome, RK by Ranjana Khan, Hutton Wilkinson, Carlton Varney, Sony Electronics, Nicky Butler, V by Eva, Tagliamonte, Sajen Silver, Dalia, Clever Carriage, Casa di Francesca and Sarita Handa.

In line with the movie, HSN programming during the event will focus on three different countries: Italy on Aug. 6; India on Aug. 7 and Bali on Aug. 8 – Bali.

Bestseller “Eat Love Pray” was written by Elizabeth Gilbert. Here’s what the HSN press release says about her.

At a crossroads after a divorce, Gilbert takes a year-long sabbatical from her job and steps uncharacteristically out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life. In her wondrous and exotic travels, she experiences the simple pleasure of nourishment by eating in Italy; the power of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of love in Bali. Based on an inspiring true story, ‘Eat Pray Love’ proves that there really is more than one way to let yourself go and see the world.

The Dumping of Louis Dell’Olio And Charla Rines Sparks Customer Outrage At QVC And ShopNBC: How Shifts In Strategy Can Alienate Shoppers

April 18, 2010

Charla Rines

We’ve chronicled two instances now where customers of QVC and ShopNBC have become livid, and threatened to boycott those networks, because the two channels were getting rid of two popular personalities.

In the most recent brouhaha, more “mature” QVC shoppers were ready to tar and feather QVC president Mike George and John Malone and Gref Maffei, who run QVC’s parent Liberty Media, when they got word that the home shopping channel was dropping designer Louis Dell’Olio’s line.

Linea Ladies (named after his QVC Linea collection) this week mounted a focused campaign to keep Dell’Olio on the air, setting up a Twitter account, bombarding the offices of George and Malone with phone calls, and writing to these executives.

Who knows what will happen ultimately. Campaigns like this, no matter how passionate the protesters, seldom work.

But the “Ladies” seem to have made some progress last week on behalf of Dell’Olio. The award-winning designer wrote on his blog Friday that QVC officials now want to meet with him to discuss the future of his line for them. Prior to that, Dell’Olio said that QVC had informed him that it would stop placing orders for his line in the fall.

Customer relations are not much better at ShopNBC, where angry viewers are still shocked that the No. 3 shopping network canned spike-haired Rines, a loud-mouthed but popular host, back in January. Our blogs about Rines have received the most traffic of any items on this site, and more than 80 people have posted comments damning ShopNBC for letting Rines go.

These ShopNBC customers are also posting that the network had gone down the toilet in terms of the quality of its merchandise, especially the high-end jewelry that Rines used to do presentations on.

What’s going on here? You are seeing customer reaction to major changes in strategy at both QVC and ShopNBC.

Mindy Grossman

HSN is making similar changes, but even when veteran vendor Suzanne Somers left last fall after more than a decade at the network, there was no viewer ire. We guess that’s because she had her new home-shopping gig set up — moving over to ShopNBC.

With the recession, it’s a tough environment out there for home shopping networks. Gems TV went black last Thursday, and has filed for Chaper 11 bankruptcy protection. QVC, HSN and ShopNBC obviously don’t want to suffer a similar fate.

All three home shopping networks have shifted their strategies. For one, they have changed their product mixes to include less jewelry (which apparently no one but us is buying nowadays) and much more beauty and consumer electronics producs.

QVC and HSN are going in similar directions in many respects: In particular, they are replacing their older clothing lines with hipper fashions by younger designers. So for example, you have HSN CEO Mindy Grossman bringing in higher-end design talent like Badgley Mischka, Naeem Khan and Stephani Greenfield to the network.

In the case of QVC and Dell’Olio, he makes gorgeous classic tailored clothes, the kind of garments that women my age love. But QVC is trying to attract new, younger viewers, and has brought in more fashion-forward designers such as Isaac Mizrahi and Chloe Dao with their edgier fashions.

Linea Ladies pointed out to QVC that they have lots more disposal income than the kids, and that younger shoppers are fickle and unloyal. Good points.

If you read QVC’s online forums, you will soon learn that the Linea Ladies don’t like the new designers like Mizrahi, and that they feel they are being swept aside in the home shopping channel’s push to draw new shoppers. And these women are probably right.

Keith Stewart

That age issue is also at the center of customer anger over ShopNBC letting Rines go: She was not a 20-something, she was maybe a 50-something. The new generic, picture perfect hosts that ShopNBC has hired just don’t cut the mustard, according to Rines’s fans.

With her bright red lipstick and short platinum blonde hair, Rines didn’t look or act like any other host on a home shopping channel. She was outspoken, blunt, sarcastic and had a real edge to her. She drove us nuts sometimes, but at least she didn’t have the nauseatingly sweet, unskeptical persona of many home-shopping network hosts.

ShopNBC’s situation, except for it getting rid of an older talent, is opposite of QVC’s and HSN’s. Chief Keith Stewart is trying to make the No. 3 home shopping channel less upscale, lowering the average price of its merchandise. You won’t see many $20,000 rings being sold on ShopNBC now, the way you used to.

And he is widening ShopNBC’s product mix to be more like QVC and HSN, in that the No. 3 home shopping network is now selling gourmet food and even 3D HDTV sets (before its two rivals did).

All three home shopping channels will soon be reporting their first-quarter earnings. They have been seeing rising sales, so maybe their new strategies are working.

But their core customers are not happy. And those are the shoppers that they depend on to come back again and again.

For The Record, QVC, HSN And ShopNBC Aren’t Funding Us: We’re Proud To Say We’re Not Getting A Dime To Write This (Mmmm, Time For A Business Manager)

February 22, 2010

We've commented on HSN CEO Mindy Grossman's cleavage, and you think she's paying us?

We’ve had a number of people, those who’ve had the integrity to ask us right to our face, if we are getting paid to write this blog. We guess the assumption on the part of some, obviously those that don’t know us very well, is that one of the home shopping networks is paying us to write this blog.

Let’s clear the air. Remember that old chestnut to the effect of when you make an assumption you make an ass of yourself. That applies here, folks. Anyone who thinks we’re getting a single dime from QVC, HSN or ShopNBC esta loco, and estupido.

We guess we shouldn’t be bragging about this — since it’s not helping our bank account — but we are not selling ads, offering product placement or in any way, shape or form or getting compensation from anyone to write this blog.

Then why do it, some people ask us, in disbelief. Well, we are looking for a full-time job, and we consider this our living resume and writing sample. It you’re an employer and you don’t like our style, or think the billion-dollar home shopping industry is frivolous, or don’t like snarky commentary, we guess that we are not the right fit for you.

But if you are looking for a reporter/writer who can cover a beat (home shopping); come up with stories and post items on a daily basis; and uniquely combine writing about pop culture, celebrities, news, finance and the inside-gossip of QVC and HSN, then we’re on.

But home shopping, people ask? We’ve said this several times, but we’ll repeat it for newbies to this blog: We love jewelry and gemology, have since we were a kid, and QVC and HSN are the biggest jewelry retailers in the country. We don’t give a crap if Gawker or The Wall Street Journal make fun of the networks.

Yes, we own lucious jewelry from luxury brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Roberto Coin, but we’ve gotten gorgeous things at the three electronic retailers, as well.

The fact that high-end names like Robert Lee Morris, Bobbi Brown, Judith Ripka, Gucci, Godiva, Tag Heuer, Ann King, Barbara Bixby, Stephen Dweck, Badgley Mischka, Dennis Basso and Naeem Khan are selling on QVC, HSN and ShopNBC now makes the case for the networks far more eloquently than we can.

We’ve dinged all three home shopping channels, as well, numerous times. We’ve written about HSN CEO Mindy Grossman’s cleavage, how QVC hired an alleged embezzler who now stands charged with robbing it, and taken ShopNBC to task letting veteran host Charla Rines go. We’ve made fun of QVC and HSN’s PR departments.

Immature? Perhaps. Have some our blogs been silly? Yes. Are we having fun writing them? You betcha.

We like to think we’re doing for home shopping what Joe Flint at the LA Times does for media in “Company Town.”

And so these home shopping channels that we’ve poked fun at — while also covering them as a business reporter would follow any beat — are the same guys you suspect are paying us to write Homeshoppingista? Wrong.

Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine Salutes QVC And HSN As ‘Stylish’ Boutiques: Girlfriends, We’ve Been Saying That Since September

January 20, 2010

O Magazine gives props to HSN and QVC for attracting red-carpet designers such as Badgley Mischka

Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine in February not only features items from the three major home shopping networks, it also lauds QVC and HSN as among the “100 Things That Are Getting Better.”

We just finished reading the magazine, and No. 47 on the list is “TV Shopping.” Then Oprah’s mag tell readers what we have been saying all along.

“The onetime insomnia cures HSN and QVC have become stylish, nicely priced boutiques for the likes of Badgley Mischka, Naeem Khan, Isaac Mizrahi and Rachel Zoe,” O Magazine says on page 173.

In the front of the magazine, the feature “Great Buys Under $50” spotlights four items from HSN, QVC and ShopNBC. We blogged about that yesterday.

HSN’s Fashion Designer Naeem Khan Is Dressing You and Michelle Obama

November 26, 2009

Khan for HSN

The New York Daily News has a story Thursday on Manhattan-based fashion designer Naeem Khan, who does a line for HSN called Timeless by Naeem Khan.

It turns out Mubai-born Khan designed the gorgeous champagne strapless gown that Michelle Obama wore to the first Obama White House State dinner. The dress is adorned with silver sequins. The White House was hosting India’s prime minister.

Khan comes from a family that produced fabrics for Indian royalty, according to the Daily News.

One of Khan’s Timeless pieces for HSN is a sequined dress for $400.