Archive for the ‘Rachel Zoe’ Category

The New York Times Reveals QVC’s Secrets: Not, But Honchos Mike George And Greg Maffei Surface

November 21, 2010

First The Wall Street Journal, now The New York Times, have woken up and figured out that home shopping is a booming business. And there was not one mention of cubic zirconia in either story.

While The Journal recently wrote about HSN with a trip to Florida, The Times headed out to West Chester, Pa., to do its take on QVC. The headline on the story this weekend is “Can QVC Translate Its Pitch Online.”

As a veteran journalist, we found that this story didn’t quite gel because although it’s supposed to be about QVC’s online strategy — and its growing online sales — much of the piece reports on the home shopping network’s TV side.

QVC CEO Mike George dissed a gift box with Santa's face on it, to the horror of a QVC PR person

Our guess is that when The Journal wrote about home shopping networks booming and attracting names like celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe and others, The Times had to find a different angle for its story. And it made its angle about QVC.com.

A big thesis of The Times story is that people thought the Internet might hurt home shopping channels. Why would you think that? The Web lets QVC, HSN and ShopNBC sell their vast inventory 24 hours a day, not just a few items every day. But what do we know.

And once again, as we read in The Journal, home shopping hosts and vendors — via those pesky earpieces — are coached by producers about when items are selling, and when they are duds and it is time to move on. Big whoop!

Lisa Robertson says QVC viewers don't want polished professionals

You have the link so you can read The Times story yourself, but here are some points that stood out for us:

— QVC CEO Mike George finally came out of the woodwork and was interviewed for the story.

— George dissed one of QVC’s products, prompting “an anguished sound” from a QVC PR person.

— Greg Maffei, CEO of QVC parent Liberty Media, came out of the woodwork and was interviewed for the story.

— Host Lisa Robertson’s quote, “They (QVC viewers) don’t want to see a bunch of polished professionals. They want to see the real people.” So Lisa, what are you saying? That you and your fellow hosts are a bunch of unpolished amateurs?

— Zoe has brought a ton of new customers to QVC.

— Milinda Baker Weldon from Graham, Texas, is a self-admitted QVC addict who has the network on six hours a day.

— Rachael Ray sold $350,000 worth of cookware on QVC in 12 minutes.

Advertisements

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.

QVC Pats Self On The Back For Its Fashion Week Coverage From New York

September 22, 2010

QVC put out a press release Tuesday crowing about its Fashion Week programming.

We were actually impressed with QVC’s efforts, from its pop-up shop in Rock Center to its “reporters” roving all over the city.

Here is QVC’s spin:

QVC CELEBRATES RECORD-SETTING NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (September 21, 2010) – QVC celebrated its largest New York Fashion Week presence with live programming from its first NYC pop-up location in Rockefeller Center featuring a consumer shop and broadcast studio.

Designed to offer consumers the ultimate QVC shopping experience, the pop-up store showcased a selection of QVC’s most exciting brands. From September 10 – 15, products ranging from fashion, beauty and jewelry to home and electronics were featured and the store served as a location for personal appearances by a selection of QVC’s favorite personalities and brands. The store also enabled shoppers to play with QVC’s latest interactive shopping platforms, from its smartphone and iPad apps to desktop and TV widgets.

The QVC pop-up store opened its doors to the public on Friday, September 10 at 6 PM (ET) to mark the second annual Fashion’s Night Out (FNO). QVC’s President and CEO Mike George and President of U.S. Commerce, Claire Watts were joined by Isaac Mizrahi and Kristin Chenoweth for the pop-up shop’s ribbon-cutting celebration. Just minutes before, Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour visited to sign copies of the September issue with Saturday Night Live’s Seth Meyers.

Even QVC CEO Mike George popped up for the network's programming from Rock Center

As the exclusive multimedia retailer for FNO, QVC made the event accessible to more than 98 million U.S. homes with its largest ever broadcast and multimedia event. Live from the NYC pop-up location with special programming throughout the city, the broadcast – Fashion Night’s Out SM – Live from Rockefeller Center – featured the successful debuts of K-DASH by Kardashian and Janie Bryant MOD. Some of QVC’s most popular designers unveiled their latest collections for the fall ’10 season.

“We were thrilled to bring Fashion’s Night Out to our customers live from NYC,” said Watts. “Our viewers really responded to the unique insider experience we were able to provide.”

Customers were invited to “Keep on Shopping” with Isaac Mizrahi immediately following the FNO broadcast at 12 AM (ET). Live from his New York studio, Mizrahi introduced his Today’s Special Value® (an item offered at an exceptionally low price – good for that given day, until 11:59 PM (ET), unless it sells out sooner). The ISAACMIZRAHILIVE!™ quilted lamb leather jacket sold out with only 45 minutes of presentation time. QVC aired two additional live remotes from Mizrahi’s studio at 2 PM (ET) and 6 PM (ET) featuring new fall items from his lifestyle brand.

In addition to the successful FNO and ISAACMIZRAHILIVE! broadcasts, QVC also gave viewers a front row seat at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week – Live from Rockefeller Center on Saturday, September 11 at 10 PM (ET) and Wednesday, September 15 at 10 PM (ET). Live from the NYC pop-up location, QVC kicked off the September 11 show with its first-ever eight-minute runway show. Fashions featured on the runway were then presented during the broadcast, including Anonymity by Julie Chaiken and new designs from some of QVC’s premier designers, including Lori Goldstein, Dennis Basso, Isaac Mizrahi, Bradley Bayou, Marc Bouwer and Janie Bryant.

Iconic Hollywood stylist Rachel Zoe also returned to unveil her latest collection and debut her first faux fur Today’s Special Value® on Wednesday, September 15. QVC posted a sellout with more than 25,000 units ordered. In addition to the Today’s Special Value offer, several other items from Zoe’s collection sold out, including a faux fur toggle coat with wingcollar, feather print scarf with twistedfringe, wrap shawl with fringeand patch pocket vest with sequin trim.

“Our Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week broadcast continues to resonate with our viewers,” Watts adds. “Once again, we were able to deliver accessible fashions from esteemed and emerging designers, direct from the industry’s most respected event.”

Once again, QVC lent its support to the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in its fight against breast cancer. QVC offered Vogue-designed Fashion’s Night Out CFDA T-shirts on air, on QVC.com and at its pop-up location in New York City. During the September 10 broadcast, Vogue’s Sr. Market Editor, Meredith Melling Burke, appeared on QVC to talk about the Vogue-designed T-shirt. Since its debut, more than 4,000 have been ordered. Net proceeds from the sale of this T-shirt, sold exclusively through QVC, benefitted “Fashion Targets Breast Cancer,” the charitable initiative of the CFDA Foundation, Inc.

Charriol Heiress, With New QVC Handbag Line, Says Let Them Eat Cake — Or Buy $300 Purses

August 30, 2010

Charriol Lorena hobo for QVC

The rich are different from you and me, as the F. Scott Fitzgerald quote goes. That is never more clear than when reading an interview with QVC’s newest handbag vendor, Coralie Charriol.

Coralie is creative director for her daddy Phillippe’s extraordinarily pricey Swiss jeweley and watch company, Charriol. QVC host Lisa Robertson sometimes wears a white Charriol watch, which retails for about $4,000, on-air.

As The Wall Street Journal reports Monday, Coralie debuted a handbag line called C. Lili today on QVC. The story is headlined “Selling 800 Bags in 16 Minutes.”

It’s not surprising that as part of the upper crust, Coralie says she has never purchased anything on QVC. But she notes that QVC has “elevated” its brand with collections from the likes of celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe and Kim Kardashian (huh?)

“They have an incredible standard of workmanship with inspections and workmanship,” Coralie tells The Journal.

No shit Sherlock. Talk about back-handed compliments for QVC.

But our favorite quote from Coralie is where she talks about her initial four bags for QVC selling for less than $300. Here’s where the “rich-different-than-us” part comes in.

“You would think that for $300 that they are going to be made very cheap and out of pleather, but they’re not,” Coralie told The Journal. “They’re fabulous looking!”

Earth to Coralie: Most American women are not spending $300 for purses, and many American women are buying leather — not pleather — handbags for way less than $300.

We all can’t afford to buy $5,000 to $15,000 Gucci and Vuitton designer bags.

This woman really riles up our class consciousness, like when we walked into our first class at Northwestern and realized everyone else’s dad was a CEO.

But ultimately we came to realize that FDNY trumped CEO any day.

Celebrity Stylist Rachel Zoe’s Retro Faux Fur Vest Plugged In New York Times

August 27, 2010

Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe’s faux fur vest for QVC made the Thursday Style section of The New York Times yesterday, in a story headlined “Retro Looks, Almost at Retro Prices.”

Zoe’s vest sells for $79 and change, and comes in chinchilla, red fox, black fox and silver.

Zoe’s does a clothing and accessory collection for QVC.

Christie Brinkley Showed Off Her QVC Jewelry At Hampton’s Super Saturday Benefit

August 2, 2010

There were several stories in Big Apple newspapers Monday about Super Saturday, the annual charity event in the Hamptons that QVC telecast from this year.

The Daily News interviewed Christie Brinkley, one of QVC’s newest jewelry designers, who waxed on about the tragic BP oil spill in the Gulf and got teary-eyed talking about it.

In the photos that accompanied the item, Brinkley is wearing two pieces from her QVC collection: a blue lace agate necklace that sells for $195 and a braided leather bracelet for $45. The supermodel debuted her jewelry on QVC Sunday.

The Wall Street Journal also did a story on Super Saturday headlined “A Celebrity ‘Garage Sale.'” It mentioned that celebrity stylist and QVC vendor Rachel Zoe was there.

The Journal also gave QVC a shout-out.

“QVC broadcast interactive live shopping,” the paper wrote.

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’s Red Carpet Party From L.A. Rocks With Stars Like Joan Collins, Nolan Miller’s Date

March 6, 2010

We came in late to watch QVC’s “The Buzz on the Red Carpet” from L.A. Friday night, and were surprised to see Patti Reilly in the West Chester studio.

We checked the online forums to see what we missed, and apparently the home shopping network had trouble getting its live feed from the Left Coast and Reilly had to fill in at the last minute until they got things fixed.

Anyway, we were pretty impressed with QVC’s celebrity-studded pre-Oscar event at the swank Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Lisa Robertson was doing the selling, while Mary Beth Roe and Shawn Killinger were conducting celebrity interviews. Joan Collins, QVC vendor Nolan Miller’s date, and Tia Carrere were among those in the house.

A still drop-dead gorgeous (and fellow Northwestern alum) Cindy Crawford was hawking Meaningful Beauty products, and former entertainment-magazine show host Nancy O’Dell introduced her QVC fashion jewelry line.

“I’ve loved QVC for a long time,” O’Dell said.

QVC vendors Isaac Mizrahi, Rachel Zoe, Chaz Dean and Bruce Makowsky were also on the air.

The fun will continue Saturday night.

We Hate To Break It To You, Fellow Jewelry Lovers, But It Looks Like Another Year Of Boring Laptops, B. Makowksy Bags and Wii On QVC

February 25, 2010

Mike, enough with the Clarisonic, cause we don't care if it's one of Lisa's favorite things

QVC had a great fourth quarter, which is good for the home shopping network but bad for jewelry geeks like us.

The U.S. channel, a unit of John Malone’s Liberty Media, Thursday reported a 13 percent jump in revenue to $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter.

“We posted our strongest quarterly results in over 10 years, and moved our full-year results into positive territory,” QVC CEO and president Mike George told analysts during a conference call Thursday.

And George got a pat on the back from his boss, Liberty CEO Greg Maffei.

“At Liberty Interactive, QVC had a very impressive fourth quarter, which capped a greatly improved 2009 overall,” Maffei said.

Why is all this bad news for bling lovers? George said that QVC saw the revenue gains because it posted strong sales on consumer electronics, kitchen and floor care, beauty, accessories and fashion jewelry. Apparel, while soft, improved significantly over the trend for prior quarters, according to George.

“Jewelry, especially gold, did remain difficult, however,” he said, at one point noting, “We continue to pull back our time on jewelry.”

That means more Wii and Clarisonic shows, not sterling and gold (fashion jewelry doesn’t count). Break out the No-Doz.

George spent quite a bit of time crowing about Isaac Mizrahi joining the QVC family, but offered no numbers on how well the designer’s extensive line of products have sold.

“Compelling exclusive content is powering our business,” he said, calling the debut of the Mizrahi line as “one of the biggest brand launches in our history.”

QVC also premiered Godiva chocolate, NARS cosmetics, Stephen Dweck diamonds and fashions by celebrity styliest Rachel Zoe in the fourth quarter, said George, who boasted that the channel in its history had never had the level of publicity and buzz it got in the final quarter.

Veteran brands on QVC — B. Makowsky, Rachael Ray, Philosophy, Bobbi Brown and Dennis Basso in fashion — performed well in the quarter, according to George.

Some 720,000 new customers joined QVC in the fourth quarter (which we presume means they made purchases), a 22 percent increase in the number of new customers a year ago. Revenue from new customers was up 53 percent from last year.

“At any given point in time we have 10 non-customers watching QVC for every customer watching QVC,” George said. “So when we get it just right, and get the right kind of products that have high appeal to new names, as we did in Q4, you can really get explosive growth without any additional advertising or other support, just by people coming by the channel.”

He also attributed some of QVC’s fourth-quarter success to the more favorable channel position it now has on DirecTV and Dish Network, and the fact that the network’s HDTV channel is now in more than 25 million homes.

In December QVC launched an iPhone application that’s been downloaded by 115,000 customers in a little over two months, George said.

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.