Archive for the ‘Home Shopping’ 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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Actress Kate Walsh, Touting Her HSN Perfume, And Ellen DeGeneres Sniff Bare-Chested Men Looking For ‘Boyfriend’

November 10, 2010

Show us four young shirtless men with impeccable pecs, being nuzzled on the chest by Ellen DeGeneres and actress Kate Walsh, and you’ve got our attention. We likey, as Carrie Bradshaw would say. And that’s what happened Tuesday afternoon.

Flame-haired Walsh appeared on “Ellen” to flog her new fragrance for women, Boyfriend, which will debut on HSN later this month.

Kate Walsh by Roberto D'Este

Walsh, who made her name on “Grey’s Anatomy” as Dr. McDreamy’s wife and is now stars on “Private Practice,” had a tough act to follow on “Ellen.” The perky, usually hilarious blonde comedian had just finished interviewing super star Madonna by satellite, with Madge making a poignant plea against the bullying of young gay people.

The tone of the talk show got a lot lighter when Walsh, who just turned 43, came on. Walsh is utterly likeable and charming, and we predict she will be well-received by HSN shoppers.

The Boyfriend Kit

She told Ellen that she came up with the idea for Boyfriend after she had broken up with a boyfriend, and missed his scent. Ellen showed one of the promos that Walsh shot for HSN, which shows her bouncing up and down on her own bed in her bedroom. The cat in the spot, by the way, is not really Walsh’s pet feline.

Then Ellen arranged a test for Walsh, which gets back to the shirtless beefcake. Ellen made Walsh smell each one of the guys to see if she would recognize which one was wearing her fragrance, Boyfriend. Ellen also did some sniffing.

And Walsh did well, correctly stating that studmuffin No. 3 was wearing Boyfriend.

Ellen had “The Boyfriend Kit” fragrance grouping, which HSN will be selling, on the set of her show.

At the end of the segment, Ellen finally mentioned that Boyfriend will launch on HSN, and that everyone in her studio audience would be getting the new perfume.

Actually, we’d rather get one of the guys.

Will HSN’s Chaco Canyon Malachite Cuff Open Your Heart Chakra?

November 8, 2010

HSN's TS

Sunday we wore our Jay King malachite waterfall necklace and a malachite and silver Navaho cuff we bought in Sedona years ago. And at midnight, by happenstance, HSN’s Today’s Special was a malachite and silver bracelet from Chaco Canyon.

We collected quite a bit of malachite — with its deep green striations — about 10 years ago, and then all of a sudden it disappeared from the market. But it’s been back bigtime this year, which is when we picked up our Mine Find’s piece. We also bought a ring with a huge square malachite cabachone at TJ Maxx for some ridiculously cheap price.

The Navaho-made TS is $199, which we found a bit pricey, even though the cuff has a large malachite oval cab.

But we did love the matching ring, which was really long and thin, very finger flattering.

Our Jay King necklace

The folklore on malachite is that it clears and balances the heart chakra, brings good fortune and prosperity, and protects you when you travel. No wonder we were wearing it!

We always enjoy watching Chaco Canyon’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Juan (not sure of spelling of her last name), who explains exactly which Navaho silversmith did each HSN piece.

Home Shopping Network QVC’s Revenue Increased 7 Percent, To $1.2 Billion, In Third Quarter

November 5, 2010

QVC’s domestic revenue rose 7 percent in the third quarter, to $1.2 billion, as its product mix continued to show steady growth in accessories, apparel and home and a decline in jewelry sales, the home shopping network’s parent reported Friday.

“We continue to leverage our programming assets through the launch of second channels in both Germany and the UK and the iPad app in the US,” QVC president and CEO Mike George said in a prepared statement. “Our pop-up store and studio in Rockefeller Center for Fashion’s Night Out generated positive press attention but more importantly engaged our customers through our live broadcasts, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and QVC.com.”

Earlier in the week HSN posted a 6 percent gain in third-quarter sales.

QVC’s domestic adjusted OIBDA increased 8 percent to $261 million compared to the third quarter 2009, according to its parent, John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. The average selling price increased 2 percent from $47.52 to $48.30 while total units sold increased 5 percent to 26.2 million.

Returns as a percent of gross product revenue decreased from 19.3 percent to 18.8 percent. QVC.com sales as a percentage of omestic sales grew from 28 percent in the third quarter last year to 31 percent this year.

The domestic adjusted OIBDA margin increased 22 basis points to 22.4 percent for the quarter primarily due to a lower inventory obsolescence provision as well as more efficient customer service operations partially offset by increased fixed costs primarily due to the non-recurrence of favorable franchise and sales tax audit settlements recorded in the prior-year period.

Overall, the domestic adjusted OIBDA results were negatively impacted by $5 million due to QVC’s new credit card agreement with GE Money Bank, which was effective Aug. 2. QVC entered into a new agreement with GE Money Bank, who provides revolving credit directly to QVC customers solely for the purchase of merchandise from QVC. Under the new agreement QVC receives a portion of the economics from the credit card program according to percentages that vary with the performance of the portfolio.

QVC also recovered its noninterest bearing cash deposit maintained in connection with the prior arrangement in the amount of $501 million. During the third quarter, QVC entered into a new bank credit agreement which provides for a $2 billion revolving credit facility and reduced bank borrowings by $745 million, lowering QVC’s leverage ratio below 2:1.

QVC’s consolidated revenue, which includes domestic and international sales, increased 7 percent in the third quarter to $1.8 billion; adjusted OIBDA increased 8 percent to $369 million and operating income increased 13 percent to $235 million.

“Every QVC market generated strong revenue growth in local currency, increased adjusted OIBDA margins and attracted more new customers in the third quarter,” George said. “Our consolidated adjusted OIBDA margin, excluding our start-up operations related to Italy and the negative impact of our new QCard arrangement, improved 105 basis points from a strong adjusted OIBDA margin last year. QVC expanded its global footprint through the successful launch of QVC Italy on October 1st.”

QVC’s international revenue increased 6 percent in the third quarter to $604 million from $569 million including the impact of unfavorable exchange rates in the United Kingdom and Germany and favorable exchange rates in Japan.

International adjusted OIBDA increased 9 percetn to $108 million and adjusted OIBDA margin increased 48 basis points for the quarter. The increase in the adjusted OIBDA margin was primarily due to the increased gross product margin in Germany, partially offset by $9 million of costs related to the Oct. 1 launch of QVC Italy service.

Excluding the effect of exchange rates, QVC’s international revenue and adjusted OIBDA both grew 8 percent. International djusted OIBDA increased 17 percent, excluding the effect of exchange rates and start up costs related to QVC Italy.

My Big Bad: Miss Tina Is Now At Walmart, Not Kmart

November 5, 2010

We apologize for getting our “marts” mixed up.

As our vigilant and astute readers quickly noted, Beyonce’s mom Tina Knowles, a former HSN vendor, has launched a clothing line at Walmart, not Kmart as we incorrectly posted late last night.

Our only excuse is too much work in the wee hous when we are tired.

Sorry guys, and thanks for correcting me ASAP.

Beyonce’s Mom Miss Tina, A Former HSN Vendor, Has Landed At Kmart

November 5, 2010

Sorry we’re a month late on this folks, but former HSN vendor Tina Knowles has landed at Kmart.

Knowles, the stylish mother of pop superstar Beyonce, is doing a clothing line for Kmart called Miss Tina for Kmart. The blog Posh On a Budget reported the news in October, when the line debuted.

Miss Tina is now at Kmart

Knowles, co-founder of the House of Dereon, had a line on HSN, Miss Tina by Tina Knowles, that included apparel and accessories. But earlier this year it suddenly disappeared, along with another African-American HSN vendor, Terry Lewis.

HSN CEO Mindy Grossman’s strategy has been to bring name-brand clothing and designers to the home shopping network, and that lead to an exodus of HSN vendors, including Suzanne Somers.

Looking on Knowles, you can see where Beyonce gets her style and class from.

The Miss Tina Kmart line has a lot of soft, drapey knit blouses, which we love, at prices that are just silly, like $15. Everything is under $20 in the collection of 30 pieces. We just may have to venture into our local Kmart to check them out.

QVC Vendor And Reality TV Tyrant Gordon Ramsay Makes Page Six Again

November 4, 2010

Last time we wrote about one of QVC’s newest vendors, potty-mouthed chef and reality TV star Gordon Ramsay, we got reamed for our remarks. Well, here it goes again.

Ramsay was back on the New York Post’s Page Six Thursday, with news that a British bank had filed a lien against his home. Seems that the Royal Bank of Scotland had loaned Ramsay $15 million to rescue his faltering restaurant empire, and the house was collateral.

Ramsay’s camp told Page Six that the lien only means that the bank wants notice if the chef tries to put the home on the market. Ramsay’s mouthpiece also said that he only owes roughly $6 million to the bank.

The sandy-haired chef’s restaurant empire has been trimmed in recent years, as he closed or sold off some of his high-end eateries.

Diva Mariah Carey’s Perfume Is Already Selling Out On HSN.com

November 2, 2010

M By Mariah is almost sold out

Pop diva Mariah Carey is coming to HSN the end of the month, but her fragrance collection is already on HSN.com. And some of the items are already almost sold out.

For example, her signature perfume, M By Mariah, is almost gone. It’s got the aromas of Tahitian Tiare flower and wet gardenia petals and amber infused with spicy Moroccan incense.

In a more girly vein are her Lollipop fragrances. Why the lollipop?

According to HSN.com, “Ribbon is from an irresistible candy-inspired collection of three mouthwatering fragrances. This selection was inspired by Mariah’s unforgettable marriage proposal – her engagment ring was hidden inside a lollipop candy wrapper!”

Wow, we’d start eating lollipops if we thought we’d find an engagement ring in one! The “bling ribbon” version is a “mouthwatering floral fruity inspired by the blue raspberry lollipop,” with top notes of raspberries, honeydew and cucumber pulp; mid notes of hydrangea, blue lotus and jasmine dew; and base notes of liquid musks, white woods and sugar crystals.

At $250, it's almost sold out

And the top of the line is Carey’s $250 bottle of Mariah Carey Forever, which is described as “radiant, glamorous and mesmerizing….a sophisticated combination of opulent floral notes that convey a powerful message of feminine sensuality. True to Mariah Carey, Forever is a harmony reminiscent of classic Hollywood allure for a timeless interpretation of glamour.”

Even at that big pricetag, it’s almost sold out, too.

It should come as no surprise that most of Carey’s fragrance bottles are all topped by her favorite icon, the butterfly.

Former HSN Fashion Designer Terry Lewis’s Fans Are Clamoring To Find Her Clothes

November 1, 2010

Ex-HSN clothing designer Terry Lewis is gone from the network but not forgotten. Her former customers at the home shopping channel are clamoring for her to continue her Classic Luxuries line, which included a lot of reasonably priced and gorgeous leather jackets, coats and pants.

We have two of her leather coats and two pairs of her leather pants (yes, we still rock leather pants and wear our hair long, like Dominique Browning) in our closet.

HSN customers have bombarded Lewis’s Facebook page, asking where they can restock their wardrobes with her clothes.

“Terry where can we buy your fabulous goods now?” one woman posted on Facebook.

“Terry, whats going on, I need my new fall/winter coats,” wrote another. “Where can I buy? Where are you, Girl? Whats a girl to do this winter???? Urghhhh.”

Added another, “Where are you now that you are no longer on HSN… I was looking forward to purchasing a cool jacket.”

We own a pair Terry's leather pants like these, but in black

But these folks haven’t gotten any answers from Lewis. We didn’t, either, when we first contacted her in September.

Our blog about her joining the parade of vendors leaving HSN has more than 50 comments on it from her enraged fans.

“This is shocking, and sad!,” one woman posted on our blog. “I have literally dozens of her coats and accessories, jeans, sweaters…and I’m always ready to buy more. What is going on with HSN? ‘The Liza Minnelli’ collection? Really? I hope Terry Lewis will show up with her beautiful fashions at another venue–I’ll be right there with her.”

Another Lewis fan wrote, “HSN seems to have forgotten about ‘ Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver but the other’s gold.’ Terry Lewis is solid gold and I’m not talking technibond. I am sad to see The New Direction. It is as if the designers and the customers who got HSN off the ground are being shown the door. Not so warm and fuzzy. Hope that HSN can strike a balance between the established vendors and the newer ones. Oh well, life in the big city, I guess. Thanks Terry, Maggie and Storybook.”

Another chimed in, “Like many others i too would like to know what happened to terry lewis. i have more than a hundred of her items, she is a fantastic designer and her clothes are classic and thats really what fashion saavy customers like about her designs. i feel hsn has made a big mistake getting rid of her. new designer like curations have nothing like the quality of terry’s fashions. curation item are cheaply made and too expensive.”

And another, “I just called HSN and was told that Terri was no longer there. I was all set to buy 2 leather jackets. I’m done with HSN. Terri took that network to another level. They are going to regret this one because this decison is definitely going to lose customers for them.”

Well, you get the idea.

Lewis, who is actually a former HSN host, was one of the vendors that exited as part of the regime of HSN CEO Mindy Grossman, who was looking to add brand names to her network.

HSN Host Colleen Lopez, Designer Wayne Scot Lukas Share An Order Of Fries At Fred’s: Next Time Invite Us

October 31, 2010

Wayne Scot Lukas

Here’s a Halloween surprise.

Designer/celebrity stylist Wayne Scot Lukas tipped off his Facebook fans Sunday that some of his leftover merchandise on ShopNBC has popped up on clearance at prices that are a steal.

That includes a Lukastyle techno suede jacket for $43 and a twist top, which we really like, for 15 clams.

Lukas, who was a fixture on HSN before moving briefly to ShopNBC, was hanging with HSN host Colleen Lopez recently in the Big Apple. Jersey native Lukas posted some photos of him with the luscious French fries, our favorite, they were chowing down on at Fred’s in Barneys in Manhattan.

Barney’s is so pricey that we hyperventilate every time we walk in there: We can’t even afford a shopping bag in that joint.

Lukas, who stood us up when we tried to stop by and see him in Monmouth (no worries, Wayne) a few months ago, said that Colleen was good and only had two fries. We guess she does not want to add any girth to that great skinny-minny figure she has now.

The chance of us only eating two French fries at a meal is one in a million: Colleen obviously has more willpower than us.

Lukas, by the way, has found a new home at QVC and is doing collections for several of the home shopping channel’s European networks, including QVC UK.