Posts Tagged ‘The Wall Street Journal’

Will Your Too-Frank Obituary Mention QVC?

April 14, 2017

Is being a QVC customer an “endearing foible”? It is according to The Wall Street Journal.

The broadsheet on Thursday in its so-called “A-Hed,” or Page One feature story, wrote about how obituaries today are not depicting the deceased as angels when they were alive.

The top of the story talks about the obit that was written about an Oregon plant manager, Wayne Brockey, by his grandson.

The Journal wrote that the obit “opens by alluding to the deceased’s penchant for ordering gadgets and clothing touted by TV pitchmen: ‘QVC lost a loyal customer on Sept. 28, 2016.'”

And??????????? Is that a crime?

The story goes on to quote Brockey’s grandson, who penned the obit, as saying that his family always joked a lot.

“So it made sense to mention his grandfather’s endearing foibles,” according to the Journal, i.e. shopping at QVC.

Actually, labeling someone as a QVC fan isn’t the worse thing that people are writing about the dead these days, as the headline of the Journal story indicates: “Haze the Dead! Obit Writers Tell It Like It Was, Warts and All.”

Here are some of the other descriptions that obit writers are using about the dead: “old grump,” “demanding old fart,” and “sore loser.”

Yikes! What happened  to not speaking ill of the dead?







The Life Of The Rich And Famous Bruce Makowsky, Handbag Mogul

January 10, 2015

At one time it seemed that QVC had become B. Makowsky handbags all the time. Not so much anymore, but don’t feel sorry for Bruce.

The Wall Street Journal did a story Friday about Makowsky’s hood, which is the gated community of Beverly Park. The paper describes it as “one of the most exclusive, expensive places in Los Angeles, a land of exclusive, expensive places.”

There article describes Makowsky as a “handbag mogul and real-estate developer,” and has a photo of one of his palatial houses, which is described as an investment property.

He paid $13.45 million for it and is selling it for $25 million.

But wait, Makowsky has a second home in Beverly Park, one he actually lives in. It’s a Tuscan-style place.

Here is what he told The Journal about that cozy shack:

I could afford to live anywhere I want,” says Mr. Makowsky, who paid $22.6 million for his nine-bedroom, 15-bathroom home in 2010, according to public records. “This is a little slice of heaven.” He estimates his property, which he’s extensively renovated, is worth $100 million today.

So who else lives in this LA neighborhood? Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Sylvester Stallone and Mark Wahlberg, to name a few folks.

How QVC Says It’s Cutting Down On Returns

December 26, 2013

Belated Merry Christmas, folks! HSN is doing 24 hours of jewelry clearance today, which is tempting even for those of us who rang up our charge cards shopping for the holidays.

We were so busy it has taken us a few days to blog about a Wall Street Journal story earlier this week, one where QVC stuck its two cents in.

The Journal article, “Rampant Returns Plague E-Retailers,” described how online retailers are using their data on orders to try to cut down on returns. As many of us know from personal experience, one way that QVC and other home shopping networks try to reduce returns is by threatening to cut off shoppers who return too much merchandise, despite the channels’ 30-day-unconditional return policies.

QVC didn’t talk about that little fact in the story.

Instead, the No. 1 home shopping channel told The Journal that in some cases it is emailing customers after they get their products to explain how to put them together and use them. QVC’s return rate has been on the rise. The article said that QVC’s returns bumped up to 19.4 percent of gross product revenue last year from 18.9 percent in 2010.

The Journal said that QVC recently “began sending customers post-purchase emails with instructional videos on, say, how to put a vacuum cleaner together or the best ways to style a scarf.”

The story goes on to report that when the home shopping network noticed a high return rate for the $295 Nu-FACE Trinity face-toning device, it sent customers an email with a video on how to use the item.

Returns on QVC’s version of ShopHQ vendor Suzanne Somers’ FaceMaster plummeted 30 percent, eliminating returns of an estimated $55,000 worth of product, according to The Journal.

We still find that a more interesting story would have been on the “you-return-too-much-you-can’t-shop-anymore-with-us” strategy of home shopping nets.

The History Of QVC Butt Slimmer Spanx and Sara Blakely

October 13, 2013

SPANXDo you have an idea that you think is great, and others think is nutty? Go for it.

At least that seems to be the lesson to be learned from Sara Blakely, the former FAX-machine saleswoman who invented Spanx. This modern shapewear has made Blakely a multimillionaire, with her company having an estimated market value of $1 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal did a profile of Blakely Saturday, and it is fun reading.

Blakely, the 42-year-old sole owner of her company, came up with the forerunner of Spanx when she didn’t like the way of pair of pants were fitting her. She improvised by cutting the feet off a pair of pantyhose and putting them on, smoothing out her silhouette.

Blakely faced rejection after rejection when she tried to find a hosiery mill that would manufacture her new kind of updated girdle, The Journal wrote. But she persisted, she found one, and the rest is history.

The article talks about how Spanx took off after Oprah Winfrey named them one of her favorite things in 2000. In 2001, according to the story, Blakely started hawking Spanx on QVC, and hit sales of $8 million that year.

We had to laugh when we read that Blakely’s brother considers Spanx “false advertising” for making chicks look skinnier than they actually are.

Hell, as The Journal noted, actress Gwyneth Paltrow once admitted that she wore two pairs of Spanx at once. Hard to believe.

We have a pair, by the way.

HSN Peeps: Do You Make $69,000 A Year?

July 5, 2013

HSN CEO Mindy Grossman got a nice plug in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, which chronicled how the home shopping network has boosted its business through mobile devices.

Mindy Grossman

Mindy Grossman

The article, with the headline “HSN Enjoys A Mobile-Shopping Rebirth in the Digital Era,” reports that more than half of the network’s new sales come in through mobile phones. And accounted for half of HSN’s sales last year.

But we found several tidbits in the story more interesting than that stuff. It pointed out that when Grossman was at Nike Inc., she wore high heels every day to work at the sneaker giant.

According to the WSJ, HSN’s average customer is a female 25 to 54 with an average annual income of $69,000. Wow!

The story also noted that in her office in St. Pete, Grossman has six TV’s, tuned to HSN, QVC, and a stream of current sales data for HSN.

Wall Street Journal Calls QVC John Malone’s ‘Bargain’

October 28, 2011

QVC got a valentine from The wall Street Journal Thursday.

A story in the “Heard on the Street” section, headlined “Chasing Liberty’s QVC Bargain,” lauded the home shopping network’s financials.

“It’s hard to age gracefully on television,” the lede of the story said. “But home-shopping networks are poised to become classics.”

The article noted that while brick-and-mortar retailers such as Wal-Mart are seeing sales declines, QVC has rebounded. Although its revenue dropped 6 percent in 2008, QVC is now posting single single-digit increases, according to The Journal.

The story also said that QVC’s core shoppers are women 35-to-64, not the demo that typically cuts its cable service.

The No. 1 home shopping network, part of cable cowboy John Malone’s Liberty Interactive, also boasts high margins.

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.

HSN Jewelry Designer Carol Brodie Offers Her Tips In The Wall Street Journal

October 28, 2010

Jewelry designer Carol Brodie, who does the Rarities line for HSN, offers advice on how to organize jewelry in The Wall Street Journal, of all places, Thursday.

In a story headlined “Jewelry-Box Surprise: Wearing Old Pieces in New Ways,” we learn that Brodie has been collecting jewelry since she was seven, and that she now owns more than 500 pieces.

HSN's Carol Brodie makes The Wall Street Journal

Brodie changes out her jewelry for the each new season, and cleans her pieces by soaking them in water with some Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and ammonia. She then wipes then off with a cotton T-shirt. We’ll have to try that for our stuff.

The tall blonde beauty loves to mix and match her pieces.

Brodie is quite careful about how she stores her jewelry, and like us, she displays favorite necklaces and bracelets. She uses acrylic holders from the Container Store, we bought our metal stands from Urban Outfitters and TJ Maxx.

Brodie posted the story on Facebook Wednesday night.

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.

QVC In-House Designer Isaac Mizrahi’s Rising Star Was Tarnished By Flop At Liz Claiborne, Wall Street Journal Reports

August 16, 2010

QVC has been boasting about Liz Claiborne’s line coming to the network, and keeps extolling the designer it brought over from there. But maybe it shouldn’t be, if you believe a Page One story in The Wall Street Journal Monday

Headlined “Targeting Younger Buyers, Liz Claiborne Hits A Snag,” the piece chronicles the missteps of Liz Claiborne CEO William McComb. Once the top vendor in U.S. department stores, as of this month Liz Claiborne will now only be available at JC Penney and QVC after a falling out with its top client, Macy’s.

We wrote about this deal when it was announced last year. Ironically, The Journal doesn’t even mention the QVC part of the pact.

And the story is rather damning when it comes to Mizrahi, who is now QVC’s in-house lifestyle designer, doing everything from clothes to accessories to housewares and bedding.

The Journal blames Mizrahi with putting the final nail in the coffin of McComb’s and Liz Claiborne’s rocky relationship with its most important customer, Macy’s.

“In an effort to attract a younger audience, Mr. McComb decided to focus on the company’s contemporary brands with the most potential, including Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Lucky Brand Jeans and Mexx,” The Journal wrote.

“But he made a series of strategic blunders including hiring a star designer, Isaac Mizrahi, at a hefty salary and veering away from the Liz Claiborne brand’s trademark career apparel. He sold, discontinued or licensed several boomer brands—including Ellen Tracy, Dana Buchman and Sigrid Olsen—that weren’t performing well but represented major sales volume.”

A Columbia Business school prof tells the financial broadsheet that this realignment was “a disaster waiting to happen.”

McComb hired Mizrahi away from Target in 2008 as part of his effort to relanch the Liz Claiborne Line.

Mizrahi got a nice package, The Journal reported: a five-year contract worth $6 million a year; his entire 25-person design team came with him; and Claiborne agreed to foot the bill for fashion shows for Mizrahi’s personal high-end brand for roughly $1 million a season.

Macy’s executives expressed concern that Mizrahi’s funky designs wouldn’t appeal to Liz Claiborne’s core customers, working women, and it was right.

“Mr. Mizrahi’s designs hit stores in January 2009, generating media buzz and positive reviews from fashion critics,” The Journal wrote. “Michelle Obama was photographed in one of his outfits and Vogue ran a profile of Mr. Mizrahi.”

But the line flopped, shunned by Claiborne’s regular customers and hindered by the recession.

Macy’s dumped the line, and last October McComb announced Liz Claiborne’s exclusive deal with QVC and JC Penney, as well as Mizrahi’s move to QVC.

Mizrahi declined to comment for The Journal piece.

As we’ve said before, we loved Mizrahi’s Target clothes. At QVC, he’s lost his mojo. He really disappointed us.