Get an inside look at the TV-shopping giant and how you can get your product in front of millions.
Over the past 15 years, TV shopping networks have exploded onto the retail scene, offering viewers an interactive shopping experience without ever having to leave their living rooms. It’s proven to an extremely successful formula, creating loyal, consistent customers (who are primarily female). Who relish the products and the experience. In fact, QVC considered by some measures to the second-largest TV network in the country, with millions of daily viewers tuning in and making purchases. QVC has also been a great boon to entrepreneurs. Who can achieve extremely high exposure in a short period of time–even for new products.
So how do you get your product onto the promised land of QVC? And what are the pros and cons? I recently entered the QVC world with one of our Mom Invented products. Good Bites Crustless Sandwich Cutters–and I’d like to share my experience to help entrepreneurs. Who might interested in pursuing a similar path.
QVC is always on the lookout for new, innovative products. And the company is supportive of entrepreneurs–especially female ones. In fact, right now, QVC is offering a program tailored specifically to women entrepreneurs. Sponsored in conjunction with OPEN from American Express and Count Me In, the Make Mine a $Million Business program designed to help women grow their sales by offering a combination of money, marketing and mentoring opportunities. It consists of three separate product searches and educational seminars. All whose goal is to help women surpass the $1 million sales mark in their businesses.
Of course, not every product suits the network’s format or marketplace, so here are some questions to ask yourself to help determine if your product is the right fit:
- Does it demonstrate well?
- Does it solve a problem or make life easier?
- Is it topical or timely?
- Does it have unique features and benefits?
- Does it appeal to a mass audience (as opposed to a niche)?
If you think you’ve got a fit, there are a few ways to approach QVC. Each of them is relatively simple, so it’s definitely worth a try–especially because QVC’s base target sales rate is in the range of $6,000 per minute, well worth the effort if your product is chosen.
The first way to approach QVC involves visiting the website . There you’ll find information on making an appointment with a QVC buyer to present your product. In addition to hosting appointments at their headquarters in West Chester, Pennsylvania, QVC also hosts regional appointments in various cities around the country for which you can apply (see site for details). If it’s not convenient to attend one of these regional meetings, you can start the process by simply applying online–you’ll surprised how quick and straightforward the application process is.
My experience with QVC began when I submitted my first product, the TP Saver, for their review a few years back. When they e-mailed me that they were interested and invited me to present my product, I elated! Due to my naiveté as a new inventor, I arrived feeling quite special, only to find 2,800 other “special” inventors also waiting in line to present their products!
Fortunately, QVC is a well-oiled machine, and while I thought the cattle call experience would be frustrating. But the staff members treated each of us as if we were the only one in the room. I presented the TP Saver to a buyer and she liked the product, but it didn’t meet their criteria for price (the preferred minimum unit price for QVC is in the $15 range and the retail price for the TP Saver is just $5.99). Although I chosen this first time out, I persisted and have since had multiple appearances on QVC with products that did meet their specific criteria.
Another inroad to getting on QVC is to approach the category buyer for your product directly. To do this, it’ll help to become familiar with their programming. On thing QVC does is create special program themes like “beauty” or “kitchen essentials.” Watch for special programming in which your product might fit, and use it as leverage when presenting your product.
Tarte Power Flex Concealer w/ Brush
From tarte, this stretchy-pants-of-concealer delivers weightless, full coverage with the appearance of a natural-looking matte finish!
Power Flex Concealer features HydroFlex technology. The 16-hour long-wear and 16-hour crease-proof formula blurs and brightens the appearance of dark under-eye circles while feeling like an eye cream with 24-hour hydration. Power Flex Concealer is vegan, waterproof, sweat-proof, and dermatologist-tested.
In a consumer perception survey, of participants who used the product once, immediately:
— 100% agreed the concealer did not crease
— 100% agreed the concealer covered dark under-eye circles and blurred the appearance of imperfections
— 97% agreed the concealer made the under-eye area look smoother, blurred the appearance of pores, and improved the appearance of fine lines
— 100% agreed the concealer feels lightweight
–97% agreed the concealer did not look cakey, did not settle into fine lines, and did not make skin look dry
How do I use it: Swipe the formula directly onto under-eye area using the plush applicator. Apply to dark spots, redness, and blemishes. Blend out with the Power Flexer brush or fingers. Pair with HydroFlex Serum Foundation (not included) for a full face of flawless.
- 0.33-fl oz SEA Power Flex Antioxidant Concealer
- SEA Power Flexer brush
tarte Amazonian Clay 16-Hr Full Coverage Foundation with Brush
Amazonian Clay 16-hour Foundation is an instant full-coverage foundation that glides on like silk with a featherlight, whipped mousse texture. It buffs out flawlessly, and covers dark spots, redness, and all imperfections. It smooths over the appearance of pores and fine lines for a natural, skin-like looking finish. It’s Amazonian clay-infused so your skin looks smooth, even, and hydrated.
In a consumer perception study:
-100% agree it reduces the look of pores and fine lines
-100% agree their skin looks smooth and flawless, not cakey
How do I use it: Squeeze a dime-sized amount onto your hand. Pick up a small amount using the buffer airbrush finish bamboo foundation brush. Sweep onto skin in light, circular motions, starting at the center of the face and blending outward.
- 1.7-fl oz Amazonian Clay 16-Hr Full-Coverage Foundation
- The Buffer Airbrush Finish bamboo foundation brush
LOGO Layers by Lori Goldstein Watercolor Printed Mesh Cardigan
Ready to shed those heavy layers (along with the winter blues)? We’re here for it! Feeling so right for spring, this fresh take on a warmer-weather cardigan comes straight from the queen-of-layering herself — Lori Goldstein.
Fashioned in a slightly sheer (but not quite see-through) mesh, this super-soft and lightweight layer *pops* with a delightfully playful watercolor print, begging winter to take a hike (buh-bye brrr) and delivering a burst of spring straight to our closet door (knock knock).
Next steps: Take on those transitional temps in this mesh knit marvel that partners so perfectly with tanks, lighter-weight tunics and tees, and sleeveless maxis. Now… where to wear? Spruce up your on-screen WFH sessions, in-office meet-ups, or out-and-about adventures (vacays, here we come!). This feels-like-springtime layer slays any sunny season ‘fit (and fearlessly follows you well into summer… and fall). Just don’t be tardy to this cardi party! From LOGO Layers by Lori Goldstein®.
- Fabrication: MeshKnit
- Features: allover print, round neckline, button-front closure, long sleeves, straight hemline
- Fit: semi-fitted; follows the lines of the body with added wearing ease, flares to an A-line bottom opening; fitted sleeve
- Length: missy length 25-1/2″ to 27-5/8″; plus length 28″ to 31-1/2″
- Content: 92% nylon/8% spandex
- Care: machine wash, tumble dry
Le Creuset 3.5-qt Cast Iron Round Wide Dutch Oven
Scrumptious feast on the menu? Go gourmet with Le Creuset, and get a taste of what makes this Dutch oven a must-have meal-maker.
With the versatility of a seasoned chef, the enameled cast-iron powerhouse roasts and braises fall-off-the-bone meats, and slow-cooks hearty stews. Designated dessert-maker? Try a delectable cake in this kitchen classic. It really does it all — with a smooth enamel interior that resists stains and helps provide even heat distribution to avoid hot spots that can burn your food.
You’ve been eyeing this superstar for a while, and we think now’s the perfect time to add it to your cookware lineup. Plus, this dependable Dutch oven keeps the family full and your friends fawning over every bite. So it’s really a gift to all who enter your kitchen.
From Le Creuset.
- Includes 3.5-qt round wide Dutch oven and lid with stainless steel knob
- Enamel interior resists staining; provides easy searing and clean-up
- Even heat distribution; avoids hot spots that can burn your food
- Heat retention; use lower level of heat to keep food warmer longer when removed from energy source
- Ergonomic knob and handles
- Cast-iron construction
- Compatible with all cook tops
- Dishwasher-safe; oven-safe to 500F
- Measures approximately 12.5″ x 10″ x 5″; weighs 9.1 lbs
- Hand washing recommended
- Made in France
Skechers Ultra Flex Washable Slip Ons-Flourishing View
There’s so much to see this spring in the Flourishing View slip-ons from Skechers: sunny skies, renewed paths, and yes, colorful florals (courtesy of some super-pretty heel trim). Easy to pop on, even when you’re juggling a coffee and your new handbag (thank you, Stretch Fit!), these beauties are also easy to wear alll day long (we *dream* in Skechers memory foam). They bring balance to busy, bouncing-between-appointment days and extra comfort to downtime days (like your weekend morning market stroll or trip to the botanical gardens). And do they nail that sporty-chic sneaker-and-dress look, or what?!
Field note: These Skechers are machine-washable, so feel free to skip the socks and embrace the season’s muddy patches! From Skechers.
- Style: Flourishing View
- Slip-on Stretch Fit style, engineered knit upper, floral-print trim, padded back collar
- Memory foam insole, Ultra Flex bottom
- Approximately 1″H heel
- Fit: true to size
- Textile/man-made upper
- Machine wash, air dry
Denim & Co. Regular French Terry Crystal Wash Tie-Dye T-Shirt Dress
On a quest to find an exciting, new, dressed-in-seconds go-to for spring? Well, friend, you’ve found it in this wear-love-repeat staple that can easily kick-start your sunny-weather wardrobe. (Yay, you!) Ready to rock your daily calendar, this supremely soft French terry T-shirt dress from Denim & Co.® comfortably takes you from morning donut runs to sips by the seaside in uncomplicated and ready-to-be-seen style.
Pencils up! Start filling in that schedule with all the places you’ll go, dressed in a print that pops with a subtly soft and tonal take on tie-dye (thanks to you, Crystal Wash!), guaranteed to draw in plenty of second glances. Dress it up with sky-high sandals for a night out, or keep it caszh with a simple pair of tennies for days off. Pair it with a cropped white denim jacket for a gals-night restaurant rendezvous, Sunday afternoon baby shower, or neighborly backyard barbecue (don’t worry about the ribs — this easy-care dress goes right in the wash).
With versatility as its superpower, this wear-everywhere dress earns a prime position in the front of your closet, endearing itself as that spring-to-summer (and, yep, straight into fall) staple you just can’t — or won’t — put away. From Denim & Co.®.
- Fabrication: French terry
- Features: allover tonal tie-dye pattern, scoop neckline, short set-in sleeves with a slightly longer length
- Fit: semi-fitted; follows the lines of the body with added wearing ease
- Length: missy length 37-1/2″ to 39-5/8″; plus length 40″ to 43-1/2″
- Content: 95% cotton/5% spandex
- Care: machine wash, tumble dry
Cubii JR2 Compact Seated Elliptical with Mat & Footstraps
You’re gonna want to sit down for this. The next-gen Cubii seated elliptical, Cubii JR2, is here! And because Cubii knows you multitask like a boss — whether you’re WFH-ing or bingeing your favorite shows, seated at your desk or in your comfy TV chair — they’ve designed this version to be more portable (i.e., more compact and lighter in weight than the original Cubii Jr.). Gotta love that for times when you need to move it between locations (visual variety is the spice of exercise!) or fit it under a space-limited workspace.
Imagine a fitness routine that happens while you’re answering emails, reading a book, or watching the Q (*wink*). Sounds like one you can stick with to us. According to a clinical study, a user’s energy expenditure when sitting and using Cubii for 20 minutes increases by 84.5% as compared to only sitting. (Standing for 20 minutes increases that energy expenditure by only 16.7%.) Not only that, but you’ll also be targeting specific muscle groups to help increase strength. Cubii’s elliptical motion targets the abs/core muscles, hip flexors, glutes, quads/hamstrings, and calves.
Like its predecessor, the Cubii JR2 also shows you just what you accomplished during your sesh, providing visual stats like calories burned and distance on its display monitor. And, an included mat helps keep the base still even when you’re vigorously moving (hello, eight levels of resistance!). From Cubii.
- Includes Cubii JR2 elliptical trainer, chair wheel cup anchor, workout mat, and LR44H button cell battery
- Eight levels of resistance with control knob
- LCD display monitor tracks number of strides, calories burned, time, distance, and RPM
- Under-desk design
- 30% lighter than JR1 model; 10% more compact than the JR1 model
- Use only while seated; do not stand on Cubii JR2
- Some assembly required
- Approximate measurements: Elliptical 20.7″L x 17.8″W x 8.8″H, weighs 18.9 lbs; supports up to 300 lbs
Seller Beware QVC
Of course, with anything that promises great rewards, there’s usually some risk. QVC is no exception. While the network offers an incredible opportunity to new entrepreneurs. Potential participants should also understand that they’ll assume some risk should their product chosen.
Because QVC so customer-oriented, the company must have enough inventory in stock to satisfy a very large number of potential buyers. That means you must manufacture and ship enough inventory to QVC to meet a very substantial market demand–prior to your appearance on the show. You’re then paid only if or when QVC sells your product. So if you present your product on the show and consumers aren’t interested. You’ll end up sitting on a mountain of inventory. This is important to understand going in, because it can take a large investment to prepare and deliver enough inventory to meet QVC’s potential distribution needs.
The Chosen QVC
If your product gets chosen, face the ultimate challenge–prepared and ready to convince millions of people across the country to purchase your product on the air. (And you thought convincing the QVC buyer was nerve wracking!) The following are some tips to help you make the most of your QVC experience:
- Remember that the host is on your side. The night before my first appearance on QVC, I was jittery in anticipation. It helped to remember that the host would there to help me and I wouldn’t put on the spot as I had sometimes experienced during news interviews. In this situation, we were all invested in the same outcome because my success would reflect well on the host. That said, it’s critically important to allow the host to do his or her job. Think of it as a dance–the host is leading and you are following.
- Learn to manage your airtime. A QVC guest given approximately six to seven minutes of airtime. That means you need to be able to describe your product in short, succinct points. It’s absolutely essential to practice beforehand–out loud–so your answers become automatic. You may think you know your product inside and out. But when the camera lights are on and millions of people are watching. Your body often doesn’t cooperate with your brain, and a physiological reaction sets in, causing your body to sweat and your mind to go blank. I cannot overemphasize the need to practice, practice, practice. When you get nervous, you ramble; when you ramble, you waste time–and on QVC, time is money.
- Don’t forget to have fun, be passionate and enjoy the experience. Those feelings will come across to the consumers watching you. If you look like a deer in the headlights, you won’t convey a positive, successful impression. Remember, the consumers are buying into you and your product. Presenting yourself well is part of the sell.
QVC and other shopping networks offer a truly awesome way to promote and distribute your product. And even if your product doesn’t sell at quite the level you hoped. You’ve promoted your product to millions of people–advertising you couldn’t afford any other way–who may just buy it next time they come across your product.