Joy Mangano, creator of such legendary products as the Miracle Mop and Huggable Hangers, has revolutionized not only people’s lives, but — as a mainstay on HSN and other shopping networks since the early days — has also revolutionized the electronic retailing industry. Can she do it again with some new products she is selling on HSN in time for Christmas? We talked with the woman who is an endless font of creativity and energy to find out:
So, can you tell us about your new product?
Joy Mangano: On Sunday, Dec. 10, [I am introducing] a brand-new item in the fashion-accessory world. Actually, two items. I really am not at liberty to say [what they are]. It’s a patent-pending item I have designed. We are quite excited! The sale starts at midnight [on HSN]. They will air throughout the day, and there will be other new products as well. These debuts will be exclusive to HSN; you can’t go to the stores and get them.
Why did you get into — and why do you stay in — the TV sales network world?
This TV sales world — what it is today is so different than whatever existed 20 years ago. It is a beautiful platform for somebody like me to bring quality items at great value for customers, because it’s directly from me to the customer. I can demonstrate the products. This was a perfect marriage for me. [Customers] understand [products] because I really have an opportunity to discuss the features and benefits.
It was [also] very important for me to be a credible entity in this infomercial world. My single most important goal is to make sure that the customer, when they receive that product, it meets all their expectations and even goes further.
I’ve been on HSN for over six years now. I’ve been selling on TV for about 15 years. In the course of that time, I’ve sold over a half billion dollars worth of products!
What’s it like interacting with callers when you are on-air?
I happen to love people. When people call you never know what’s going to happen. It’s just an amazing phenomenon. I’m very passionate about what I do, and they really feel that. The best part of everything is to really hear their reactions in how what I’ve done has helped somebody in some small way.
What’s the first product you created?
I’ve been an inventor since I was a young girl. I watch life in a product way. I’m about inventions that make life easier for everybody. If you don’t count a toaster that I blew out [laughs], really the first thing that I tried to design was when I was about 16 and working in an animal hospital. The thing that was most common was animals getting hit by cars. I said, “There’s got to be a way to protect the animals with something the person would feel is almost mandatory to put on the animal.” So I designed this fluorescent flea collar, but being 16 didn’t have the full resources. A year later, a major pet company came out with the first fluorescent flea collar ever! And that’s when I said, “Someday I’m going to follow through with one of my designs.”
And when that day came?
I’m like anybody else who has a great idea. I had the fortitude and necessity to follow through with it. I was a mom with three young children. My first invention, that launched an electronic retailing market, was the Miracle Mop. It actually created a whole new category in the sweeper industry. There never was such a thing as a self-wringing mop, so it was a little bit of a history maker for me. I was an item that was just an amazing phenomenon.
How can people with ideas like yours translate them into actuality?
I think a company like HSN is always looking for new products and new ideas. I tell people to come to HSN and show us your new product. W ho would say no to a great new product?
Has there ever been anything you’ve seen that made you wish you had invented it?
[More] time is what I would like to invent! [laughs]