Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A few more words

Wherein can someone hook us up with Oprah? Because that would be cool.

Previous mentions have verged on the cryptic. This might not be much better, though I think it is an interesting look into a part of the QVC business process.

The Wife is a very creative person with a variety of creative outlets. This has manifested itself in numerous ways, including some commercial. More recently, she has taken it upon herself to design a new product (let's just say it's some form of accessory). The short term has been working towards art shops and boutiques, along with a few high-end arts and crafts shows. A website and store are planned and manufacturing is being lined up. Long term is global domination.

A number of people have told The Wife this would be perfect for QVC. So, in March, when she found out QVC was holding a product search for women entrepreneurs, she submitted a product description. The purpose of the search being that QVC will select a number of creators and their products, and give them each 4 minutes of air time during a special show later in the year. QVC accepted the description and an appointment was scheduled. All that was guaranteed was a 10 minute presentation with a QVC representative and a number of free business seminars were also offered. Consider this a cattle call for new products. We had enough frequent flier points for a free trip, so, why not? Off she flew.

At the appointed time The Wife queued up with the other hopefuls and waited to be directed to one of sixteen tables in the middle of a warehouse. She estimated that QVC reviewed a minimum of 300 products over two days. The Wife met with two buyers who seemed interested and feedback was positive. Well, that was fun, what now?. After The Wife's presentation she went off to the side and chatted with some other presenters. Her buyers stepped away from the demo table and continued to talk and make notes. Soon they were joined by two more QVC persons. More talking, more notes. Then one of the new women approached The Wife and asked for a product demo. Such was given and, again, feedback seemed positive. The Wife was then asked if she could come back later in the day to meet with some product developers. Oh, if you insist.

Product developer meeting also went well. Ideas were tossed about, objections were met and answered. Overall impression is that QVC likes both the product and The Wife. A few wrinkles to be worked on—and most of those were already in the plan to be dealt with—but it seems the product is maybe 80% of the way there for QVC's purposes and the wrinkles are easy to overcome.

What's the next step? Later in May, QVC emails all participants with the "level of interest." Either "thanks for coming, good luck" or "come on back and let's discuss this some more." Even if QVC is interested, there are a number of steps involved before getting to the studio and either QVC or the product person may bail. We were told that a number of people get further along before declining as QVC requires that you give them $20,000-$25,000 (wholesale) worth of product by air time and QVC only pays for items sold. If you make $20,000 worth of doohickies and only sell $50 during your time, QVC ships back all $19,950 worth of doohickies. Very small risk to QVC. They obviously work very hard to air products they think will sell, but they're not the ones holding the bag if you and they have overestimated the public interest. That's a you problem.

We feel pretty good about The Wife's chances for another discussion. Better than even. And if it turns out we were overconfident (it is a bit like a lottery), the feedback has been very helpful. We'll continue as planned and appreciate the experience.


Blogger Ahistoricality said...

It's a bit like speed dating, followed by a "casual lunch"....

4/26/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...


4/26/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger reader_iam said...

If you let me know when she airs, if she does, I'll will break a vow of beaucoup years standing and watch ... .

If you knew me in IRL, you would know that this is a REALLY, REALLY big deal.

And congrats and good luck to your DW.

4/28/2006 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Trust me, if this works out we will be making a lot of noise.

4/28/2006 11:09:00 PM  

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