I Love My Job: QVC Host David Venable

Courtesy image.

Celeb foodie David Venable is convinced he’s got the greatest job in the world, and he’s probably right. Venable, who the New York Times called, “The Man Who Helps America Cook,” is the star of QVC’s “In the Kitchen With David” series that has singlehandedly transformed home shopping in the kitchenware space. If you’ve ever watched Venable in action, you’re aware he can convince your grandmother that she needs a pressure cooker or that a new $700 grill is better than the one she already has at home. In one year alone, Venable once sold more than $250 million worth of cookware, and on any given evening, the show gets thousands of phone calls from customers all across the country vying for a chance to speak with the host. And for other celebrity foodies, appearing on Venable’s show is a customary pilgrimage. Venable tells Biz Philly that his business — live TV with no teleprompters or cue cards — is all about fostering relationships and being who you are. He’s been at QVC since 1993 and shares some insight on his journey that started with broadcast journalism in the South. Venable also lets us in on his biggest fear, what he likes to cook at home and order at Wawa, and his best tip for being in front of a live camera. Read more »

Ex-QVC Exec Stole Over $1M to Fund Botox and Luxury Travel, Feds Say

A U.S. attorney just blew the lid off an intricate fraud scheme allegedly orchestrated by a former QVC director.

The ex-executive, 42-year-old James D. “Jamie” Falkowski, was charged with multiple accounts of fraud for stealing over $1 million worth of money, goods and services from the popular West Chester-based TV shopping network. And no, he didn’t use the funds to cover some aging relative’s medical bills. Instead, he dropped thousands on extravagant spa treatments, Botox appointments, first-class travel to destinations like Turks and Caicos, plus all the lavish meals and hotel stays that accompanied his faux swanky agenda.

QVC fired Falkowski in December 2013 after he had worked with the company for six years. During his stint, he also allegedly duped the company out of about $200,000 in private luxury rides for himself and friends and about $70,000 in payments to his personal vendors and creditors. That even included more than $28,000 in payments to a custom furniture maker commissioned to design two tables for his Philly pad and about $60,000 in pre-paid American Express, Tom Ford, and Barney’s New York gift cards that he used for himself. He gave at least tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of QVC products to his friends and associates by abusing the company’s product requisition process, prosecutors said in a statement.  Read more »

Longtime Rivals QVC, HSN to Merge in $2.1B Deal

No, home shopping isn’t dead, and the market’s two biggest players — and rivals — just made a deal that’ll inevitably shake things up as online shopping evolves.

On Thursday, QVC and the Home Shopping Network announced that they’ve agreed to merge. QVC parent company Liberty Interactive Corp. will purchase 62 percent of HSN in an all-stock arrangement valued at $2.1 billion. Liberty Interactive already owns 38 percent of HSN and says HSN shareholders will get 1.65 shares of QVC’s Series A stock for each share of HSN. Wednesday’s closing price values each share of HSN at $40.36, which represents a 29 percent premium for HSN shareholders.

QVC president and CEO Mike George says a lot will come out of the transaction for both companies and for the consumer. Both networks together already produce over 55,000 hours of shoppable video content. Combined they’ll become a leader in “discovery-based shopping.” George said in a statement. They’ll also “enhance the customer experience” and “accelerate innovation” by leveraging “resources and talents to further strengthen” their brands.  Read more »

QVC Laying Off 220, Shipping Jobs to Poland

QVC is laying off 220 people as it ships parts of its HR, IT, finance and legal departments to Krakow, Poland. Approximately 100 people at the company’s West Chester, Pa. campus are expected to lose their jobs. There are also 40 layoffs in the U.K., 70 in Germany and 10 in Italy.

QVC CFO Ted Jastrzebski broke the news to Pennsylvania workers on Wednesday, leading some long-time employees to get emotional, according to a source familiar with the situation. Some of the terminated employees had been with the company since its very first years in the late 1980s, the source said.

The layoffs are expected to begin no earlier than January 2017 and will be a gradual process. Read more »

Meet the Philly Ad Agency Promoting “Joy,” the Brand Behind the Movie

"Joy" and Joy.

“Joy” and Joy.

Rarely does a brand have such a prime opportunity to go from niche retailer to household name. But such is the case for Joy — the brand of mops, steamers, pillows and other household items created by founder Joy Mangano.

Not only was she played by Jennifer Lawrence in the film Joy, but Lawrence just won a Golden Globe and got nominated for an Oscar for her performance. If that weren’t enough, Joy-the-brand is in the midst of a huge rollout in the full footprint of TargetBed Bath & Beyond, Container Store and Macy’s locations. Some stores like Target and Macy’s are even creating store-within-a-store concepts that will basically be their own “Joy” sections.

So Joy and her company went on the hunt for an advertising agency — and chose Philly’s Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners. In January, RTOP just launched an ad campaign including TV commercials, digital ads and social media posts. If it’s successful, Joy could become the next Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray. If it fails, the business will likely remain most visible on the Home Shopping Networkwhere Joy has been selling products for years. Read more »

QVC’s HR Chief on How to Ace a Job Interview

Beth Rubino, executive vice president of human resources at QVC.

Beth Rubino, executive vice president of human resources at QVC.

When people find out that I’ve reviewed more than 200,000 resumes and conducted thousands of interviews, they often give me a funny look. I can see them doing the math in their heads, trying to calculate how many resumes a year that averages. I can tell you, it’s a lot!

But, I love it. I always knew I wanted to work with people, and my role leading human resources at QVC is the perfect fit. That’s what I look for when I interview a job candidate — a good fit for the individual and for the company. An interview should be a thoughtful exchange of information to explore opportunities. Remember, the company is as hopeful as the applicant to find a good match. Read more »

How to Get Hired at Top Philly Employers like Comcast, QVC

(Stephen Coburn/Shutterstock

(Stephen Coburn/Shutterstock)

A handful of Philly companies consistently show up on job seekers’ wish lists. Eager candidates may even apply to 10 or more jobs in one company, hoping to get a foot in the door with one of the city’s most highly regarded employers.

So how do you get hired by top local employers like Comcast or QVC? I went straight to the top of the hiring chain to find out. Read more »

QVC Laying Off 147 Workers

QVC, the West Chester-based retail sales behemoth, is laying off 147 workers — mainly holding warehouse jobs.

It’s the result of the company permanently closing its jewelry returns department and handling all distribution and returns at its Florence, S.C. facility.

The layoffs will come in two rounds, one in November and another in December. Read more »

QVC Owner to Pay $2.4 Billion for Online Shopping Site

Mike George, CEO of QVC, will new responsibilities after the deal is completed.

Mike George, CEO of QVC, will new responsibilities after the deal is completed.

QVC is getting a new e-commerce partner.

QVC’s parent company Liberty Interactive Corp. has announced that it will pay $2.4 billion for Zulily, an e-commerce site specializing in limited-time sales of toys, clothes and apparel aimed at millennial moms. The company will join West Chester, Pa.-based QVC Group to bolster its digital e-commerce platform. Read more »

Market Report: Celeb Fashion Finds You Can Actually Afford

Celebs-style

Yep, these celebs wear fast-fashion, too. | Featureflash / Shutterstock.com, Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com, Allan Bregg / Shutterstock.com.

  • Apparently celebs love styling on a budget as much as we do. Behold, Gigi Hadid, Miranda Kerr, Kendall Jenner and other stars sporting affordable brands like Topshop, Asos, and Forever 21, proving that you can make any outfit look like a million bucks with a little bit of sharp styling and a whole lot of confidence. [Huffington Post]
  • Because we all do it even though we know we shouldn’t, here are some pimple-popping best practices from dermatologists to minimize scarring. (The cold, hard truth: Wait for the white.) [The Cut]
  • West Chester-based QVC just bought Zulily for $2.4 billion, which means millennial moms can find more adorable maternity and baby clothes at discounted prices. And also QVC is taking over the world. [Forbes]

Next: The latest Asian beauty trend? Heart-shaped bangs. (Yes, really.)

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