Make us your home page

Trigaux: Behind movie 'Joy' lies a real household products entrepreneur and empire owned by HSN

"After spending the past two years re-engineering this amazing Miracle Mop, I'm so excited to help people across America take cleaning to a whole new level with this smartly designed, easier-than-ever-before, self-wringing mop. Oh, and we have a variety of joyful colors because who ever said mopping can't be fun?" — Joy Mangano

Am I really writing about a mopmaker? Did I just quote somebody suggesting mopping is fun? Does America really care about this stuff?

Enough to make a movie out of it starring a top Hollywood actor?

Well, yes, yes, yes. And yes.

The movie Joy debuted Christmas Day. It's about Long Island housewife-turned-entrepreneur Joy Mangano, who built a business from scratch by creating new takes on old household cleaning products and personally selling them on TV home-shopping shows.

While that generic plot line may not propel you to the theater, the fact that the movie stars Jennifer Lawrence along with big names like Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and Isabella Rosselini might. Joy generated a modest-but-respectable $17.5 million in ticket sales by Sunday, a ho-hum "C+" review by Times reviewer Steve Persall, and even a little Oscar buzz on social media.

Not to mention some great PR for St. Petersburg's HSN.

Joy is a business movie that offers a glimpse at a rare commodity: a woman who fights to make her startup idea into a viable business. A very viable business.

"I am an inventor. A product designer," the real Joy Mangano says online in a recent interview. "I am an on-air celebrity with that product in this electronic retailing industry. I am an entrepreneur. Beyond that, I am a mother and part of a wonderful family that is part of a wonderful business."

Mangano founded her business called Ingenious Designs LLC in 1991. HSN, the TV home-shopping company that now sells products across the online spectrum, bought her company in 1999.

Mangano went on to become one of HSN's all-time top-selling brands, pitching her own products with names like the Miracle Mop, Huggable Hangers (close to 700 million sold so far) and My Little Steamer.

Ingenious Designs now also develops and manages product lines for such HSN on-air names as supermodel Iman, celebrity chef Ming Tsai and Grammy Award winner Keith Urban.

And Mangano? She's now worth an estimated $50 million. And counting.

Rosselini, who in Joy plays the girlfriend of Mangano's father (played by De Niro), boils down the movie to this: "It is about a woman making money, wanting to have an empire."

Lots of folks can appreciate that theme. Especially these days as entrepreneurs start to gain more respect and as business communities belatedly realize that nurturing startups plays a key role in the health of a regional economy.

HSN obviously valued Mangano's product genius and salesmanship, buying her company for an undisclosed price 16 years ago after she got her start at rival home-shopping network QVC.

HSN, publicly traded and now worth $2.7 billion, is no fool when it comes to leveraging the current publicity about Joy.

On Sunday, HSN will debut Mangano's New Miracle Mop "with never-before-seen patent-pending features" during a 24-hour special blitz of her product designs. The mop comes in black or white or even fuchsia, complete with new tech but still priced at the same $19.95 it was 25 years ago.

I'm still not sure who said mopping can't be fun. But I am sure who found it enriching.

Contact Robert Trigaux at Follow @venturetampabay.

Trigaux: Behind movie 'Joy' lies a real household products entrepreneur and empire owned by HSN 12/28/15 [Last modified: Monday, December 28, 2015 11:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    Former Florida Gov. and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their condo in downtown St. Petersburg on the market for $1.5 million. [Courtesy of Rhonda Sanderford]
  2. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain


    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]
  3. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

  4. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity


    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]