ST. PETERSBURG — After more than 30 years, Joy Mangano knows a thing or two about promoting products. Now she's promoting herself.
The inventor, entrepreneur and TV personality — who was portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence in the 2015 Oscar-nominated movie Joy — is launching a new book, Inventing Joy. Just like the products she sells, she said her book aims to make your life better. She describes the book as "high octane inspiration" and "binge-worthy."
Inventing Joy will be the first book of the New York native. She said after the star-studded movie, people wanted to know more about her journey and the memoir will provide a "mind shift" in the way people approach business, family and friendship. (Signed copies will be released exclusively on HSN on Nov. 4; the book will be available worldwide on Nov. 7.)
At an intimate fireside chat at HSN in St. Petersburg, Mangano explained her inspiration for the book and discussed her journey through entrepreneurism as a single mother of three. She shared tips with the group of more than 40 HSN employees and students from the University of Tampa on how to start a business, overcome fear and believe in yourself.
"You are your greatest invention," she said, adding that people need to take time to discover and rediscover themselves and what makes them happy. "What will your story be?"
The story of Mangano has been in the works for over a half of century.
As a serial marketer and one of the most-watched personalities in the home shopping, Mangano, 61, has sold more than $3 billion worth of home products. Some of her most famous products include Huggable Hangers, My Little Steamer and the Miracle Mop, which she started selling in store parking lots in the '90s. She holds over 100 patents and trademarks.
She once sold $2 million worth of products during a single broadcast on HSN, where she still appears live at least once a month to a reach of 95 million homes. Her products are available through the home shopping retailer and major brands such as Bed Bath & Beyond, The Container Store, Macy's and Target.
Mangano said her entrepreneur spirit dates back to her childhood growing up in an Italian-American family. As a child, she said she was independent, self-motivated and responsible. Her first invention was a fluorescent flea collar to keep pets safe. A similar product was released a year later by a pet product company.
"Childhood is the foundation of who you are, but it depends on what you do with it," she said.
It's the fearless demeanor of children to try new things and not worry about failure that everyone needs to hold on to, she said. It's okay not to know where you are going but to keep moving forward.
As a teenager, Mangano wanted to be a skier. Next, she had aspirations to become a veterinarian. Later, it was to be a good mother, wife and cook with a host of other jobs in between.
However, she said each path led to the next path, which eventually led to the Miracle Mop, the self-wringing cotton mop. By 2000, she was selling $10 million worth of mops a year.
Mangano created the prototype for Miracle Mops in her father's body shop in Deer Park, N.Y. in 1991. After he idea was rejected, she decided to sell the product by herself at trade shows and local stores in Long Island, N.Y. Mangano made her first on-air sell with QVC, where she sold more than 18,000 mops in less than half hour. She later sold her business Arma Products, later renamed Ingenious Design LLC to USA Networks, the parent company of HSN in 1999.
In July, QVC announced plans to purchase rival HSN for $2.1 billion.
Mangano said it was too soon to discuss her future business relationship under QVC. She has worked for both companies — a decade with QVC and 17 years with HSN. She said she is excited to see what happens when the "family" comes together.
Contact Tierra Smith at tsmith@ tampabay.com. Follow @bytierrasmith.