Hot topic: Is QVC a Viable Retailer for Artists?

6 11 2010

For some selling product on QVC is the Holy Grail.  It includes not only product sales, but an opportunity to star in your own television show.  Over the years I have had many artists express interest and ask questions about the behemoth retailer.  It must have been after they saw the likes of Thomas Kincaid, Jim Shore or even Brenda Walton on QVC touting their art on various products.  So the question still remains, how do you get on QVC?  And is it a realm that artists should consider viable.

I spoke recently to Barry Matus, Founder and CEO of Development Solutions Global, a company that specializes in placing products on QVC from the home décor, accessory, collectible, garden, giftware and stationery industries.

Barry M: First of all, artists need to know that QVC is basically a retailer, just one that exists exclusively on television and online rather than, as they say, in brick and mortar.  Their sales today are over $7 billion annually.

J’net: Is QVC a viable retailer for artists?

Barry M: For an artist who has a strong following and has 10 or 12 companies licensing products from them, the artist and/or artist’s agent can bring the licensees (manufacturers) together to do a show on QVC.

This requires a lot of detailed organization on the part of the artist and/or agent to pull this off. They have to get all the individual licensees to agree to the QVC terms, as well as manage the entire process.

J’net: What can you tell us about QVC’s business terms and traits as a retailer?

Barry M: Like most retailers, QVC won’t manufacture product for you. And unlike most large retailers, QVC is a consignment business, so don’t expect them to buy your product up front. They see themselves as a brand-maker who goes into 1000s of peoples’ homes with quality products. They are always live TV and their mantra is: products which can be demonstrated will sell well with QVC.

Their brand is based on quality and QVC’s quality control is some of the toughest of all retailers. There is no tolerance for defects. In addition, there are a series of shipping tests (such as drop, vibration, etc.) to determine if breakage is possible when shipped via UPS. So even if QVC is excited about your products, only once you have passed the quality control tests can your product(s) be considered for selling on QVC.

J’net: So they are like book stores who can send back any item that doesn’t sell?

Barry M: Yes. And for an artist who has licensees, the entire risk for a QVC show and venture is laid on the manufacturers of the product who guarantees the products will be:

1)  shipped and arrive at QVC in time for airing of the show

2)  delivered to them in a ‘re-shipper’—packaging that can be sent right back out the door without needing special handling and

3)  100% returnable.

J’net: Why are artists and QVC a good match? Or are they?

Barry M: QVC’s secret sauce is the ‘soft sell’ that is served up by professional hosts and their guests, as well as celebrities and the manufacturers. All can be important to the process.

Artists can make fantastic spokespersons——telling stories about inspiration, creating art and fans.They get excited about their art and related products. And if they have 9-11 great products available, QVC can build an hour show around an artist (approximately 52 minutes of sell time).

J’net: When should an artist think about approaching QVC?

Barry M: The opportunity is when they have built a certain level of business and have a wide variety of great products made by various licensees. And then, if you like telling your story, QVC may be a way to gain exposure with a wide audience and support your licensees.

J’net Note: I appreciate Barry  taking his valuable time to share with us this information about QVC and look forward to talking to other artists and agents who have worked with them.  Sounds like for artists gaining momentum, and with a group of passionate licensees, there are opportunities for brand building and sales.  Please send your thoughts and experiences.  And stay tuned.

Today’s Featured Artist is Sara chapman of Art Squad Graphics who enjoys graphic design, book design and photography. These peppers are just like Sara and her designs: spicy hot and beautiful.



One response

18 02 2012
Lorena Angulo

Great article !
Did you talked with other artists who had work with QVC? I will love to hear their experiences.

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