QVC is Banking on Isaac Mizrahi

Posted on July 26, 2009

Photo of Isaac Mizrahi


The Wall Street Journal has some interesting details about Isaac Mizrahi's new deal with QVC. Isaac won't be doing the normal type of pitch. He's being given his own show and QVC is building him a studio in Manhattan where he will broadcast from. It sounds like part reality tv show, part performance art and part traditional QVC selling. The show will follow Isaac around the studio as he chats about his life, talks to callers and urges viewers to buy handbags and shoes.
QVC is erecting an expensive set within Mr. Mizrahi's New York studio that can capture his day-to-day life in high-definition video, a first for the network. "Once in a while you make a calculated bet," says Mike George, president and chief executive of the Liberty Media unit. QVC, which reported a 10% drop in first-quarter sales to $1.6 billion, says it aims to turn Mr. Mizrahi into one of its top five brands, like Philosophy or Bare Escentuals -- brands the network says garner more than $100 million in annual sales apiece. Mr. Mizrahi will receive a percentage of sales as part of the arrangement.

Doug Howe, chief merchandising officer of QVC, says he was fascinated by the way Mr. Mizrahi spoke, leaping from tea patterns to sheets then rain boots. "We were just sitting there watching him talk, thinking, 'My God!' On air, you are going to resonate so strongly with our consumers!" Mr. Howe says.

*****

While he'll be designing a large range of items for QVC, Mr. Mizrahi professes the most excitement about designing foodstuffs. At 10, he says he was browsing through recipes and became intrigued by the word "saute." "I liked the way it sounded—saute, saute, saute!" says Mr. Mizrahi, who says he used to spend weekends cooking peppers and mushrooms in a pan until they were mushy. "Call my other. This is what I did on Saturday mornings." He recently decided to make a cheesecake using goat cheese. “It’s amazing. It sounds bad, but it is so good,” he says, launching into a story about a Thanksgiving cheesecake disaster. Mr. Gardini notes that when Mr. Mizrahi called her up after signing the QVC deal, his first words were "Finally, I can design petits fours."
QVC is putting quite a bit of money into this venture. We'll definitely tune in to see Isaac do his thing.