For years QVC and HSN have been giving entrepreneurs with big dreams, big platforms to expand their brands. Companies like IT Cosmetics, Laura Geller and Vionic all got their start on the shopping networks and now, QVC and HSN is giving a new batch of hopefuls a chance to share their stories.
For the first time, QVC and HSN launched the initiative, The Big Find, in which 70 winners (out of 654 entries!) were chosen to join the QVC/HSN family where they’ll incubate and nurture the brands and entrepreneurs — as well as offer them all a chance to appear in special Big Find TV broadcasts, the first of which start this week.
“Supporting entrepreneurs is part of our DNA at QVC and HSN,” Mary Campbell, Chief Merchandising Officer, Qurate Retail Group, and Chief Commerce Officer, QVC US, tells PEOPLE. “As the pioneers of video commerce and brand storytelling, we’ve launched and nurtured some of the nation’s most successful entrepreneurial brands across many categories like IT Cosmetics, Junior’s Cheesecake and Ring in smart home, just to name a few. The Big Find initiative is part of our ongoing commitment to bring joy to shopping every day with amazing new discoveries and engaging experiences.”
Out of the 654 entries received, the contestants were narrowed down to 109 finalists, then 70 were selected as winners with products that range from beauty (34), accessories (14), apparel and footwear (12), jewelry (10) and home (1).
“We met with over 270 entrepreneurs in four cities across the U.S. last year,” Campbell explains. “We saw so many unique and innovative products and we heard countless inspiring stories from the brand founders. When considering a new product, our merchandising teams ask: will our customer find it relevant? Will she find it engaging and inspiring? Does it solve a problem or address a need? Our customers really respond to products that are not only unique but offer practical solutions to everyday problems.”
But the winners also needed to have something else – a special story to share. “Given QVC and HSN’s highly interactive approach, the judges went beyond the product to consider the story behind the brand and how each brand and product could be brought to life through live storytelling across a myriad of customer touch points,” Campbell says. “QVC and HSN are unique shopping experiences because we seek out amazing storytellers to bring the brands to life.”
Out of the large list of winners, 39 brands will launch on-air from now through March, including a few early favorites like Mented Cosmetics, a cruelty free, vegan makeup line for women of color, whose founders graduated from Harvard.
“Amanda and I were blown away by how much we learned during training and how supportive the entire HSN team has been,” said KJ Miller, founder of Mented Cosmetics tells PEOPLE. “Being a part of The Big Find has been such an incredible experience. Our HSN collaboration gives us a platform to reach a wider audience, and watching so many new customers fall in love with our products has been the ultimate dream come true. We’re excited to introduce more women to the products we created with pigmented skin types in mind.”
Others to keep an eye out for include, Billy Footwear a lace-up sneaker featuring zipper designs for enhanced accessibility for the wearer. There is also Act & Acre, which sells ColdProcessed haircare products, LaBante a line of vegan handbags from London that are 100% recycled and made of 25 water bottles. AlkaGlam is a company started by a UCLA grad who studied water filtration, and designed a mineral face spray with her dad, a water engineer, that gives your skin a “significant change in skin hydration.” And Beauty & The Box Pop-Up Cosmetic Travel Case, which is your own personal cosmetics counter, on-the-go.
As part of the winner’s experience in The Big Find initiative, they get to hear from QVC/HSN veterans, such as vendor training experts, on-air hosts, in-house designers and category experts, as well as sit in on special mentoring sessions.
“Many of our most recognized brand founders are participating in mentoring sessions for the winners of The Big Find including Mally Beauty, Laura Geller, Vionic shoes, Beauty Bioscience, and other established entrepreneurial brands,” says Campbell. “During these mentoring sessions, the brand founders are meeting with entrepreneurs to answer questions, share insights, and offer coaching on live, authentic product storytelling.”
RELATED: The Most Famous Celebrity HSN Lines
So what’s in store for the brands next?
Campbell says customers will continue to see many of the brands make more appearances on the network this year, as well as on the Big Find landing page on QVC.com and HSN.com. “In fact, Mented and Alkaglam, both on HSN, are already scheduled for return appearances this month following their successful January debuts,” Campbell points out.
HSN is hosting “Beauty Report with Amy Morrison: The Big Find” tonight at 9 p.m. EST. With more Big Find debuts happening on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. EST, 11 a.m. EST and 7 p.m. EST. in the beauty, jewelry and accessories space.
As for QVC, The Big Find winners will debut in late February.