Get to Know the Real Joy Mangano of Joy Through Her HSN Appearances

In Depth

Jennifer Lawrence’s new Oscar-bait turn as Joy Mangano, creator of the Miracle Mop, in David O. Russell’s Joy, has outlets like Vogue, People and Good Morning America using the film as an opportunity to remind us that Mangano’s story is indeed a real-life manifestation of the American Dream. But there’s a better way to get to know the founder of Ingenious Designs, LLC: through her appearances on the network that made her famous, HSN.

“What [Russell] created, I think, is just a masterpiece,” Mangano told Vogue of the movie (which she executive produced), before going on to describe Lawrence as “a Macbeth actress in the 1800s.” But though the movie purportedly shows Mangano’s struggle to get where she is, in the present day, things are going swimmingly: she hints at a move into baby products, will soon be releasing a 25th anniversary Miracle Mop that does not require twisting, and come 2016, even more of her products will be available in stores, not just via HSN. (That’s a commercial of Mangano promoting the Miracle Mop in 1996 above.)

Mangano is a real HSN celebrity—so much so that they recently produced a short series of videos about her success. (She and the network are clearly not letting the marketing opportunity that is this movie release pass them by.) She’s invented much more than just the Miracle Mop: the Rolykit, Huggable Hangers and My Little Steamer are all her work. Mangano actually started out on QVC (comparisons between her and current “QVC Queen” Lori Greiner of Shark Tank seem difficult to avoid), as The New York Times explained in 2007:

“I asked them to let me go on the air and demonstrate it myself,” she said. “I knew I could sell it if I could show people what I had in mind when I designed it and how well it really worked.” With the unbridled enthusiasm of a true inventor and what she called “a sales pitch which came straight from the heart,” Ms. Mangano sold 18,000 mops in 20 minutes.

Eventually, Mangano moved to HSN, where she remains today. She may have updated her hairstyle slightly, but her personality remains as upbeat and convincing as ever. Here she is selling her My Little Steamer aka “The best $16.95 you will ever spend!”

When Mangano shows off what her old closet used to look like before Huggable Hangers it makes me want to buy new hangers—or just never let her into my home.

I don’t really need a Better Beauty Case but she sure does make it seem like I do.

As Bloomberg Businessweek explains, much of Mangano’s appeal is her super-friendly, chatty personality. Unfortunately, that won’t come across with her products in stores, which is why her name will be all over them.

So she and her team have redesigned the branding, the logo, and the packaging—everything down to the little chalk sketches on the label meant to evoke the drawings she makes when she’s developing an idea.

Will those tweaks be enough to capture the essence of Joy Mangano? It probably doesn’t matter much: she’s still on top, and looking up.

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