QVC's First Day

The ‘Windsor Shower Companion’ ($11.49) was the first product sold on home shopping network QVC, which made its debut on 24th November, 1986, quickly becoming a cable TV phenomenon.

Joe Segel, the channel’s founder, focussed on a ‘soft sell’ approach that emphasised authenticity and a friendly, neighbourly connection. The channel's anonymity factor allowed customers to indulge in, um, unusual purchases without fear of judgement, contributing to its ongoing appeal.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal the rigorous selection process for QVC presenters; explain why some products’ failure on the network can be ruinous for the companies who made them; and uncover Marlon Brando's extraordinary QVC near-miss… 

Further Reading:

• ‘15 Things You Might Not Know About QVC’ (Mental Floss, 2015):

• ‘Joseph Segel, founder of the Franklin Mint and QVC shopping network, dies at 88’ (The Washington , 2019):

• ‘QVC's First Broadcast’ (QVC, 1986):

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Ollie Peart.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2023.

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