One of the greatest opportunities I've had with QVC
is being able to do the "Live From Vicenza" remotes from Italy for the past 15 years. Did I ever tell you how I lucked in to that? I'd only been with QVC for a couple years (and was very new by the company's standards) when QVC decided to try this new concept of doing a show live from Italy. They had no idea if it would be successful or not, as they had no history with international remotes. But the green light was given and the gold merchandising team knew exactly which host they wanted for the show, as she was one of the most experienced hosts on our team. The only problem was there was another very large, very important event scheduled in the studio a few days before the remote. And, whomeverwent Italy would have to be gone for at least a week between travel and show times. So, QVC had a decision to make…take one of your most valuable hosts off the air for over a week, or, send someone you wouldn't miss. Hmmmmmm....who's expendable? ME! I happened to have that same week booked for vacation, so I was already off the calendar. And, I was more than happy to volunteer to forgo my vacation to do a show in Italy. It became the opportunity of a lifetime.
The whole event was just spectacular. It was my first time in Italy and here I was seeing the biggest gold show in the world. Walking the show with our buyers, working with the factories, meeting the people…it was overwhelming. There was so much to see and I was trying to cram it all in my brain. I didn't know if I'd ever get the opportunity to return, so I wanted to learn as much as I could.
And then, there was the "Cinderella" evening…a huge celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the Vicenza D'Oro. Our hotel that year was a beautiful villa on a hill overlooking the valley of Vicenza. We went to breakfast in the morning on the terrace and looked out over the most idyllic landscape imaginable. The night of the celebration, we came back from the fair early so we had extra time to do our hair and makeup. We were all dressed up in long gowns and everyone had borrowed jewelry from some of the very high-end factories at the fair. (I was wearing $200,000 worth of gold and diamond jewelry and was so nervous that something would happen to it!)
The bus came to pick us up and took us to the center of Vicenza, where we were greeted by an official-looking gentleman who motioned us down a red carpet. We followed the carpet around a corner (to what used to be a large courtyard) but was now another world…one of beautiful soft candle light, soft music and conversation, beautiful sculptures and flowers, long tables of food and wine, a high ceiling of fabric gathered into large flowers at its center, and people all sparkly, bejeweled, and stunning. It was breathtaking. The evening was filled with laughter and friends, old and new and I never wanted it to end.
After dinner, our entire party was ushered out of our little world back onto the red carpet. By this time, the streets of Vicenza were filled with people. The streets and sidewalks were just solid people…only the roped-off red carpet flowed like a river through the crowd. Everyone was taking pictures (just like at an awards show) and it became more intense as we approached the center of the city.
When we entered the Piazza dei Signori, it was filled with chairs. And at one end, by the Lion of St Marks, an acoustic shell had been erected and there was a stage and an entire orchestra was assembling. The square and whole surrounding area…anywhere there was an inch of space…was filled with people. There were even people behind the seats, down the side streets, and on every terrace overlooking the square. The energy was intoxicating! But, I didn't know why everyone was there. We all sat down in our chairs, the darkness of night came in, the orchestra tuned, the lights on the stage came up, and then...Andrea Bocelli started singing! A live concert by Andrea Bocelli....in Italy...on this evening....beyond words!
That was my introduction to Italy and Italian jewelry. How could I not fall in love with everything about it?
So, when I say visiting Italy and bringing jewelry back to QVC
has been one of the greatest opportunities and joys of my career, you know it's true. Italy is unique in the world of fine jewelry. It's something that's been in their culture and lives since before Rome was an empire. From father to son, and sometimes mother to daughter, the knowledge and passion of creating beautiful jewelry is something that's literally in their blood. To be able to visit Italy is something I wish everyone could experience, but to own a piece of it doesn't require a passport. We have been working with the artists in Italy to bring you beautiful Italian pieces for many years, and it's something I believe sets us apart.
Tonight on QVC
, I have three hours of my favorite thing…Italian jewelry. This includes a new Today's Special Value
from one of our favorite craftsman, Benito, and his factory, GMB. It truly represents what he does best; creating stunning designs that incorporate the trends, but at the same time, are timeless. It includes Drusy, Labradorite, and a substantial gold presence. It's a beautiful piece and I think you'll love it.
Hope to see you at 11pm ET. Drink some coffee, we'll be up for awhile.
P.S. When we were sitting in the square and the concert was going, I turned to my friend Suzanne and said, "The only way this evening could get any better is if you were a good-looking guy!"