I am simply delighted to be celebrating my 20th anniversary on QVC and the 40th anniversary of my brand this month. My, time does fly! Looking back on all these wonderful years with you brings me the happiest memories. When I started out on the network I could not have imagined how I would feel so connected to women wearing my jewelry. It has been a joy and an honor to see you style the jewelry so beautifully and to hear your stories about what my pieces have meant to you. It still is the highlight of my day whenever I run into a woman wearing my pieces – you are a wonderful and loving group!
Thinking back to how it all started, I have John Calnon, then a QVC Vice President, to thank for approaching me about bringing my designs to QVC. I met John for lunch at the Four Seasons with my husband Ron, and he was very important in convincing me that I would have all the creative control I needed. To me it was not only about beautiful jewelry but of course also about offering designs that were well made and priced affordably. John made feel sure that I would be able to include all of the hallmark Judith Ripka design features such as texture and matte finish, kickstand hinges, and artistic closures – everything that I felt was important to be incorporated into my pieces. After that lunch, I knew I wanted to do it!
In addition to John, there have been so many wonderful partners who have helped me grow my brand at QVC, and I have to thank all of them for their enthusiasm and friendship. QVC is a such a warm and special place that feels like a family. I even used to bring one of my own “family members” to work at QVC, my sweet Maltese, Pookie. Pookie loved coming with me for my shows, but she was a little bit of trouble. One time Pookie wandered out of a conference room without anyone noticing, only to be brought back in the arms of another QVC employee who sat down the hall. It turns out Pookie had introduced herself to Darlene Daggett, a legendary QVC executive. After finding out Pookie belonged to me, she gave us a very special invitation to her office – and the two of us became great friends after that. She was always so supportive and lovely.
Over the years I have also gotten to work with so many fun and talented QVC hosts in front of the camera. They are consummate professionals who always help me feel at ease even though I am not naturally inclined towards being in the spotlight. For example, Rick and I love to tease each other and entertain our viewers with playful banter. One time on air he asked me why I still get a little nervous before a show and I responded wryly “Because I never know what you’re going to say, Rick!” I could not do what I do without wonderful relationships with all of the hosts especially the ones like Jill, Rick and Jane who were with me from almost the very beginning and, more recently, Antonella.
Behind the scenes, the QVC jewelry buyers have also been instrumental in helping me grow my business into what it is today, especially Erin Oschell who works the closest with me on merchandising my collection.
However, it is all my loyal fans, especially the Ripkanistas with whom I have a special bond, that make my show so much fun and so enjoyable. Hearing from callers is a special highlight of the shows, and I love their enthusiasm. One time a woman called in, on-air, whispering. I asked her to speak up and she said she couldn’t because she was hiding in a closet. She was delaying having her husband take her to the hospital for an urgent condition until she could see the next item on the show that night! I have the best and most passionate customers.
Twenty years went by way too fast and sometimes I cannot believe how fortunate I am to have become part of this amazing place. I started by selling my jewelry from behind the counter of a clothing boutique. It was that experience, the one on one with my customers, that was special as I learned what they were wearing and how they wanted to accessorize their wardrobes with jewelry that most informed my designs. QVC allowed me once again to reconnect to my customers, allowed me to speak to them directly and hear their feedback in calls during the shows, emails and texts to me and conversations when we meet around town, in airports, restaurants and in stores. I love these meeting and chats and always welcome constructive feedback. I am grateful to you all and QVC each and every day.
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