Love Shark Tank? It's time to learn about The Big Find
The Qurate Retail Group's search contest wants to discover the next big thing.
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Over the years, QVC and HSN have given countless entrepreneurs their big breaks. With their massive consumer base and large platforms, the retailers have been successful in helping shoppers discover new products, and in doing so, have jumpstarted the success of brands such as It Cosmetics, Tatcha, Spanx, and more.
In 2019, the Qurate Retail Group (owner of both home shopping networks) decided to take this process one step further with an initiative called "The Big Find", a search contest that aims to give new, innovative brands a chance to sell their products to millions of QVC and HSN customers. Curious to find out which brands made the cut, and how the competition works? Read on.
What is "The Big Find"?
The Qurate Retail Group’s "The Big Find" is an international search for up-and-coming brands in the apparel, accessories, beauty, culinary, home, or electronic industries. It serves as a launchpad to give entrepreneurs the opportunity to share their story and debut their products to a wide audience via HSN and QVC broadcasts, their sites, social media pages, and more.
In its first year, 70 winners were selected from over 650 entries across the U.S. and abroad, a number which grew to over 2,400 entries from more than 60 countries in 2020.
In a press release describing last year's search, Chief Merchandising Officer Mary Campbell said, "Our business has always been rooted in discovering and nurturing authentic, emerging brands, and our customers have really enjoyed getting to know the many inspiring entrepreneurs and products we discovered," adding, "Each of these entrepreneurs have moved us with their remarkable personal stories and innovative products. We're excited to give these emerging businesses a national stage to share their stories across multiple platforms and our team members are honored at the opportunity to provide mentorship and guidance in support of their growth."
Of the brands selected in 2020, a two-thirds majority were either women-owned or minority-owned, “reflecting QVC and HSN’s commitment to developing a diverse and inclusive vendor community.”
In addition to on-air appearances on both networks and placement on The Big Find landing page on the QVC and HSN websites, winning brands also receive mentoring by vendor training coaches and category experts in their fields.
How does "The Big Find" search contest work?
Each year, entrepreneurs and brands have the chance to submit their product online for consideration as part of The Big Find initiative. Select candidates will then be invited to pitch their product to a panel of judges, including merchandising executives, program hosts, and founders from established QVC and HSN brands.
Judges will also interview each candidate to learn more about the background of the product and their brand's story. From there, judges will narrow down the pool of finalists to a select number of ‘Big Ticket’ recipients, who will continue on to meet with merchandising teams, during which their products will undergo a quality assurance process. Winners will then debut their products on air.
For the 2020 Big Find contest, which was held as a digital event, judges based their decisions based on increased demand in categories like home decor, food, and electronics due to pandemic product shortages. They also sought out “great storytellers who are authentic and passionate about their brand,” according to Qurate.
Which brands have won in the past?
The 2019 competition's list of winners includes Mented Cosmetics, a cruelty free, vegan makeup brand, whose founders KJ Miller and Amanda Johnson sought to create a perfect nude lipstick for every skin tone.
Dabble and Dollop, another "Big Ticket” recipient, creates mixable bath products for kids to have fun in the tub. Apparel winners included Billy Footwear, a line of accessible sneakers that incorporate zippers that go along the side of the shoes, and LaBante, which manufactures vegan handbags made from water bottles.
In 2020, The Big Find winners included Nude Barre, launched by Erin Carpenter, which features hosiery and lingerie to suit a diverse range of skin tones. Winning skincare line Pili Ani makes face masks, moisturizers and essential oils, sustainably derived from the fruit of the Pili tree, while innovative home products such as the Go Hang It!, an all-in-one picture hanging and leveling tool that makes it easy to hang art, also took home prizes.
The Pacific Northwest Cookie Co., Curly Girlz Candy and Pure Food by Estée were also among those awarded in the culinary category.
When will "The Big Find" take place in 2021?
Both QVC and HSN are still in the process of spotlighting the winning brands from last year's contest, which will continue to launch through the second quarter and the rest of 2021. Qurate Retail Group recently announced its third annual, 2021 Big Find contest, which is accepting applications from April 28 through June 8.
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