NEW YORK — There’s a reason Tova Borgnine is often called the first lady of beauty at QVC and why she’s moved more than 10 million bottles of her fragrance worldwide without most customers even smelling it.
“Tova? Darling, I love Tova’s Signature,” screamed a reporter’s friend upon learning of an interview with Borgnine, who is in the midst of celebrating the 25th year of Signature. “I’ve never had anyone ask me what perfume I was wearing until I used Signature....It was just like the stories she tells on QVC,” the exuberant friend related.
Borgnine’s talent for describing her scents over the tube helped build Signature into one of the best-selling fragrances on QVC. This year marks her 17th year on the network and it is being celebrated with yearlong promotions, including one that sold more than 31,000 units in one day from three one-hour appearances, according to QVC.
“Tova has been an amazing experience,” said Allen Burke, QVC’s director of beauty merchandising. “She is one of the great ladies of the industry and has built an amazing business. When I meet people and tell them what I do they ask me, ‘Do you know Tova?’” he said. Burke believes it is her passion for her products that transcends the airwaves and has amassed such a cult following that there are customers on auto-replenishment to receive Signature every 60 or 90 days so they never run out. After all, before Philosophy and prior to Leslie Blodgett at Bare Escentuals, Borgnine proved the power of direct selling.
Borgnine never wavered in her belief she could sell her juice over the airwaves. “You have to think before QVC there was mail order and I saw that evolve into a form of distribution,” she recalled. Signature was born from bath oil that she had found in San Francisco and then traced to Steve Manheimer. She went to New York, found his firm and said she wanted to develop it into a fragrance. The mixture of jasmine, lavender, citrus and bergamot with sandalwood was a stark contrast to the potent scents of the day such as Poison, but she quickly found an audience for those who liked the clean formula. In an interesting twist, the notes of Signature are in vogue again today. At that time, Borgnine was becoming known for skin care products, which remain in her lineup today.She was approached first by CVN to sell her skin care, but thought that network was too focused on jewelry. When QVC bought CVN, Borgnine contacted the firm and managed to snare a 15-minute meeting with then buyer Darlene Daggett that led to her debut for skin items just before Christmas in 1990. Daggett went on to become president of the network. Borgnine was such a success that consumers asked for fragrances to be added. She tested scents on-air in 1991 and peddled $134,000 worth during her first show. Although TV shoppers couldn’t smell the scent, they had the security of being able to return it at no risk for 30 days.
Other Borgnine milestones include a QVC record for Today’s Special Value by selling 66,000 pieces of a set in 20 minutes, adding the United Kingdom and Germany to her reach and recently nomination to the FiFi Hall of Fame.
“Do we deserve it,” she asked rhetorically of the FiFi nomination. “Yes,” said Borgnine quickly. “But not just for me but for Manheimer, QVC and all involved.” Borgnine’s scents have been nominated for FiFi’s in the past, but this is the first to the coveted Hall of Fame.
What makes Borgnine’s success even more impressive is the staying power of the Signature scent and extensions at a time when entry fees are high and success rates low. While not discrediting the celebrity phenomenon, Borgnine said the products lose credibility and ultimately collapse.
The formula has stayed the same, she said of her fragrance, with less than a 20 percent jump in price over the past 17 years.
In June, Borgnine will introduce a new Signature — this time Signature Summer. It adds to other offerings such as Tova Nights (the naughty Tova, she quipped), Mind & Spirit, Tova for Men, Body and Tova Love Everlasting. “We’re very excited about Summer,” said Burke. “Every time we launch a new scent, we feel we get new users to Tova.” Borgnine describes Summer as a California grapefruit with a twist.
“She’s a pioneer…nobody would have thought upscale fragrance could sell on TV and I’m sure loads of people told her she was not thinking clearly. But she turned out to be the smart one and she connects with a loyal following,” Burke concluded.-----
As reported last year, Walgreens ended its exclusive retail relationship with IsaDora cosmetics. Now, the Swedish-born brand has a new pipeline in America via CosmeticMall.com. IsaDora performed well at Walgreens, but industry sources said the retailer decided to eliminate it from 2008 planograms as it was time-consuming to manage. As its U.S. retail partner, Walgreens helped the company devise mineral makeup products for IsaDora, which weren’t yet available in Europe.
“We are very excited about our new relationship with CosmeticMall.com, and that they will be adding IsaDora to their lineup of premium brands,” said IsaDora’s creative director Ingrid-Marie Johansson. “CosmeticMall.com is the ideal partner for us because it is extremely committed to educating its consumers and to offering them the best possible products to meet their individual needs.”
Established in 1996, CosmeticMall.com became the first multibrand beauty and personal care retailer on the Internet and offers over 50,000 top makeup, fragrance, skin care and hair products, as well as tools and gifts for women, men, teens and babies.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye