… AND A HOME FOR SA’S HIPPEST… 07-19-9407-19-94



NEW YORK — In the four months or so that it’s been on the air, On Q has become a home to some of SA’s hippest names.

Those who already have appeared include Vivienne Tam, dress designer Cynthia Rowley and sportswear designer J.R. Morrissey, whose first appearance was July 14.

“We did very well with Cynthia,” said On Q vice president Caryn Lerner. “David Dart has also performed very well on air. His clothes are less toward the trendy side, but his fabrics are very beautiful. He has a wide appeal.”

“For Vivienne Tam, we wrote product right off the line, and it did incredibly well,” said Cindy Sewell, buyer for On Q. “It was very encouraging to see a line that’s a little bit unusual sell well.”

Lerner added that Darcy Creech will sell straw hats, and jewelry designer Dayne Duvall will do a jewelry program.

The key reason these designers have found a home on On Q is that QVC — the core channel — is geared to an audience that is older, more conservative and less fashion-forward. Q2, QVC’s weekend shopping channel, deals more in classic basics, sort of a Gap of the airwaves.

Sewell, one of eight buyers for On Q, is in charge of combing the showrooms and finding the right mix for the channel. Sewell came to On Q from Macy’s West, where she had been the buyer for the contemporary sportswear Impulse shops. That’s where she made many of the contacts she’s using now.

Some of the other names that will be appearing on the air in the fall will be Christian Francis Roth and Betsey Johnson.

“Johnson will be great on air,” said Lerner. “She’s got such great energy.”

Other new names are watching the channel with interest, but are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

Kenneth Richard, a sportswear designer whose line is sold in Charivari and Yati here, said, “We are taking our business very slowly, growing one step at a time. We’re watching it with a lot of interest, though.”

While numbers were not available for Morrissey’s first show, held last Thursday, the company’s president, Laurie de Jong, said she’d been told by On Q that the response was “very good.”

“Usually you can watch the sales as they are happening, but the computers were down that day because of a big storm,” said de Jong. “We were told, though, that based on the rate the phones were ringing, we did very well.”

Morrissey created a lower-priced line for his On Q debut, but Lerner said that price is not a consideration when she’s working with a designer.

“On Q is not going to be a price-driven service,” she said. “We don’t show retail value on the air, because in many cases we are comparable to other retailers.”

Lerner noted, however, that designers who sell to On Q have to have fairly broad appeal.

“We don’t want to be so narrow that we alienate the market,” Lerner said. “We want a broad assortment, but one that will differentiate us.”

Morrissey named his On Q line Workshop. It’s based around the designer’s jackets, including some of his bestsellers, but the most expensive style sells for $198. That price, Morrissey noted, is “about 50 percent lower than our regular line.”

While shooting some background footage for his appearance, Morrissey and de Jong decided to focus on how jackets are constructed.

“We were going for a sort of ‘This Old House’ approach, but with clothes instead of houses,” said de Jong, who added that Morrissey is currently working on a second shipment for the channel.