During the week long mini-series of American Dreams from August 12th to the 17th, HSN is celebrating the journeys that some of our most iconic brands like Adrienne, Heidi Daus and others went through to achieve their dreams. Get an exclusive look back at some of these extended interviews with all your favorite brands on how they got their start.
1. Samantha Brown
How Samantha got the “Best Job in the World” as a television travel host happened by accident. A producer spotted her work in a commercial and recommended her to the Travel Channel in 1999 to audition for a new show being developed called “Great Vacation Homes” but the audition almost did not happen. She missed her first audition but it was rescheduled. In a sprint to catch a connecting flight on her second attempt, she sprinted to the gate and arrived 10 minutes after the final boarding call. A sympathetic attendant encouraged Samantha to try to board the plane, so she continued her run on the tarmac toward the small 50 seater jet located about 100 feet away. Breaking down and through tears she told the dispatcher she had been waiting on tables for eight years hoping for a dream job like this. He relented, and told her only the flight’s pilot could overrule his decision. She looked up at the captain, opened her arms pleadingly and shouted “PLEASE!!!! When the captain looked down and gave her the thumbs up she knew that she had the job. Samantha has always said she owes “the Best Job in the World” to that pilot giving her a chance on a runway.
2. Jeffrey Banks
Having designed my Mother’s Easter outfit at age 10, and having been able, as my Mother puts it, to draw before I could walk I knew what my career path was very early on; I was going to be a designer. When I was 15 years old I was hired by Britches of Georgetown, the best men’s store in Washington, DC. At 16 the owners of Britches introduced me to Ralph Lauren who was in business for only a couple of years and who I greatly admired. By age 17, three weeks out of high school and two months before college I began to work for Lauren as his second assistant. By twenty-two I had my own business, won a Coty Award, and was living my American Dream.
3. Debbee Barker
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but in my case, my daughters were my inspiration for FlipFold, the Ultimate Folding Tool. Being the mother of two girls can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to folding laundry. The kid’s closets and drawers were consistently a mess. I started brainstorming on different ideas for organizing clutter. Then it hit me; a laundry organizer could help more than just my kids. In fact, I heard that complaint in all areas of the garment industry.
4. Adrienne Arpel from Signature Club A
For the American Dream show I wanted to present a kit that contains elements of both my beauty and jewelry businesses. At first I thought that I would present my best Rapid Transport C Kit with the gift of a fashion tote, but then I thought I would give a gift of a fashion watch with the kit. I went to the executives at HSN and we all could not decide.. do we give a watch or a fashion tote. Since we could not decide on only one of the options I decided to give the customers both the bag and the watch as gifts for the American Dream show. We created a sizeable bag that combines a smooth texture with the look of fine braided Italian leather, with a large tassel on the side. The watch has a large face with easy to read numerals and a band in the look of the finest Italian braided leather to match the leather bag. I always carry a sizeable tote bag along with my handbag to carry my shoes and other paraphernalia so I thought my customers would want one too.
5. Lisa Price from Carol’s Daughter
Lisa’s mother, Carol, always encouraged her to use her knack for mixing essential oils and her innate feel for fragrance to create gifts for her family and friends. Inspired by her mother’s words, Lisa began whipping up products right in her kitchen that were an instant hit with loved ones. Twenty-one years later, Carol’s Daughter has grown into a brand known for its efficacious and high-performance hair and body care products.
6. Heidi Daus
From the time Heidi was a small child, she knew she wanted to create beautiful things. What began as a hobby, making beautiful jewelry, became an obsession and her passion. As more of her jewelry rolled off the assembly line at her kitchen table, her boss at the dress shop gave her prime window space in his dress shop to sell her jewelry. Very quickly, there was quite a demand for her jewelry and she developed a following. Heidi made one necklace at a time and relied on loyal customers until she was able to produce enough to do the trade shows. When she ventured into the international trade shows, she began earning recognition in Europe resulting in her jewelry being picked by Harvey Nichols and Harrods in London, and in shops throughout Paris.
7. Victoria Wieck
After many promotions and eventually working as the Director of Marketing, Victoria Wieck decided to start her own business with a mission of providing fine, fashionable jewelry at affordable prices. Victoria believes her jewelry is not just about looking beautiful; her pieces are about matching up the right design with the right personality. She creates jewelry that is meant to be worn everyday to add a touch of glamour to your wardrobe, and not to just be saved for special occasions. Her designs are up-to-the-minute yet timeless, and will last for many years to come.
In 1876, Melville R. Bissell and his wife, Anna, owned a small crockery shop in Michigan. Because they were constantly cleaning sawdust off the carpet of the shop (know the feeling?), Melville invented a unique carpet sweeper and patented it. When customers and friends began asking where they could buy the carpet sweeper, a new business was born. To this day, BISSELL is still family-owned with the 5th ( tbc) generation of Bissell’s actively involved in the business. They are passionate about helping you effectively and easily clean your home so you can put down the vacuum, enjoy life and come home to a deeper clean.
9. Professor Amos
Known for his boundless energy and an positive outlook, Professor Amos is a true American success story. Starting from humble beginnings, he has spent years of hard work expanding his brand of cleaning products worldwide. Professor Amos was one of the first to achieve success in infomercials. He was a nature entertainer and educator, and today presents his entire line of products for home and commercial use worldwide, via live performances and electronic media. Professor Amos’ theory is to “Work Smarter, Not Harder”, and his products live up to that promise.
10. Diane Gilman
Diane Gilman started her career designing for some of the world’s biggest Rock N’ Roll stars. Forty years later, she has earned the title of “HSN’s Jean Queen,” selling more than 5 million DG2 jeans since its inception. As a young girl in Los Angeles, Diane set her sights on a career in fashion. By her early 20s, Diane had opened a fashion store of her own on Melrose Avenue which became a popular destination among Hollywood starlets. When she launched at HSN, Diane was a well-respected and highly- sought-after name in the industry. Her goal is to provide modern fashion and classic comfort in a fit that flatters any figure. She designs with the women of her Baby Boom Generation in mind.
11. Marla Wynne
Finding herself out of work during the writers’ strike of 2008, Marla began designing clothes in her garage. Marla mixed the fashion sensibility she learned in Paris with her need for comfortable clothes that worked with a woman’s changing body and developed a line that is both chic and smart. Now living in NYC, Marla travels the world telling her story and inspiring women.
12. Wolfgang Puck
As America’s first celebrity chef, Wolfgang developed his signature line of cookware, kitchen electrics, tools and accessories to help home cooks of all levels create restaurant quality dishes at home. All of Wolfgang’s products are designed to make every job in the kitchen easier, faster and produce great tasting food. Wolfgang’s tenured experience in kitchens around the world, combined with his talent, energy and understanding of what American’s love to eat, are evident in every item created.
Who is the inspiration in your own life that motivates you?