When we think of women that are innovative and trailblazers, Joy Mangano is one of the people that come to mind. We're honored that she sat down with us to talk about her aha moment, her ability to create functional items that make your life easier, how she maintains a fresh perspective when she is working to continue to develop great products and the importance of being a mentor to share the wealth of inspiration.
ATHLEISURE MAG: For those who have not seen the movie where Jennifer Lawrence plays you OR those who are not familiar with you, can you tell us how you went from realizing the need for one great product that brought you to HSN, to where you have now generated a number of great products and assisted those who also have great concepts that fit within our lifestyle?
JOY MANGANO: As a single mother of three, I was looking for a way to make the daily chore of mopping easier. I didn’t know much about the world of product and business, but I felt like
most mothers and wives do, not having enough time to care of their families and homes, and I wanted to try to fix that. The Miracle Mop was born from that feeling, a feeling I never gave
up on, that I could help people like me. And that belief is what kept me going, to new products, to TV retail, to HSN, to where I am today.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Do you believe that all great products come out of the need to solve a problem?
JM: 100% yes. I’ve always wondered why the ordinary things in life need to remain ordinary, if they have a chance to be better. I guess I just don’t settle for accepting things the way they are,
I focus on the way they could be, and should be, in every aspect of life. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had dreams for new ways to design something better. More color, more style,
more function. I was always inspired by the world around me.
AM: At what point did you realize that expanding from the mop was necessary to build your empire and how many products do you say that you concept and then eventually bring to market?
JM: It’s funny, but stopping at the mop was never really an option in my mind. I saw, and still see an opportunity in everything. As a child, I was always searching for a way to improve everything I could get my hands on. And that’s still true today. I’ve always had ideas about products in my head; but the success of the Miracle Mop allowed me the courage and self-belief to bring so many of them to life.
AM: What would you say the ethos of the Joy brand is and how do you continue to come up with great ideas that really become adopted into our lifestyle quickly?
JM: I believe we’re all basically the same. We have the same needs, the same wants, the same challenges and troubles. So I’m always convinced that an idea will resonate, because it always comes from a need I have; a need my customers might have too! The process really starts and
grows from there.
AM: As the Co-Founder/Style Director of Athleisure Mag, my first steamer whether I was styling projects or was going on air for HSN myself, I would bring My Little Steamer. This was my first steamer that I used for a number of years! What was the moment when you realized that you should create this as well as that it would be a great product to have in your assortment?
JM: I love that! I’m so happy to hear you love the My Little Steamer! It really is the little product that could. Like everyone in life, I just didn’t like the hassle and trouble with ironing. The big heavy board, the water spilling everywhere, the burning of your clothes and maybe even your fingers. I knew I wanted to create something light, easy and portable, unlike traditional irons, but also better. And we did it – in just minutes you can steam something and you’re out the door looking flawless. That immediate reaction is what makes it such a great product.
AM: How do you know that a product is not only a hit but is worthy of bearing your name or being a part of your empire?
JM: I believe in everything I put my name on, I create products that I personally have a need for, so if I like it and believe in it, then I know there’s a real chance that my customers will too.
AM: How important is giving back to those as a mentor and to direct them toward being strong and savvy business women?
JM: I believe in the American Dream because I’m living it! And I know, no matter who you are or where you’re from, if you are smart and brave and have a little luck, you can find your own success. But I also know that getting started can be very scary – there’s no roadmap, no
step-by-step guide that tells you how to make your dream a reality, especially in the world of bringing new ideas to life. That’s why I started my foundation, The Joy Mangano Foundation, as way to help women get started both in their personal and business lives by empowering them
and providing tools that they might not have access to.
AM: Closet organizing, home maintenance, travel clothing prep etc are some of the core pieces that are in your collection, what else should we keep on our radar for future appearances on HSN.
JM: I don’t want to spoil anything, but I have a few new products rolling out that I have been working on!
AM: What advice do you give women who are looking to bring that one idea to market in a mass way when they may not have the resources (financially, contacts etc) to do so - but they still believe that this is something that needs to be in the world?
JM: You must believe in yourself and your ideas in order for anyone else to believe them. It starts with you – no one else will push you forward. I’d also recommend they check out my foundation, which is partnered with Rising Tide Capital, a brilliant non-profit organization that, for the past 10 years has been working to empower many first-time entrepreneurs and single mothers to use their creativity and talents so they too can build businesses that transform their lives and the lives of those around them.
AM: What philanthropy/charities do you give your time to?
JM: I have the honor of being a part of the UN Women Champions for Innovation. I’m so proud to be a part of an amazing group of women who promote UN Women’s activities that support
women’s and girl’s opportunities in areas related to innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. It’s important to raise awareness about the barriers that women and girls face in these industries and I’m so happy I can be a part of the change.
AM: You have 100s of inventions under your belt - what keeps you engaged in inventing and presenting new concepts?
JM: I try to have a fresh perspective waking up every day. I think it’s important no matter what you do, to take a step back and look at things in a different light. It keeps you engaged and
sometimes sparks thoughts and ideas which is how I keep inventing new concepts and products.
PHOTOS COURTESY | JOY MANGANO