It’s almost Mother’s Day, everyone’s favorite mother-themed holiday! Mother’s Day is the time of the year when people celebrate the boundless love and deeds mothers provide to their children.
For much of history, mom inventors were not largely publicized. Thankfully, this is not the case today.
In honor of Mother’s Day and all the mom inventors out there, we thought we’d celebrate the holiday by sharing the story of legendary mom inventor, Joy Mangano.
Joy Mangano is an icon in the world of mom inventors. You may recognize her name from the 2015’s David O. Russell biopic film, Joy, which depicted her rise to fame.
Mangano is an unstoppable inventing force. The majority of her products fall within the home products category and seek to make day-to-day life simpler and easier. To date, Mangano has sold over $3 billion of home products, including her most famous invention, the Miracle Mop. In addition to the Miracle Mop, she’s also invented the Huggable Hangers, My Little Steamer, Rolykit, Riatto Bakery Box, and Tuff Tech. All in all, Mangano holds over 100 patents for her inventions!
Let’s take a closer look at the product that put her on the map, the Miracle Mop.
Before the Miracle Mop, Joy Mangano was a frustrated single-mother of three, armed with a BA in business administration from Pace University and an unrelenting passion for invention.
In 1990, at the age of 33, she invested her life-savings of $100,000 – much of which she received via loans from family and friends – into a business that produced 100 prototypes of her Miracle Mop invention. The Miracle Mop is a self-wringing mop that absorbs much more water and debris than previous products available, due to its loops of cotton used on the mop head.
Needless to say, Mangano had a lot riding on her invention’s success. With her funds in place, she launched the business from inside her father’s automobile workshop in Long Island, New York.
Despite her genius product and its demonstrable benefits, two years in, sales were sluggish and anxiety over funds high. Notwithstanding the initial setbacks, Mangano kept the faith. By 1992, she had succeeded in bringing the product to the then-new television network QVC, but she was disappointed in how the network pitched her product to consumers, feeling they failed to clearly advertise the mop’s benefits. The network had chosen to only display photographic stills of the mop to audiences and had not aired any live examples of the mop in use. Running out of options, Mangano made a deal with QVC that if they allowed her airtime to pitch her product directly to viewers, then she would personally take back all excess inventory if her gamble failed. The network, specifically executive Doug Briggs, believed in Mangano and gave her a shot on screen.
Mangano’s gamble worked. Due to her natural sales prowess and ability to demonstrate the Miracle Mop’s benefits to home-viewers, sales immediately skyrocketed, selling 18,000 mops in less than 30 minutes!
Mangano’s initial QVC-pitch has become the stuff of legend. She went on air without a script and pitched to audiences in an informal way, as if talking to a friend. Audience’s too felt displeasure with other mops on the market, specifically how they failed to fully absorb messes and quickly became dirty when in use. Her self-wringing design and more absorbent cotton loop head, instantly won over the hearts and minds of people around the world.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Mangano said, “People identify with me because I am a regular person with cleaning and household needs just like anybody else out there. I tell them that here’s a quality product and I’m going to show them what it does.”
After a decade, Home Shopping Network purchased Mangano’s company, Ingenious Designs Inc. for an undisclosed amount of money. But given the fact that she’d sold over 10 million in Miracle Mops up to this point, one imagines it must have been a pretty penny.
Even after the sale, Mangano continued to appear on screen to sell her products. She even one-upped the Miracle Mop with her Huggable Hangers, which took the crown as QVC’s best-selling product ever.
Some of her most legendary sales moments include selling $2 million worth of product on the Home Shopping Network in under an hour and appearing on QVC at midnight only to sell over $1 million by 1 am – a feat she accomplished on more than one occasion.
Today, Mangano’s products are available in numerous retailers, in addition to television, such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s and Target.
Her business empire is currently worth over $1 billion. Not bad for a single-mother of three with a BA in Business. Her story is a perfect example of someone inventing solutions to real-life problems and sharing her solutions with the world. Her inventions sold so well because they provided actual benefit. That’s why she’s such a legendary mom inventor.
Happy Mother’s Day!