I’ve not really posted too much about the presenting work I’ve been doing on QVC in the last year, so thought it might make an interesting post for you, particularly if you would like to see behind the scenes, or even if you fancy pursuing something like this yourself.
It all began just over a year ago when I was approached by an agent to come and do a screentest at their offices. The job was for a Freelance Guest Presenter on the live shopping channel, QVC. Not one to turn down an interesting opportunity, I went along and gave it a go.
The initial screen test was simple enough. Learn a little about how QVC works, bring along a prop and be prepared to chat about it and ‘sell’ it in the QVC way for about 10 minutes. It was very relaxed and informal but it was filmed and of course, it went off to QVC to see if they liked it. I’d taken a favourite cushion, learned a little of the designer’s background, the collection, the product itself and ways in which the potential customer could feel attached to it. I was called in for the next stage.
A month or two later I was invited to the official QVC screentest down at their studios in Chiswick Park, West London. Now this felt much more daunting! I’d been sent a selection of Yankee Candles (a big, very successful home brand on QVC for many years) and asked to prepare. Everything has to be bigger and larger than life on TV, including what you wear, how you talk and even how you smile. It’s a strange thing to get used to, and when you’re nervous it’s even more difficult.
I took my candles and was introduced to Sara Griffiths, a QVC presenter who was taking time out from TV to run the screentest with me. She was great, put me through my paces, offered some advice and gave me some valuable feedback. The whole session lasted over 15 minutes and was totally EXHAUSTING. With both a cameraman and director, we paused halfway through to regroup and get a better shot. Remembering the product information was incredibly tough (I’d only had it for 2 days), relaying stories and fun, emotional anecdotes, whilst still smiling, being natural, and not looking at the camera was so tough. Still I must have done something right because they all gave me great feedback on the day, and a few days later I was invited to come along to a Training Day; the last step before going on live tv.
QVC runs with Presenters who front the show, and a myriad of Guest Presenters who either work for, or represent a brand. You may be interested to know that Kelly Hoppen herself will often run as a Guest Presenter when her products are being showcased. The two presenters work well together, talking in depth about the products as well allowing the viewers to really connect with them and the items being sold. It’s not a hard sell and it works so well.
The training day was excellent, good fun and packed. There were a few other bloggers working with different brands, some existing guest presenters on a refresh, and a few brand ambassadors, and celebrities too! Simon Biagi shared some invaluable experience and advice, and we underwent another presenting session in front of the cameras and whole team.
To be honest, nothing prepares you for your first time on live TV though. This happened for me in September. QVC paired me with home brand Flair Rugs, and I’ve now done 3 shows with them, and another coming up later this month. That first show took a huge amount of preparation, learning the product information, ensuring I had enough interiors information and trend knowledge, as well as ways of using the rugs in your home. I was on for just under an hour, selling 7 different products and whilst it might seem like ages, the time absolutely flies by.
Studios are very quiet, with just the two presenters, floor manager and camera person. The director and producer are linked via your ear piece. My experiences so far have been wonderful, and very calm. I don’t have to listen to anywhere near the information the Presenter does, but just take my lead from them, and ensure I get in all the relevant information I can, trying to connect with the viewer.
It’s a long day. Usually around 12 hours from door to door with my train journey, and having to be at the studio 2 hours before I go on air. It’s a busy time though, checking out the set with the floor manager, talking to the producer and director, getting dressed, doing hair and makeup and of course, watching the show in the Green Room. It’s always a quandary knowing what to wear, but I was thrilled to be in my new Windsmoor and Paul Costelloe dress for the last show. It was elegant, comfortable and went perfectly with my favourite shoes too.
So there we have it, I’m back on QVC on 24th February, and hopefully working with lots more brands in the coming year.
Thanks to Windsmoor for sending the dress – it was a pleasure to wear it on my last show.