Calling All Entrepreneurs - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

Attention all inventors, entrepreneurs, vendors and manufacturers. If you’ve ever dreamed of the chance to sell your products before a television audience of more than 70 million households, then your wish has come true. Last July, the Home Shopping Network created the HSN Institute, a product sourcing, development and research center based in St. Petersburg, Florida. HSN provides a venue for businesses, both small and large, to sell their products over the network’s $1.2 billion airwaves.

“It became increasingly clear to us that many creative ideas were not making it to the product or marketing stage,” says HSN President and CEO James G. Held of the decision to start the center. “Now hundreds of entrepreneurs and companies will have a greater opportunity to see their products marketed through the multidimensional aspects of electronic retailing.” Since 1982, the Home Shopping Network, also owners of the Internet Shopping Network (ISN), has revolutionized the way many Americans shop.

The HSN Institute is looking for new and innovative products with limited distribution. Gerry Hoeppner, vice president of corporate communications for HSN, says the institute intends to showcase items that fill a consumer need and offer real value to the customer. “For example, perhaps it’s something that is the next generation of electronic products or it’s a better piece of golfing equipment,” says Hoeppner. “We’re looking for products that are just a little bit different than what is currently out there.”

Interested business owners can submit their products for review. For those selected, the Institute offers access to the Home Shopping Network, as well as product evaluation, selection, development and on- air marketing. Hoeppner says the benefit to HSN is increased access to the newest and latest products “from the best entrepreneurs in America.”

To have your product considered, send samples to the HSN Institute, 1 HSN Dr., St. Petersburg, FL 33729. You can submit a prototype or product in the late stages of development. All types of business, ranging from homebased firms to multinational manufacturers, are encouraged to apply.

You can also carry your products to one of the institute’s nationwide vendor fairs. Look for announcements about the next one on the HSN channel or call the institute for details (800-436-1010). Be sure to ask for a vendor packet when you call.

Also, representatives from HSN will be attending major trade events throughout the country to solicit and evaluate new products. “We’re committed to developing every opportunity in every area of electronic commerce,” says Held. “The HSN Institute will be of great benefit to the vendor community and ultimately to our millions of customers.”

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