Home shopping channel QVC begins its 25th year of Irish programming with an 18-hour broadcast starting at midnight on St. Patrick’s Day, continuing until noon and resuming again at 6 p.m. until midnight.
QVC, which broadcasts to more than 230 million global households and is the world’s leading home shopping network, aired its first Irish goods show back in 1989. Siobain Bain, a senior buyer for QVC, says the show has grown in popularity ever since, so much so that a second broadcast centered around the Rose of Tralee pageant was added to the line-up shortly after.
“Our two Irish events – St. Patrick’s Day and Rose of Tralee in September – are popular QVC events that our customers look forward to every year. We see many comments on our community forums from customers letting us know how excited they are as these programs are approaching,” Bain, who was raised in Ireland, told the Irish Voice.
Given that the two Irish broadcasts generate millions in sales, competition among vendors to earn a coveted QVC slot is intense. QVC, says Bain, mixes traditional and contemporary to ensure there’s something for everyone.
“Every year we strive to bring products that are new and different while still giving our customers the Irish products [they] know and love, such as Belleek Irish porcelain, Connemara Marble and Irish sweaters,” Bain says.
The Belleek range beloved by generations of Irish Americans will be expanded this year to include a line of products suitable for everyday use – a welcome addition for fans who love the delicate porcelain made in Co. Fermanagh, but are afraid to take it out of their china cabinets.
“This year, we worked with Belleek to expand the assortment to offer more everyday products that are dishwasher, oven, microwave and freezer safe so that our customers can enjoy Belleek products in their daily lives, not just on special occasions,” said Bain.
The Belleek Everyday mugs will appeal to fans of the traditional basket weave and shamrock pattern, which has been made sturdier for daily use. A set of two mugs retails for $36.
Other items that QVC Irish fans can look out for include a visually striking shamrock cluster ring, made of sterling silver, from Killarney Crystal ($59.50), and sterling silver and 18 karat rose gold plated Celtic knot earrings from perennial favorite Solvar ($99.75).
Bain says the broadcast will also offer an array of interesting items for the home.
“Our Irish home products, such as our new Irish cable knit throw, allow shoppers to infuse a little bit of Irish magic into their homes while still working with their own décor,” she says.
“We have many fun, whimsical items this year as well – bird baths, bird feeders, an Irish walking stick with a hidden tin whistle. We even asked Irish artist Roisin O’Shea to make puzzles based off of her paintings.”
The QVC St. Patrick’s broadcast also features entertainment segments filmed in Ireland, and a live performance by Keith Harkin of Celtic Thunder.
Fans of QVC’s Irish broadcasts can visit the channel’s website, www.qvc.com, to keep up to date with the show’s retailers.
“At the moment, our Irish programming will remain in our two Irish events each year. However, last year we created our Irish Insights blog on QVC.com so our customers could stay in contact with our Irish vendors all throughout the year,” Bain said.