Sage Advice US

6 fun facts about inventor Joy Mangano

When The Miracle Mop is product was introduced in 1990, it not only changed the way that people mopped, but it launched a single mom inventor into business success.

Her name is Joy Mangano, and her biopic “Joy” hit the big screen late last year (starring Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence). The movie follows her struggle to raise her children on her own, make ends meet and launch a career as one of HSN’s most successful sellers and popular inventors.

Before you watch the movie, here are six fun facts about Joy!

1. Dog collars inspired Joy to take action on her ideas.

Joy always had a passion for invention and finding new ideas to help people. As a teen, she worked at an animal hospital and realized that fluorescent flea collars would help save dogs and cats from being hit by cars. When Hartz put out a similar product the next year, she vowed that she would be to market first on her next idea.

2. Housework launched an empire.

As a single mom, working two jobs to support three children, Joy needed to save time wherever she could. Her frustration with mopping, specifically, drove her to create a product that would make the job easier. “I was tired of bending down, putting my hands in dirty water, wringing out a mop,” she told ABC’s 20/20. “So I said, ‘There has got to be a better way.’” She started experimenting with designs, and in 1990 she borrowed money from her family in order to launch the first prototype of the Miracle Mop.

3. Joy made her business a family affair.

The first 100 Miracle Mops were made in her father’s auto body shop, and she got the support of her children and other family members in helping to fill the orders. During the first year, she was able to get a small foothold in the market and sell a few thousand mops. Through word of mouth and direct sales, the business began to grow. Today, she still makes business a family affair—including her ex-husband and their three children. “We’re the best of friends,” said Joy to Good Housekeeping Magazine. “I know he’s a great friend, not a great husband.”

4. Miracle Mop’s first appearance was underwhelming.

After success locally and regionally, she took her product to QVC in 1992. The network thought that the mop would be a great fit for their home shoppers, but the first demo and commercial was disappointing. QVC executives told her that her mop wasn’t likely to sell well on TV. Joy pleaded with the network to let her demonstrate the product herself, and her appearance sold 18,000 mops in 20 minutes. Today, Joy is one of the most well-known hosts on the network.

5. One great idea spawned many more.

Although her first big seller is still a hit, Joy didn’t stop there. She launched a company, Ingenious Designs, and continued to solve problems with her products and delight audiences. From jewelry to baked goods to travel items, Joy has created it all. But her biggest seller by far has been Huggable Hangers, which have a velvety texture to keep clothes hanging right. They are HSN’s #1 seller (over 700 million have been sold) and they have the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

6. Midnight is the magic hour.

Joy loves to go on air at midnight, Eastern time, because it’s been a great time for her to sell on TV. She’s consistently topped $1 million sales by 1 a.m.

Joy’s #1 piece of advice is to “go for it!” when it comes to following through on ideas that might be big. She told 20/20 that “in a million years, I never thought I’d be in the place, in this situation 20 years ago. All because of a mop that started it. It truly is the American dream.”

How can you “go for it” in your business?