What’s your favourite Oscar-nominated movie about a best-selling mop?
Either you’re entirely perplexed by this question (films about mops?) or you’ve seen the movie Joy, the rags-to-riches true story of self-made millionaire Joy Mangano, inventor of the Miracle Mop.
In short: down and out divorced mum invents special mop, mop becomes a bestseller on QVC, divorced mum becomes multi-millionaire.
Whilst it may not sound like the most riveting of film plots, it’s a surprisingly gripping and inspirational tale, with genuine lessons for business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, plus a healthy sprinkling of Hollywood feel-good.
“It’s about a woman and her dreams, and all of the blood, sweat and tears and the joy but also the ugliness that goes into success,” remarked Jennifer Lawrence, who plays the titular Joy.
Joy shines a light on the curious world of TV shopping channels, the underdog entrepreneurs who supply much of the product line, and the battle to get those products to market.
While the UK never took to teleshopping in the same way as the US, it was still a game changer in the retail world, opening up a whole new marketplace for entrepreneurs like Joy Mangano to exploit.
The 90s heydey of teleshopping was captured hilariously in an episode of Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends. This featured a memorable appearance from eccentric geriatric fitness guru, Dr Win; a man with such a ferocious entrepreneurial drive his house is covered top to bottom with notes for half-baked business ideas and inventions: scrawled on chairs, lampshades, the walls, you name it.
These sites are now the go-to place for both hobbyists, and full-time artists and designers, to showcase their talents, and serve the growing public demand for unique, often handmade, artisan products. The perfect arena to unleash your inner entrepreneur.
Unlike the movie Joy, where the process of launching her Miracle Mop proves expensive and risk-laden, marketplace websites provide a cheap and easy way to dip your toes in entrepreneurial waters. Nor do you need to be a Dr Win-style extrovert or maverick to launch your product.