Karen Robinovitz on the set of HSN. Courtesy Photo

Are you a fan of home shopping but feel like you always miss the best deals? Or maybe you're interested in getting your own brand on TV but don't know where to start?

Purple Lab founder Karen Robinovitz wondered the same things before launching her beauty brand on HSN this past February.

Sure, she almost declared bankruptcy getting there and spent two anxiety-filled years clawing her way to success, documenting the process in her StyleList column Beauty BLab, but Robinovitz has finally realized her dream. Now she wants others to learn from her experience.

"Being able to present your brand -- and your dream -- to so many women at once through HSN is the most amazing experience I have ever had," says Robinovitz, who returns for her second series this week (April 29 at 2 a.m., 2 p.m., and 8 p.m.; and April 30 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m,), where she'll present four new shades of Huge Lips Skinny Hips and a new silicone-free primer called Pearlesque Show.

Lynne Ronon, HSN's executive vice president of merchandising. Courtesy Photo

To prepare, Robinovitz sat down with Lynne Ronon, HSN's executive vice president of merchandising, for her insights on how to succeed on the show, along with expert advice on how all of us can best shop.

Karen Robinovitz: What time should we watch HSN for the best deals?
Lynne Ronon: Midnight rules! We launch the best value of the day, called the "Today's Special," at midnight. So set your alarm clock or DVR.

KR: What are five products people cannot afford to miss?
LR: Purple Lab's new Pearlesque Show Primer, airing April 29 and 30, and Rarities Fine Jewelry with Carol Brodie, airing April 29. Don't miss the two-day upcoming Summer Style Designer Event presented by Lucky Magazine on May 19 and 20. It features the hottest products from American Glamour Badgley Mischka, Hutton Wilkinson Jewelry, as well as Lucky Capsule Collection designers such as F + C by Foley and Corinna, Gerard Yosca, and Pade Vavra.

KR: What crazy things have happened on air?
LR: We have had circus animals, unplanned visitors such as birds in the studio, laughing fits, models falling, people walking in front of the camera, entertaining callers... It's live TV!

KR: What do you do if someone freezes on air? It has to be scary!
LR: Our hosts are the consummate professionals. If a guest stumbles, the host steps in and catches him/her immediately. It would be incredibly rare that the customer would know. Sometimes newer hosts aren't as polished at stretching or stepping in for a lost guest, and you may see a host lose track. But they are well trained to pick up the ball, and there is always B roll to run!

KR: HSN has really changed recently, with celebrities and lots of new brands. What's going on?
LR: We have transformed our network into a network focused on developing lifestyle programming and creating engaging experiences for our customers that entertain and inform.

Robinovitz on set with models. Courtesy Photo



KR: What do you look for in new brands coming to HSN?
LR: A great product is the first point of entry. But just as important is a great story and a great storyteller.

KR: It's my second time on HSN. Any tips you can give me, especially after seeing my first shows?
LR: You had a terrific debut, and we're looking forward to your return. You have great charisma as a storyteller and customers enjoy hearing the inspiration behind your products, the passion you have for innovation, and your ability to create communities through the use of social media.

KR:
Thank you. I'm blushing. What do you think works and doesn't work?
LR: Authenticity and, of course, a great value [work]. Our customers are looking for a unique product, something slightly different than they are seeing in the marketplace. The ideal product/guest combination is an authentic guest who is involved with and passionate about his or her product. Respect for our customer is key. If a new partner doesn't embrace our world, it shows, and the product won't sell.

KR: Is there a Top 10 list for a brand spokesperson to have a better on-air presence?
LR: We wish! But the variety of what we do keeps the customer watching so we are careful to have each brand look and feel different on our air while continuing to fit in the overall look and feel of HSN that the customer is used to seeing.

It also varies from category to category: Jewelry is about romance, design, how will this product make you, or the recipient, feel when they wear it? Ready-to-wear is about informing the customer on trends, how to wear our fashion, what will look great on our customer. Electronics are about expertise, demonstrations, and showing what a product can do for you. Home is about giving our customers all of the information to efficiently improve their home and make it look exactly how they want it. We show product in many different styles of homes so customers can imagine owning a product and feel that it will enhance what they already have.

KR: What do you think makes HSN so addictive? I cannot turn it off!
LR: There is always something new and exciting!

KR: It's true!

Karen Robinovitz, the founder of Purple Lab and creator of Huge Lips Skinny Hips lip gloss, dishes on the trials and tribulations of creating your own makeup line. Read her all her Beauty bLab columns here.