Shopping options for adaptive products just got a little better! You see, following a downturn in sales, QVC, a televised shopping network, is strategically positioning a celebrity spokesperson aligned with the disability community to help boost sales, specifically of QVC’s adaptive product line. Actress, author and disability advocate Selma Blair will serve as the new QVC Brand Ambassador for Accessibility.
Qurate Retail, the parent corporation of QVC, attributed a dip in 2022 sales to supply chain constraints, as well as a fire that overwhelmed its Rocky Mount fulfillment center. In addition to bringing in Billy Wafford as the new Chief Financial Officer, the company is unveiling fresh collaborations to drive up revenue in 2023. Aside from Blair’s positioning as QVC’s Brand Ambassador for Accessibility, the video commerce network is also debuting a home line with actresses Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth (formerly of Beverly Hills 90210) and an activewear line founded by actress Nicole Ari Parker (HBO Max’s And Just Like That…).
It appears that QVC is aware that adaptive products are increasing profitable and, thus, a strategic business strategy. That’s because, in the United States alone, at least 61 million — or 1-in-4 — adults live with a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While demand for inclusive products is already there, it’s expected to grow, eventually reaching billions in annual sales thanks to the purchasing power of the disability community, the nation’s largest minority group.
QVC’s Adaptive Product Line
Highlighted on all of its vCommerce platforms (i.e. television, online and social), QVC says it’s amplifying its commitment to diversity and inclusion by showcasing a complete adaptive lifestyle line. QVC says its shopping experience features a solution-based navigation with options to filter by specific adaptive features. Customers may shop by accessible brand name, like Dynamo, EV Rider, Lexie, Slick Chicks, Tommy Hilfiger–Adaptive and Two Blind Brothers; or by categories. These categories include Accessible Beauty, Around the Home, Assistive Devices, Clothing & Shoes-Men’s, Clothing & Shoes-Women’s, Daily Living Aids, Furniture, Hearing Aids, Magnifiers & Readers, Mobility, Personal Care, Security & Monitoring, Smart Lighting and Voice Assistants.
Selma Blair Embraces Disability Spokesperson Role
This isn’t the first time Blair has used her star-power to back an adaptive product line. Late last year, Blair, whose been outspoken about her disability journey with Multiple sclerosis (MS), assumed the role of Chief Creative Officer for GUIDE Beauty. GUIDE Beauty is an inclusive collection of makeup tools and products that simplify makeup application through universal design. Her decision to align with QVC was similarly motivated.
“When QVC approached me, I was so impressed and grateful that they were welcoming these [inclusive] conversations,” Blair shared. “One of the basic comforts of our life is being able to have fun shopping and to find things we find beautiful and useful. There is a more vibrant way to showcase these products, and I’m so excited to join QVC in exploring what is out there for all of us.” Blair further shares her personal perspective in a short promotional video.
Blair, a Michigan native, rose to fame in the early 2000s thanks to character roles in “Cruel Intentions,” “Legally Blonde” and other films. She’s shared the screen with Hollywood A-listers like Reese Witherspoon, John Travolta, Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate. [Applegate announced, in 2021, that she too was diagnosed with MS.]
In 2018, Blair shared with fans that, following frustrating experiences with misdiagnoses, she has MS. As defined by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Blair further revealed her health hurdles in her memoir titled “Mean Baby,” a documentary titled “Introducing, Selma Blair” and by participating on the televised competition “Dancing with the Stars.”
Making Accessibility Mainstream
QVC also introduced “Accessible Living,” an on-air show focused on essential home products that simplify everyday tasks and promote independent living. Across all vCommerce programming, QVC plans to demonstrate accessibility features of products more frequently, while enhancing representation in product presentations and photography. “Accessible Living” is available on QVC2, with new episodes airing in March (2023).
“We believe everyone deserves inclusive shopping experiences, services and products that make them feel seen, including the millions of Americans who are living with a disability; aging in place or in assisted living; recovering from a surgery, illness or injury; or supporting others as a caregiver,” Rachel Ungaro, GMM and VP of Fashion Merchandising for QVC, said in a press statement. “Our goal is to meet each customer where they are in the arc of life and empower them to express their own unique style. We plan to expand our offerings in our Accessible & Adaptive category by attracting new brands to QVC, widening our relationships with existing vendors, and developing proprietary products and brands.”
QVC attests that the company is committed to making changes to increase accessibility and ensure a barrier-free customer experience. In addition to collaborating with Blair, QVC is working with Maura Horton, a disability diversity and inclusion consultant. Inspired by her husband’s diagnoses with early-onset Parkinson’s disease, Horton, a product design professional, founded MagnaReady, an adaptive apparel company.
“QVC’s livestream vCommerce platforms and relationships give the company a unique opportunity to be a changemaker in this space,” said Horton. “I see QVC as the ideal retailer to curate products and tell human stories that demonstrate the arc of life. I’m pleased to help QVC create safe spaces where people can find the resources they need and feel the security of knowing they are not alone.”