In an age of Instagram influencers and social media tycoons, Joseph Segel was a pioneer, forever changing the way the world shops. Way before the advent of online shopping and two-hour delivery at the click of a button, Joe had a vision to transform the way society acted as consumers. He paved the way for how we utilize shopping tools and outlets today.
Born into the hard-working roots of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Joe was a true businessman as founder of an endless number of different companies, including the Franklin Mint. Hands down, Joe’s biggest claim to fame was creating the television-shopping phenomenon QVC. Established in 1986, QVC stood for Quality, Value, Convenience—and the acronym didn’t fall short on living up to its meaning.
Joe created the powerhouse shopping network in response to his belief that he could improve upon the Home Shopping Network, and he did just that. His hosts were engaging, he was the first to institute “gaming” in order to keep audiences engaged, and the many people who knew, worked with, and came in contact with Joe were forever touched by his presence.
Not only was Joe an entrepreneur ahead of his time, he also served as a philanthropist and one of the earliest members of Philabundance, a chapter of Feeding America based in his hometown of Philadelphia. Joe was also a social beacon of hope, providing more jobs to his community than had ever been seen. And, last but not least, he was a family man, who instilled his beliefs, work ethic, and wisdom in his children.
Marvin Segel, Joseph’s son, sat down with BELLA to shed a little more light on his father’s legacy and his influence on the world.
To begin with, I am so sorry for your loss. Your father was truly an inspiration to many.
Thanks. We knew a few weeks before his death that the end was near, and so did my father. He was prepared. He even stated while lying there in bad … “I have no regrets!” He truly had a great life and enjoyed what he did throughout.Joseph was determined to revolutionize the way people shop and to improve upon outlets already in place.
What was something unique that he implemented with QVC to set himself apart?
If you could go back in time 30+ years, TV shopping was very disorganized and a little dishonest.As an example, no shopping channel ever showed the shipping and handling charges on the screen. My father wanted QVC to do that—one executive even left the company over this issue. But he was right! He always wanted to do what was right for the customer. He also wanted QVC to be more informative and less high-pressure sales.
In addition to QVC, your father founded an array of other companies, including the Franklin Mint. How did he manage to juggle it all, and what was it about him that allowed him to conquer so many different business ventures?
My father was laser-focused on one company at a time and very quickly would know almost all there is to know about that company and the industry. It was not 22 companies at one time, but one company done right every time.
Would you share with us some of the last words of wisdom he imparted on his family in his final moments?
In his final days, he said to my daughter, Devon, “Forget the margins. Be brave. Bold marketing is what cuts through the noise.” Think about how profound that statement is!
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