Teamwork Makes Dreamwork!
Patrick Hoy here – and as I’ve said before, Angel and I get to work with the BEST team in the whole world! We are so lucky to have a Quack-Tastic team that we work with every single day! Jeanne Bice really knew what she was doing when she brought us all together.
A lot of people are surprised that since Quacker Factory is on QVC in both America and England, that we must have at least a hundred employees – but that’s not the case – we actually have less than 15 team members! I love our team so much – we really are like a family – and when you love your ‘family’ you want to share them with your friends! This year I’ve been doing a series of blogs where you’ve been able to get to know some of the wonderful people on the Quacker Factory team. Earlier in the year I introduced you to one of our Designers John Shrader – so this month I wanted to introduce you to another one of our Designers who I just know you’re going to love!
Meet Diane McKenna!
I absolutely adore Diane! She’s an incredible designer – and I know so many of you love the items she’s designed for you – and I’m willing to bet that you’ve received many compliments when you’ve decorated yourselves in her beautiful tops!
I love it when I come to QVC USA for shows – especially our live audience shows. Not only do I get to meet so many of you – but since Diane lives just down the road from the studios, I get to see her as well! I recently caught up with Diane and asked her a few questions so that you could all get to know her better.
Patrick: Hello Diane! I’m so excited to be spending time with you again – and I’m super excited that our viewers are going to get to find out all of the magic that you do for Quacker Factory! First things first – tell us what you do for Quacker Factory?
Diane: Hello Patrick – and everyone! I’m one of the newest members of our fun team. I started working with Jeanne & Susan in March 2010 – I honestly can NOT believe that it’s been over 7 years now – as they say, time really does fly when you’re having a ball! I’m a Design Artist. This means that I get to help come up with the designs that our customers see when you and Angel are on QVC – and I LOVE what I do!
Patrick: We love what you do too! I know you have quite an extensive background in Design. Can you share with us what you were doing before you starting working with our quacky and wacky team – and how did you get the job with us?
Diane: In a roundabout way, I actually got the job thanks to two social media sites – Facebook and LinkedIn. Seriously! A few months ago you introduced our viewers to Kristy Destefano. Kristy & I had worked together many years ago at another fashion company called Eagle’s Eye. At Eagle’s Eye, I designed embellished sweaters. That was my first job out of college – and I worked for them for over 6 years. Kristy worked there as well at that time – in fact, we both had been to Hong Kong together with that job – which was great fun. Of course, at the time we worked there, Facebook – and other social media platforms – didn’t exist – so when we both left Eagle’s Eye, we had lost touch with each other. In fact, it had been over 14 years since we had worked together – but thanks to Facebook – and the business networking site called LinkedIn – we found each other after all of those years. How cool is that?!
Patrick: As you know Diane, I LOVE Facebook – and I love keeping in touch with all of our viewers and customers between shows – so I definitely think it’s VERY cool that you two found each other again after all of those years thanks to Facebook!
Diane: After Kristy and I reconnected, she sent me a message and asked me if I was still designing – because Quacker Factory and Jeanne Bice were looking to add a Designer to the team.
Patrick: But I hear that you were designing for a children’s wear line…
Diane: That is true. For over 10 years, I worked for Flapdoodles and designed their children’s line. That was so much fun! It was especially fun when I became pregnant for the first time with my child Stephanie – because the company asked me to do a whole baby line! After I had my 2nd child Matt, I left Flapdoodles and had my 3rd child. I was then a stay-home mom for 3 ½ years. When I was looking to come back to work, Kristy and I reconnected – and voila, I’ve been working with Quacker Factory for over 7 years now!
Patrick: So that means that you got to meet and work with Jeanne. What was that like?!
Diane: I got to work with our lovely Jeanne for a good year and a half before she joined the angels in heaven. It was really exciting. I’m so grateful that she and I got to spend time together – because she really taught and showed me her vision of Quacker Factory during that time. Here’s one of my favorite pictures of the two of us!
Patrick: I LOVE that picture of the two of you Diane! What are some of your memories of working with Jeanne?
Diane: Patrick, she was SO happy – every time I saw here – and that’s how I am as well – and I think that’s why we got on so well. We both loved making people happy – and we loved doing that through designing happy clothes for our gals. I think Jeanne was happy with me because she felt I was able to help bring her design ideas to life with my artwork. Jeanne was so darn positive – and not just on air – ball of the time.
Patrick: I think you’re 100% right about that. I also thought that she was so darn funny!
Diane: Oh my gosh – you hit the nail on the head! She really was extremely funny. She was a fun-loving person – and she made me laugh and smile all of the time. I remember meeting her for the first time and she made me feel like a million bucks. The first thing she said was – “Oh my gosh Diane, aren’t you a cutie – we’re going to get on well – I can just tell!”
Patrick: I can totally see her saying that – you ARE a cutie! And not only did you get to work with Jeanne, but you got to start working with the other members of our incredible Design Team.
Diane: I love, love, LOVE our team Patrick – we’re the luckiest people in the world to have such a fantastic team. I love it how not only do we work during the day – but we also really enjoy spending time with each other outside of work.
Patrick: That’s so true! Here’s a picture of some of us after a long meeting one day at our DreamJeannes design office in New York City. After our full day of meetings, we all headed over to the beautiful Grand Central Station and had a fun dinner at the world-famous oyster bar restaurant there!
Patrick: I bet our readers would love to learn about the process you follow when you and the Design Team are coming up with new designs.
Diane: I love to share that with everyone. The first thing we do is to meet and we all decide on some design ideas that we think our viewers might fall in love with. Once those ideas are decided on, I go back to my design studio and start thinking of ways that I can bring those ideas to life. I have lots of books from our production partners are FULL of different embellishments – i.e. sequins, rhinestones, studs, etc. As I go through those beautiful books, I find lots of inspiration. I really love the developmental – or creative – part of my job. We go on shopping trips and Trend Trips to see what is happening in the marketplace in regard to fashion, colors, embellishments and new designs. All of that helps to inspire me to come up with new items that hopefully our customers will fall in love with. I personally love embroidery – so it’s fun to see what new threads and colors and techniques are happening. The last 6 months I’ve also been involved more on the technical side of design. Things like how the garments fit on a woman’s body – especially when you put all of the embellishments on the items. This has really helped me understand how the garment is going to really look when our customers get them home and wear them. Also as part of the developmental part of designing, we look at what our customers have loved in the current year – so that we can expand on what we already know they want more of. For instance, during the Christmas holiday season, our customers have told us that they especially love the nativity scene tops we’ve done – so we’re looking at potentially adding another one this year! Once we figured out all of the ‘technical’ stuff, I then go to my studio and start working.
Patrick: Tell us what happens then.
Diane: The first thing Patrick I do is find out the measurements specifications because I have to know what size area of the overall item I get to have fun and decorate – because there is only so much space to work with to place embellishments. Once I’ve figured that out, I get to do the fun part of coming up with concepts. Let’s say that one of our ‘concepts’ is witches for our Fall-O-Ween collection. John and I might come up with 5 options of a witch – but in the end, only one is used. I come up with rough sketches and then send those to the team. Once those are approved, I start the artwork (specific rhinestones, sequins, colors, etc.) and do a detailed workup of my ideas. I can do this either on paper – or on a computer – but I personally prefer the old-fashioned way of sketching it on paper! Once I’ve done that part of the process, I send it to our production partner where they create what is on paper into an actual garment/item. We call this first piece a ‘sample’ – and this is similar to what you and Angel will show on air. This sample is then sent back to us – and then Susan and her team take the sample into our wonderful QVC Buying team during our monthly Sales Meetings. In those meetings, the Buyer knows how many different items they need for each month – so not everything we show them is picked up in that month – but it MIGHT be picked up in another month.
Patrick: WOW – that’s a LOT of work – but it sounds FUN! I heard that at one of these Buyer’s meetings, you and the team got to meet someone famous at QVC?!
Diane: We did!! We were in a meeting showing items for our Fall-O-Ween show – and during one of the breaks, we walked out to the studios and got to meet Nick Cannon – I almost fainted!
Patrick: Oh my gosh – that is so cool – luck you!! Okay Diane, when you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Diane: I was actually a ballerina for 10 years – but even though I loved it, that wasn’t what I wanted to be. And I didn’t know I wanted to be a designer & artist until my senior year in high school. I did a drawing in my art class – and my teacher was impressed and told me that I should follow my artistic tendencies because she thought I was a ‘natural’ – whatever that is – and she recommended a school for me to go to. I had not intended to go to that school – remember, it was my senior year – and I had my mind up to go elsewhere – but with her persistence, I changed my mind and went to Philadelphia College of Textiles & Sciences – which is now known as Philadelphia University. I majored in Textile Design with a minor in Color Science. And now I’m doing what I do all based on my art teacher in 12th grade – how interesting is that?! It makes you see the value of how much a teacher really can play an effect on a student with one simple suggestion!
Patrick: That is a wonderful story Diane! I didn’t realize that you got a degree in Textile Design – that must be why you play such a big role in a lot of the new ‘printed’ fabrics that we’ve used in the last few years – like our animal printed fabrics.
Diane: You are absolutely correct about that Patrick. I really do love seeing how we can add prints and new colors into our happy line of clothing!
Patrick: Tell us about your lovely family, please.
Diane: I’ve been married for 20 years as of April – but my husband and I have been together for 29 years in total! We have three wonderful children. Stephanie is 17 now and we’re already starting to look at colleges. She is on the crew team and plays soccer. Matthew is 15. He plays football and basketball – and also baseball. And then Emily, my ‘baby, is 12 years old. She also loves playing sports – basketball, volleyball, soccer and softball. Yes Patrick, I’m surrounded by jocks and jock-ettes – I really am the spitting image of a suburban Soccer Mom – and I am so proud of them! You have no idea how crazy it is to coordinate all of the games and schedules – but I love it and am so proud of each of them!
Patrick: You really do have a beautiful family. Here are some pictures of all of you – just look at the love in all of your eyes!
Patrick: I particularly love this picture of the kids on the beach!
Patrick: If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Diane: I would definitely use that wand and find a cure for cancer. I’m happy to share with you that I am 11 years’ cancer-FREE!!! I had third stage cancer – so 11 years’ cancer free is the BEST gift in the world I’ve ever been given! I learned that life is precious and that EVERY single second, minute, day, week & year counts.
Patrick: That is Quack-Tabulous news about being 11 years’ cancer free Diane! Here’s a picture of you a few years ago when you ran the Race For A Cure event. I’m so impressed – and I know so many of our viewers are as well!
Patrick: If you won the Lottery, what would you do?
Diane: How much are we talking Patrick – the 2-doller scratch & win – or the millions?!
Patrick: The millions – of course! Jeanne Bice said to always DREAM BIG!
Diane: Ha – in that case, I would pay off all of my debts – and all of the debts of those nearest and dearest to me. And then I would use some of that money to make some smart long-term investments. And I would give money to my church. And then for fun – I would travel for 6 whole months with my family!
Patrick: That all sounds great to me! Where would you travel to??
Diane: Hawaii, Disney & the Caribbean Islands. I would move to the Caribbean Islands – it would be fun to lve on a Carribean Island. Oh heck Patrick, maybe I would move to England and hang out with you!!
Patrick: I would love that!! Now I REALLY hope that you win the Lottery! We could get you to come to London and design a fun Quacker Factory top just for the Queen of England! Now finally Diane, what is your favorite QVC product – and why?
Diane: I’m going to tell you a little secret Patrick. I have an obsession with boots and handbags – so I’m ALWAYS on the lookout for the latest boots and handbag trends on QVC. I have to hide them from my hubby – but shhhhhhh, please don’t tell him!
Patrick: Ha – your secret is definitely safe with me! Thank you so much Diane for sitting down with me!
One Team – One Dream!
I hope you all enjoyed getting to know Diane – isn’t she wonderful?! Join me next month when I introduce you to someone who knew Jeanne longer than anyone else on our team!
Quacker Hugs & Love From Across the Duck Pond!
Patrick H. Hoy
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