Homemade Millionaire: One Reject’s Take

by J. J. Cannon

Processing complete (big sigh). Now that my five year old has been sent on her way to p.m. Kindergarten and I have enjoyed a nice lunch while crying my way through yesterday’s Oprah’s Ultimate Favorite Things, I think I am finally ready to provide my two cents on the Friday night Premier episode of Homemade Millionaire.

I tweeted myself silly…along with what seemed like about six other people. I even received a very sweet thank you DM from Kelly herself – Love you Kelly! One of the first things I was wondering as I was watching the show was “where is everyone?”

There has been a lot of commenting over on Tracy’s ProductX blog, along with what seems like a lot of explaining by the winner, Marcy McKenna (me thinks thou doth protest too much).

This first part of my blog post is kind of like what my old boss and I used to call a “therapy letter”. He would write a draft of a letter that would often start out not in the happiest of tones. I would type it up and turn it back over to him and we would hand the letter back and forth to one another with edits until eventually the letter was either never sent, or sent to the round file.

So, without further ado – here’s me sounding a bit pitiful.

I flew to Chicago to attend Kelly Ripa’s “Woman Inventor” casting call with a working prototype of my specialized cleaning tool in my hands and a prayer in my heart. I gave my best pitch… I know some of you have already heard it, and it seems VERY silly now:

“I’m a REAL Housewife in New Jersey – I haven’t been nipped or tucked, and I still clean my own house, which is why I am so excited to tell you about my invention “Grime-Out!” This revolutionary new cleaning tool allows you to simultaneously scrub and rinse those tough to reach areas in the bath…”

See? I even brought my winning personality, which I have been told by many that I do possess, albeit in an often goofballesque fashion. I even write my own material! I also have in my filing cabinet a sealed envelope which I sent to myself certified mail a while back with another idea that’s on the shelf for now.

As it turns out, and I shared this with the folks at Milojo as well, I too come from a family of inventors who have invented very significant things (e.g., Steve Jensen, invented Electronic Ballast for flourescent bulbs; John Christian Jensen, invented the P-Static Precipitator 1936, used on all aircraft today – my father and great grandfather respectively).

Frankly, I think I could kick some pitching ass on HSN and I know a lot of other ladies who could too (ahem, Marianne, Tracy, Ro, Ginny), especially when talking about their own product. But, unfortunately, we didn’t realize that “ready to sell” meant, ready to host.

I do think (after dishing with friends and getting lots of other opinions) that this show would have been better served had it waited to put Marcy McKenna on at a later date, therefore allowing time for the product she submitted for consideration to be, know it sounds crazy… “ready to sell”. There were thousands of women who auditioned for this show who are!

Was Tonya set up to be the black sheep of the first episode? It clearly stated in the application that you needed to have a “working prototype” and to be able to show how it worked. I know this because, since I could not bring a functioning shower with me to Chicago, my husband (not a film maker or producer) shot a demo video in our bathroom which we sent in with an online application. Yes, I applied online AND went to the casting call.

Again – bear with me because I REALLY want to see this show to succeed, but it was tough to watch the curly haired lady giving Tonya and her rollers a hard time due to the fact that THEY are the ones that brought her there! Clearly someone somewhere thought that Tonya and her MagicKurl rollers (not a working prototype) were good enough to make it on the show.

As for Stefany, I think she has a fantastic product that speaks for itself – I don’t think the cuff “barely fit” around her hair, I think she was nervous and her fingers were a little shaky. It seemed so unfair that she was out in the first five minutes of the show!

Where was all of the step by step, through the process help we thought we were going to see? I thought, along with many others, that they would at least entertain us with some fun bloopers from the audition tapes.

Okay – now here’s me with my big girl panties pulled way up:

This is what I know. This is television. No matter how much I love Kelly Ripa (and I do love her) and trust that her intentions for what she wanted to create here were/are good, there are a slew of other folks out there with their hands in it as well. Whether you want to believe it or not, these shows are about two things: entertainment and making money.

Also, cannot forget to mention what I thought was the quote of the show by Marcy that went something like “I’m not gonna have to invent something am I?” Really?

I went to Chicago and I had an experience that I will never forget and because of it, I have launched a business and am doing what I love to do. I am connected with some of the most incredible, empowering women you could ever ask to be included with and am so proud of all of them!

If you audition for a show like this and stake your life and being on it, you will be disappointed every time. We make our own destiny – I know you already know this!

Biggest lesson I think for many: You don’t need to be on a reality television show to be successful. Your target audience is NOT watching this show – your fellow entrepreneurs are.

I will continue to support and look forward to tweeting about the show Friday night – I hope it will gain some momentum and at least put a spotlight on some really fabulous inventors.

My hat is off to ALL of the ladies – Marcy McKenna, Tonya Englebrecht and Stefany DiManno! There is no questioning that you are all winners!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read and share!

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