By Steven Feldman So, when I got the call I was a bit confused. “Christina is doing her first branded flooring line.”
“Who is Christina?”
“You know, Christina from HGTV.”
It seemed Steve from FCNews was the only person on the planet who didn’t know who Christina from HGTV was. But apparently the 20 million people who watch her shows every year do—and a whole lot more, I eventually learned.
“You can have the exclusive if you’ll come to Southern California and interview her.”
I Googled “Christina” and “HGTV.” The results astounded me. To say she was attractive would be an understatement. “OK. I’m in.” (I’m only a man.)
I asked some friends if they ever heard of this Christina from HGTV because I would soon be interviewing her. The reactions varied, but they all told me about this “flip flop” show she had with her husband—who was now her ex-husband—and some contractor. Why anyone could do a show about flip flops was beyond me, and why HGTV would air it was even more perplexing. I would soon learn that the show was about flipping houses and not about summer footwear.
But to be honest, I was still wondering about this flooring line. I mean, I’m a New Yorker; I’m skeptical. I’ve seen brands like Liz Claiborne, Laura Ashley, Martha Stewart and Kathy Ireland come and go. Why would this be any different?
As I Googled “Flip or Flop” and “Christina” to discover what her connection to flooring might be, all I found were things I’d read in the tabloids. Truth be told: I’m not interested in my best friends’ lives, let alone my own, so why would I be interested in some stranger’s mishegoss? My research ended there.
So, I travel to Newport Beach where I meet Christina to talk about this forthcoming Christina Collection. No last name—not because she doesn’t have one; she actually has a few. But for now, I’m thinking Madonna. Beyonce. Liberace. Fabio. Charo. Apparently one name is enough. (I’m still skeptical, by the way.)
So, I meet this Christina from HGTV for an early dinner. The onset is like the first of a 12-round boxing match. A jab here, a dink and dunk there. We’re feeling each other out. She in her sunglasses, me asking questions as meaningless as “Pfizer or Moderna?”
Then, the New Yorker in me comes out. “OK. Full disclosure: No disrespect, but I don’t watch HGTV and really don’t know anything about you. Tell me about yourself; why are you launching a flooring line; why will it be successful?” It’s round 2. The kid gloves are off.
She removes her sunglasses, smiles and says, “It’s fine that you don’t know me. I’ll start from the beginning.” Call me crazy, but it was at that moment that I felt I was talking to a real person. She starts by telling me how when she got married eight years ago, she was broke. She would share a Subway sandwich with her husband for dinner. I realized she wasn’t this attractive, privileged, SoCal TV personality. She was you and me. We’ve all been there.
She told me about how she pitched a TV show to HGTV about flipping houses. Most people thought she was nuts. Apparently, HGTV was just as nuts because they bit. Christina’s role was to refresh the houses for a quick resale. It was here where she learned she had design skills. More importantly, she had this innate desire to help families and provide solutions at reachable price points. She kept talking about design and performance. Family. Solutions. Affordable. I began to see she was real.
Somehow we started talking about a much less interesting topic—me. She said she was told about FCNews, its value, how it could help her, how it was the best industry newspaper, how amazing I was, yada yada. I told her as great as my professional life had been, my personal life was that much a s*%t show. She looked at me with a big smile and burst out, “Me too!” And then I knew for sure she was real.
She proceeded to talk about her kids that always spilled something on her floor, her Rottweiler that would use her floor as a bathroom and how she needed a floor that could withstand all of these mishaps. I realized she was not only real, a designer and TV personality, but she was the customer who walks into your store every day.
She had learned about waterproof flooring (SPC/rigid) from her TV shows and realized it was the right solution for families like hers—and your customers. She proceeded to tell me how she always wanted a branded line but was waiting until she found products that met her design standards. The Christina Collection is it. There are 21 SKUs that she handpicked, some of the best styling you’ll find in an SPC line.
Here’s why this is important to you: We talked about her reach, and she really didn’t have a concrete number off the top of her head. But she posted something on Instagram in front of me, and within 10 minutes she had over 300,000 views. She’ll be talking about the Christina Collection on Instagram. She will also be talking about it on her shows, including the flip flop one that attracts 20 million viewers annually. And then I knew she was capable of building this brand more effectively than any manufacturer could (without spending hundreds of millions of dollars). Think Pergo. Think Stainmaster.
Months after we met, I still don’t watch the flip flop show. I still don’t know the tabloid trash. I still don’t care. I’ll tell you what I do know: Christina from HGTV with the many last names has come up with a designer SPC line that will have more exposure to your target customer than most any other line. And then I knew it was a home run.