PaperCity Magazine

May 2015 - Dallas

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MAY | PAGE 27 | 2015 house is buzzing with activity. O'Banion, dressed in a navy stripe silk dress by Tome, is having her lipstick retouched and hair fluffed by a makeup artist, while a stylist fusses with the dress's belt. When a photographer's assistant moves a heavy piece of equipment out of the way, O'Banion instinctively bends down to help. Earlier, I'd seen her kick off her high heels and haul a chair upstairs in case it was needed for a shot. She has a knack for being both the star and part of the team, a trait that has won her over with television viewers. Says Deutsch, "On HSN, you need that connection with the audience at home that says 'We're sisters, we're friends', or no one will buy what you're selling." To the 110 million viewers on HSN, O'Banion is almost like family. "When I was first pregnant with Gracie, not even my mother knew yet," she says. "People were calling in, asking, 'Is Jamie pregnant?'" Customer feedback is so important to O'Banion that it's become part of the research and development. She reads their comments and requests on beauty forums, and viewers will often tweet requests for new products during the show. "I talked for an hour and a half to a woman who called my office," says O'Banion. Customer demand for a firming body cream led the company to research one using ingredients found in its lifting eye cream. It joined the line in February. "If you listen to your customers," she says, "your business can't help but grow." On air at HSN's Fort Lauderdale headquarters, O'Banion is poised, coiffed and bubbly. She's also sleep-deprived. "When I'm live on HSN, I'll launch at midnight on a Tuesday night, and I'm on the show every two hours until 11 pm the next night," she says. "I won't get back to the hotel until 2 am Thursday." There will have been days of preparation beforehand, making sure product arrives to the studio, and she'll often stay after the show to help inspect orders before they ship out. She has been doing this crazy schedule for years, and when the company launches in the UK, she'll be traveling even more. The money, the attention, the time spent away from family — how does she keep it in perspective? "Changing diapers. It's so humbling to be a parent," she says. "I've never known what it's like to run my own business without kids." She has help — a housekeeper, and a personal assistant who arrives in the mornings so that O'Banion can spend time with the kids before work. By most standards, the O'Banions are a high-achieving family. Earlier this year, Melbourne climbed Africa's tallest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro — part of a yearly commitment to challenge himself with something new, he says. All three children have French and Chinese language tutors who come to the house regularly. Nine-year-old Benton has read the entire Harry Potter series, and brings home several new books each week from the library. Privilege and affluence are balanced with daily chores — they make their beds and their lunches — and Monday nights are family nights "with lessons and Bible stories," O'Banion says. "We have quiet time every day, without TV, and we don't do iPads during the week." They sing a family cheer every day, reminding them that O'Banions are honest and kind, and they do service projects at the church. "I'm a devout Christian, and no matter how tired I am at night, I read scriptures," says O'Banion, who also mentors a group of teen girls at the church on Wednesday nights. "Having been through a lot with my brother as a special-needs child, the important things in life are very clear to me. When my priorities are in order, that's a good life." Alasdair top and pant, at Shop Canary. Fernando Jorge opal diamond ring, at Grange Hall.

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