A QVC ‘Emmy’ for area native

Suzy Hassan Traynor awarded best on-air personality honor

HONORS FOR FORMER LOCAL RESIDENT — Suzy Traynor, the daughter of Siham Hassan of Steubenville and the late Ahmad Hassan, received the Q Star Guest Excellence award as best on-air personality at QVC from among more than 1,200 celebrities and on-air personalities. The QVC Star Awards presentation was made March 24. The Guest Excellence Award “is given to an on-air guest who exemplifies QVC’s brand through our ‘Focus on Her’ sales philosophy, demonstrated by elevating content to generate broad-based viewer enthusiasm and enriching her experience on air, while driving customer engagement off air via social platforms,” notes information from QVC. Traynor is shown with her award. -- Contributed

When Suzy Traynor accepted her award as best on-air personality on the QVC shopping network based in West Chester, Pa., she thanked her mother in Steubenville.

“I gave a speech at the event in which I thanked my mom first, of course,” said Traynor. “I said she is my No. 1 fan, and she watches every single show. I joked that she even watches when I’m on in the middle of the night at 3:15 a.m. and texts me ‘Great job! I like your outfit,’ to which I reply, ‘Mom, what are you still doing up?!'”

Traynor, the daughter of Siham Hassan of Steubenville and the late Ahmad Hassan, said her mother always advocated “I should either be in TV or be a lawyer because I talk too much!”

On TV she is, quite comfortably at home in her work featured on the world’s leading video and e-commerce retailer as Suzy Traynor, the surname being her married/stage name.

The QCV Star Awards event was held March 24, according to Traynor, who was named best on-air personality at QVC among more than 1,200 celebrities and on-air personalities.

“The award is called the Q Star Guest Excellence award, which is their version of the Emmy’s,” she explained. “In fact, among the four nominees in my category was celebrity Lisa Rinna.”

Rinna is best known for her roles as Billie Reed on the NBC daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives” and Taylor McBride on Fox’s television drama “Melrose Place.”

The guest excellence award “is given to an on-air guest who exemplifies QVC’s brand through our ‘Focus on Her’ sales philosophy, demonstrated by elevating content to generate broad-based viewer enthusiasm and enriching her experience on air, while driving customer engagement off air via social platforms,” notes information from QVC.

Its nomination commentary on Traynor reads:

“QVC’s sales philosophy is to deliver informative content in an engaging, friendly and conversational manner. Suzy Traynor is a master of this delivery and has a flair for connecting with the QVC customer.

“Suzy has primarily presented vacuums and air multiplier products such as fans, heaters and air purifiers within the household category. She has been an outstanding guest, exemplifying QVC’s ‘backyard-fence’ philosophy while educating the customer on Dyson products.

“Suzy continued to embrace this philosophy as she introduced Dyson’s first-ever hair dryer. She gladly accepted the challenge, joining forces with the beauty category team, learning all about the Supersonic Hair Dryer and how to present it most effectively for a November launch. Her enthusiasm, coupled with her vast product knowledge and expertise, helped customers make informed purchases. The Supersonic Hair Dryer achieved $6.8 million in sales and averaged a 3.9 star rating with 109 of the 170 reviews being five stars.

“With her enthusiasm and her vast product knowledge, Suzy has earned the respect and admiration of our customers and our QVC team.”

Traynor, a 2000 graduate of Steubenville High School, noted Dyson’s unveiling of the new hair dryer called the Supersonic “meant I was now the on-air beauty expert as well as home expert. I even went to Hollywood to shoot several beauty videos for the global launch.”

Posting on her Facebook page, Traynor noted “What an incredible night!” after having received the award.

“Completely honored and humbled to receive the QVC Q Star award for Best On Air Personality, the Guest Excellence Award. It’s like our Emmy’s. While the award seems singular, I truly couldn’t do it alone and certainly not without my biggest fan, my mom, who watches every single show, and my biggest supporter, my incredible husband, who deals with my crazy hours. To my Q friends, you all deserve this just as much as I do, and I think you are all truly incredibly talented. You are my friends, but more so you are my family.”

Traynor — who lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Kris — has been a QVC staple for more than six years now, a role that has her in front of the cameras as well as behind them.

It’s a job she loves, albeit one she came into indirectly and unintentionally.

“I started my career in television news working as both an anchor and reporter before hopping into the hosting hot seat,” Traynor explained, “but instead of applying somewhere to be a host, I decided to take the bull by the horns and produce and co-host my own live morning talk show in south Florida, ‘Live with Lisa and Suz.'”

Traynor explained in a previous interview that it was a major decision to launch her own talk show in Naples, Fla., “but sometimes you have to go out and create the job you want.”

It would not be effort wasted.

“Soon after my show in Florida aired, I received an opportunity to work with Dyson as its on-air guest for QVC,” she said. “I have been with Dyson for six years as the primary on-air guest. When I got the call saying I was going to go from being a local TV host to stepping onto a national stage, I almost dropped my phone. This was a dream come true,” Traynor said.

Although representing Dyson is her main role with QVC, she has done “just about every job there is in television. I have been the main talent in national commercials, including commercial voice-over work,” explained Traynor, who studied broadcast journalism at Kent State University, where she minored in writing. “I have been in training videos and helped direct b-roll shoots,” she said.

And part of her job is working very closely with QVC buying teams and vendors, all of them always looking for new products, according to Traynor, who sees Lori Greiner of “Shark Tank” often and works with teams under Mark Cuban, also part of the cast of “Shark Tank.”

“Shark Tank” is a reality show that airs on ABC where “the sharks,” according to its website, are “tough, self-made, multi-millionaire and billionaire tycoons” who “continue their search to invest in the best businesses and products that America has to offer.”

In an initial correspondence with the Herald-Star, Traynor said she’d like to open herself to accepting and looking at products and ideas from area residents to help them out if possible. She emphasized, however, that she’s not an investor. “I’m just in a great position to place hard-working people and their products in front of people of influence and help them get together.”

Traynor said QVC has broadcast operations in the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, France and a joint venture in China.

“QVC reaches approximately 100 million U.S. homes, and when it comes to what it can do for businesses, it’s a powerhouse,” she said. “QVC broadcasts live 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the United States, which means I can be on air at various times throughout the day. QVC brings the creators and inventors directly into customers’ homes and provides a channel for two-way communication,” she said.

“While the show is going live, I am getting real-time feedback in my ear-piece telling me what customers are responding to. This means I am constantly tailoring each show to that audience in real time, so while the core messaging of presenting an item may be the same, no show is ever the same show twice,” Traynor said.

Interacting with customers is something she especially enjoys.

“One of my favorite parts of the job is talking to customers who call in or engage with the show through social media,” she said. “It’s great to be able to connect so intimately with customers.”

“Before the show airs, I help create rundowns and work with other show hosts, producers, directors and camera crews,” she said. “I also help go over set design and help my team work on new demonstrations to showcase on air. I also shoot ‘how-to-use’ videos to help customers understand how to use products once they get them home.”

Traynor said QVC gives entrepreneurs and brands the opportunity to grow their business and expand their reach. “Anywhere else, you are a product on a shelf or a picture on a website, but at QVC you have the opportunity to connect directly with the customer to share the incredible story behind your product,” she said.

“Part of my job is to work closely with QVC’s buying teams and to prepare for the launch of new items and continue to refine how we’re presenting current items to the customer,” she said. “For example, to better serve the customer, we may find we need to add more demonstrations, use clearer verbiage or change the design of the set to create the best show possible for viewers.”

Through her work, Traynor has occasion to “see stars,” including Rinna, Rachel Ray, Emeril Lagasse, and Isaac Mizrahi

QVC debuts on average 26 new items per day, according to Traynor.

“Even with this staggering number, QVC’s merchandising teams are always looking for new products and inspiration to bring to customers,” she said, adding, “One of the most rewarding parts about my job is the ability to help others with all of the connections I have gained. I have friends who contact me all of the time with their ideas and products, and I always help answer their questions and make connections.”

She can be contacted through her “Suzy Traynor for Dyson on QVC” public Facebook page.

In addition to her QVC work, a recent endeavor has included writing a children’s book recently published.

“Little Angry Donut” is “a hilarious donut trying his best not to get eaten. Will his clever attempt to steer attention away from him and on to fruits and vegetables work? Great book for starting the conversation with children about healthy eating habits,” reads the back cover.

Traynor said she is finishing the second book in the series, “Little Angry Donut Shares with Sandy Sandwich.” “I’m hoping to come back and read them to Steubenville City Schools,” she said.

(Kiaski can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)