Joy Mangano. Inventor. Entrepreneur. Inspiration for the 2015 film Joy.
And former customer of The Jones Family of Companies.
Mangano was a working, divorced single mother of three when she had the idea to design a self-wringing mop. After she dropped a glass of wine and cut her hands on the broken glass while trying to clean up the mess, she found herself inspired. She went on to create a prototype, which she sold locally on Long Island. After a modest success, she moved her operations to her father’s shop. This was where her facilities were located when she first met Andrew Dailey, Vice President at Jones, in 1996.
Dailey recalls the look of her shop.
“Joy was set up in the side room of her father’s auto body shop. The design of her machinery was interesting. What struck me most was that these mops were made completely by hand.”
A worker stood at a machine with a hand-crank that went down to a small chain drive to a piece of flat iron with a bolt at each approximately 18-20 inches apart. The yarn was attached to a peg. As the worker turned the crank, the yarn was turned out. The worker would crank 300 feet of yarn and then gather it into a bundle, tying up one end with a zip tie.
The next part of the process was attaching the mop head to the handle. The end of the yarn that was bundled with the zip tie was inserted into a plastic cap and held with a cotton pin. The yarn’s backpressure held the pin in place. This resulted in a mop with a bonnet of yarn and a piece of its handle that could be pulled down over the mop’s head and twisted, thus wringing out the mop with no skin contact to the yarn. The head could be detached from the handle and washed. This was Mangano’s first design to patent; she called it her Miracle Mop.
For eight months, the standard cotton yarn that Mangano used in her mops came from Jones Yarn, with Jones selling her approximately ¾ million pounds of yarn during their business relationship. Viewers of the film Joy can see pallets of yarn, but because Jones’ relationship with Mangano was solid from the perspective of both parties, it is not portrayed in the film.
At this time, the only available options were handle-standard mops, which were $3-4 in range. Mangano discovered television malls were gaining in popularity, and after a bad attempt by her first salesman, Mangano took over herself. She sold her Miracle Mops on QVC for $19.95, selling 18,000 mops in her first half-hour. Retail outlets picked up the mop, and her company has sold as many as $10 million in mops per year in the years to follow.
Today, the Miracle Mop comes in five colors and no longer uses cotton, but the price is still $19.95. Mangano has now patented over 100 products, including Huggable Hangers, Forever Fragrant, the Clothes It All Luggage System, and Shade Readers. She has gone on to have a successful career, in which The Jones Family of Companies is proud to have played a role.
Years ago, Dailey thought Mangano was just an ordinary Jones customer until he was sitting at home, changing channels on his television and caught sight of her selling her merchandise.
He recently had that same experience when he saw the trailer for the movie Joy.
“I was sitting with my family around Christmas and a movie trailer came on television. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as I realized the film was based on the life of one of my former customers at Jones Yarn.”