About Hillary Mendelsohn
About Hillary Mendelsohn
Hillary Mendelsohn is the expert in online shopping and founder of thepurplebook: The Definitive Guide to Exceptional Online Shopping. Contact her at: Hillary@thepurplebook.com.
Imagine walking into a mall that had over 100,000 stores to choose from. Well, that's what millions of people do every day when they shop online. Although Internet search engines are the most common method of navigating the masses of online retailers out there, they tend to direct shoppers to the large retailers - the ones that can afford to advertise and buy "key words" in order to show up on the first page of a search engine return. Our guest today is Hillary Mendelsohn [say men-dell-sun], an expert in online shopping and founder of thepurplebook, considered to be the definitive guide to exceptional online shopping. Hillary spends her time searching for the best online shopping experiences to provide readers with all the coolest, most unique, and highest-quality online shops you probably won't find using a search engine. You can find out more about thepurplebook at thepurplebook.com. Welcome, Hillary! Give us an example of some of the shops you feature in thepurplebook.
Hillary Mendelsohn is founder and president of thepurplebook: The Definitive Guide to Exceptional Online Shopping, which publishes annual resource guides for online shopping.
The idea for thepurplebook occurred to Mendelsohn as she scrolled through hundreds of Internet search engine results while shopping online. As if the overwhelming number of results weren't frustrating enough, the sites listed high on the search return weren't even relevant to what she was looking for. She was certain there had to be a better way shop online.
Well, there wasn't. It was then (in 2000) that Mendelsohn began compiling data for the first edition of thepurplebook. Since then, her comprehensive guide to hard-to-find shops online has received high national visibility, featured in Time, Real Simple, InStyle, People, O Magazine, Redbook, Readers Digest, US New and World Report, and Kiplingers magazines; the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Herald, Investors Business Daily, Women’s Wear Daily, New York Post, and US News newspapers; and on the Today Show, Good Morning America, 20/20, MSNBC, CNN, Tech TV, and TNT’s Makeover and a Movie, just to name a few.
The fourth edition is currently available in bookstores nationwide and is published by Hachette/Time Warner Book Group. In April of 2006, thepurplebook Baby, the first of the specialty books covering maternity through toddler shopping online, made its arrival. The next specialty editions of thepurplebook were released in January ’08 and are entitled thepurplebook Wedding and thepurplebook Green (an eco-friendly online shopping guide).
In addition to the books, magazines, and media, Mendelsohn launched a corporate consulting division of the business, which covers everything from white papers, Web site development for retailers, outsourcing service solution providers, investment companies, and venture capital firms. Specializing in end-to-end consumer experience, her clients include Office Depot, Newgistics, I4Commerce (BillMeLater), Chase Paymentech, Shopzilla, and Shopping.com, in addition to other e-commerce related technology and retail.
Through satellite media tours, media relations, and speaking engagements, Mendelsohn has become a high-valued resource on consumer and retailer trends online. When the media needs an expert in online shopping, they call her.
Mendelsohn also serves as the Executive Director of Team SAFE-T: A California Partnership for Safety and Preparedness. The organization consists of a powerful coalition of partners, including the Department of Education, the Red Cross, FEMA, the California Office of Homeland Security, and the California Office of Emergency Services. Team SAFE-T has worked to create an annual emergency educational program for Kindergarten through 12th grade and a Family Emergency Action Plan, which is currently being implemented throughout the California public school system.
Mendelsohn sits on the Board of Directors of several organizations, including The California Council for Humanities; Children Uniting Nations (CUN), a non profit organization dedicated to providing quality mentoring relationships based on academic achievement for children at risk and in the foster care system; C.O.A.C.H. for Kids, an organization that provides mobile medical units run out of Cedars Sinai Hospital, providing basic health care to children in low income areas of Los Angeles; and NESsT, Nonprofit Enterprise and Self-sustainability Team, helping organizations in developing nations plan for the future.
Prior to the creation of thepurplebook, Mendelsohn headed up Poetic Licensing, LLC, a licensing, merchandising, and marketing firm that worked on high-profile entertainment properties and creative corporate ventures. A graduate of UCLA with a BA in Literature, she is married to Michael Mendelsohn, the founder and CEO of Patriot Pictures, an entertainment financing and production company, and is the mother of two children. Mendelsohn and her family live in Los Angeles.
About thepurplebook ®
thepurplebook was founded in 2000 by Hillary Mendelsohn, whose first late-night attempt at online shopping led her to a revelation – and a new venture.
Having typed a “very specific” query into a search engine, she received no less than 367 matches. Only seven had any relevance. With no available resource guide on the market, Mendelsohn began to create online shopping lists for herself. They proved popular among her friends, so popular, in fact, that Mendelsohn spent three years compiling the ultimate resource, thepurplebook.
A simple guide to hard-to-find online shops
thepurplebook is not an overview of Internet shopping; it is a comprehensive guide that features e-retail sites handpicked by Mendelsohn and her team. You won't find major retail sites listed in thepurplebook unless they offer a special particular product only online, such as Gap's line of maternity clothing.
Ironically, almost all of thepurplebook's research is done off line. Mendelsohn gathers magazines, newspapers and regularly monitors the Internet for new online shops and products. She also accepts suggestions from visitors to her Web site,www.thepurplebook.com.
When she finds a product she likes, she works backwards, locating the manufacturer, the retailer, and finding out if the product is available online. Once a site has been located, she tests the site for user-friendliness, shipping terms, product cost, and product availability. Each listing contains easy-to-understand icons that let readers know right away if a shop really does ship overnight and so on.
thepurplebook helps online business owners and consumers
The shops featured in thepurplebook usually do not have the resources to purchase advertising on or receive favorable treatment from major Internet search engines. When a great new online shop is listed in thepurplebook, its owners are instantly exposed to an entirely committed audience of online shoppers.
For example, one particular shop offered handmade "vintage" football jerseys. Mendelson included the site in thepurplebook and even took a couple of the jerseys with her during an appearance on The Today Show as a sampling of the great products featured in the guide. The following day, the owners of the shop received a call from Sports Illustrated. The once three-person start-up now employs over 50 people and requires a distribution center to keep up with the demand.
Mendelsohn loves both sides of the coin - helping consumers find unique and high-quality products online and helping smaller online businesses receive the recognition they deserve.
Some areas of online shopping are just too large to cover comprehensively in thepurplebook. Therefore, Mendelsohn has published specialty editions of the guide that cover specific areas of interest. The two most recent releases are thepurplebook green, which is a guide to eco-friendly products online, and thepurplebook wedding, which provides brides-to-be with all the best bridal Web sites as well as handy tip sheets, timelines, and other planning materials. Mendelsohn is contemplating a special travel edition and a senior edition for future release.
Annually updated editions highight e-retail trends
Mendelsohn knows long before the big marketing firms which Internet shopping trends are growing and which are retreating. Today, they call her to find out what online shoppers are into.
thepurplebook is updated annually, which means new shops are featured and some are removed. Removal from the guide could be due to a decline in customer service or simply because the site no longer exists. Shoppers get the most up-to-date information in the current printed guide but can search archived data from years past for free at www.thepurplebook.com.