Joy Mangano was born on February 15, 1956, in New York to Italian American parents who owned a school bus and airport shuttle business. As a child, she enjoyed taking apart various products and putting them back together. She enjoyed math and mechanics, and graduated with honors from high school a year early. When she was a teenager, she developed her first invention: a florescent flea collar. Unfortunately, she had no idea how to market or produce her idea, so she did nothing with it. A year later, a pet supply company released a similar product to the market.
In 1989, Joy developed her first invention to become a national success. She was tired of using a regular mop – bending over, ringing the mop out, getting her hands dirty and wet. So, Joy created the Miracle Mop – a mop that allowed the user to wring out the base without touching it or bending. In 1992, she appeared on QVC with her invention and sold 18,000 Miracle Mops in less than 20 minutes. Since then Joy has invented many other products including Huggable Hangers (the best-selling Home Shopping Network (HSN) product to date), Forever Fragrant (breaking the HSN record of most items sold in one day with 180,000 units sold), and My Little Steamer.
This month, a film based on Joy’s life is being released. Directed by David O. Russell, the film Joy stars Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence in the title role, with co-stars Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper and Isabella Rossellini.