“Love gives you the courage to achieve anything!”
When single mom Joy Mangano found herself struggling to support her three young children, she defied the critics, the naysayers and the finger-waggers to invent a mop that’s brought in $10 million a year
Making her way onto the soundstage, Joy Mangano squinted under the bright lights. It all hangs on this moment, she thought, butterflies dancing in her belly. With a deep breath, Joy tried to block out the voices of all the people who’d doubted her, Give up, they echoed. You’ll fail. But her heart had refused to listen.
Suddenly, the camera light blinked on and the broadcast went live to millions of viewers. The room began to spin, but Joy remembered the good-luck hugs from her kids and how—succeed or fail—she was doing this for them. Joy straightened her shoulders, looked into the camera and held up her Miracle Mop.
A better way
Even as a little girl, the Long Island native had a passion for inventing. If the toaster didn’t heat fast enough, she lined it with self-reflecting foil. When her dog cut his paws, she created gauzelined bandage booties.
“There has to be a better way,” Joy would always say.
After she graduated from college and got married in 1978, her passion for inventing was put on the back burner. But 11 years later, her marriage ended in heartache, and Joy had to rely on her ingenuity to make ends meet.
“We’re going to be okay,” Joy promised her three young children, hugging them close.
But soon, she was living paycheck to paycheck, working long hours as an airline reservations manager and a waitress. Barely able to pay the bills, Joy had to get creative—selling homemade wreaths and planning free family outings—to save money and to ensure her kids felt secure.
One afternoon, Joy grabbed a mop to clean up a spill, scowling while wringing out the filthy water with her hands. “There has to be a better way!” Suddenly, a spark reignited in her heart…joy had an idea for a new invention.
Never give up
Joy’s soul lit up as she sketched a design then used household items to create a prototype for a new mop that could be wrung out without getting your hands dirty. And the Miracle Mop was born.
“It will never sell,” naysayers, store managers and even family members said. I know in my heart this will work, I have to try, she told herself. So Joy summoned her courage, dipped into her meager savings and had 100 Miracle Mops manufactured.
Over the next year, despite impossible odds, Joy sold more than 1,000 mops with her passionate demonstrations at trade shows and stores, her kids helping her fulfill orders. But then she pitched the mop to Qvc…and her whole world changed.
Joy was thrilled when the network ordered 5,000 Miracle Mops to sell on air, but the night it debuted, only 500 units sold.
“The host didn’t know how to use it!” Joy told the producers, deeply disappointed.
“That’s why we’re putting you on the air to sell them,” they replied.
Terrified, Joy agreed to get in front of the cameras. But despite her nerves, she sold 18,000 mops in 30 minutes.
That night, Joy hugged her kids. We did
it, we’ll be okay, she beamed. But little did Joy know, they’d be
more than okay. By 2000, her company was selling $10 million worth of Miracle Mops each year!
Today, Joy is one of the most celebrated inventors of her time, and the Oscar-nominated movie
Joy was made about her life. But for her, success isn’t measured by fame or money. “For me, true success is loving others and yourself,” she says. “Love gives you the courage to achieve anything!”
“Always believe in yourself,” says Joy, with her Miracle Mop in 1991.