JOY: Business Inspiration In a Little Mop

An Ode to 'Joy'
A Movie Review


First of all let’s start with her name – Joy. Someone once told me, “Genein, God doesn’t care about your happiness because that‘s fleeting and built on things and situations. God cares about your joy, because that is what’s sustaining throughout it all.”


Which is why she – and this film- was aptly named Joy. Throughout it all, even though frustrations did arise, I believed she held on to her joy. It might have shown itself as other emotions at times; determination, disappointment, or exhaustion but though it may have seemed latent, it does not mean it was no longer there. Here are some life and business principals I extracted from the film which was loosely based on inventor, Joy Mangano.


A Negative = A Positive
Transmuting a Negative Situation into a Productive Idea

Shattered glass and a mop. I highly doubt Joy was the first woman on this Earth to deal with that painful combination yet, unlike the many others that bled before her, she looked at her blood stained hands and thought, “There has to be a better way.” That’s the defining difference between going through life accepting what comes your way as truth or intentionally creating the circumstances that need to be in place to be successful. The scene where her mop is horribly displayed on QVC for the first time exemplifies this point even more. When the executive lamented, “I’m sorry, it didn’t sell. I’m so sorry.” Joy matter of factly replied, “I don’t accept that answer,” and proceeded to create an unprecedented situation of a non-celebrity selling a product on QVC. Turning negative occurrences into positive results will always lead to you to higher heights. Always.


No Taxation Without Representation

When Joy went to seek out an investor, they used the investor’s lawyer to check for any preexisting patents on the mop. This one mistake, not hiring her own lawyer – or at least getting a second opinion- cost her much heartache throughout the duration of the film. This same downfall is what kept R&B group TLC broke and bankrupted Toni Braxton. By not having your own representation, your interests are not the primary concern of their lawyers and a conflict of interests is a conflict you can do without.


Do Your Due Diligence: Seek Wisdom

By the time Joy hit rock bottom and it seemed like she lost it all, she realized she had one thing left – her brain. Instead of trusting only what everyone else said around her, she decided to research patent law herself and contact the alleged ‘patent owner’ of the mop. Like Ray Charles’ mother always proclaimed, “Scratch a lie, find a thief,” that’s exactly what Joy found. This one event concluded that she was able to acquire what she needed to learn in order to protect her ideas and become a successful inventor and entrepreneur. She reclaimed her power and reinstalled her faith that she is indeed capable. Upon this realization, it was then and only then, when she became unstoppable.

The real Joy Mangano in 1996 selling her mop on QVC. The real Joy Mangano in 1996 selling her mop on QVC.

It’s a Family Affair

As seen with her older half sister, not everyone is out for your good and sometimes it’s necessary to keep even family members out of your inner circle if they become toxic to your vision. But at the same time, when you find people who will go to bat for you, who will fight for you or act a fool in a KMART parking lot to help you sell some mops, you keep those people close.  Be very careful of the company you keep!


I Sat Where They Sat

I love how the film ends with Joy, in her CEO chair, speaking to a young timid couple, cradling a baby, showcasing an innovative idea for a lint roller. She knew, through an empathetic connection, what that young woman was thinking, “Is this actually going to work? What are the next steps? Where’s the money coming from? Do they think my idea is stupid?” With Joy as her mentor, the young lady can bypass the unnecessary pitfalls Joy ultimately had to endure. Now, the couple will have their own set of struggles, and rightly so because struggles help build character and resilience, but mentorship is critical to go to that next level effectively.


A Coach’s PRICELESS Recommendation

This was a fascinating movie 'inspired' by a struggling single mother who invented the Miracle Mop and subsequently executed many other successful entrepreneur pursuits. Joy Mangano, who is now a multimillionaire, is a clear example of the strength of persistence, the tenacity of resilience and the power of creativity. I’m grateful for my coach and mentor, Coach T, for knowing that this movie was exactly what I needed at this stage in the game.


Dream on!


Joy: Movie Trailer