Southern Charm's Craig Conover Is Taking His Whimsical Pillow Designs to HSN
"It's the biggest accomplishment for myself and the Sewing Down South team," the Bravo star tells PEOPLE
Southern Charm fans have watched Craig Conover get his very first sewing machine, discover his love for designing pillows, withstand the constant teasing from his co-stars about it, and finally launch his own brand, Sewing Down South, last year. Now, the Bravo star is taking his design dreams to a whole new level: HSN.
Conover is launching an exclusive collection with the home retail giant, HSN, and is making his first on-air appearance on Wednesday, July 1. "My mom has already asked me when the time slots are. She doesn't want to miss it." Conover tells PEOPLE exclusively when we caught up with him over a Zoom chat about his new collaboration.
After starting Sewing Down South in April 2019, he expanded the pillow-based brand to include nursery items, hats, tees and face masks (for every pack bought, one is donated to local facilities in need). But this 26-piece pillow line for HSN, which includes three different collections (Americana, wild life and aquatic), marks his company's biggest accomplishment to date.
"It's a huge milestone and it's really exciting," says Conover. "I remember watching the movie Joy, and just rooting for [Joy Mangano, founder of the Miracle Mop] throughout the movie and thinking how awesome it would be to one day be on the Home Shopping Network, and reach a platform that big. It's the biggest accomplishment for myself and the Sewing Down South team. It's nerve-wracking. I've never done live TV like this, but it will be a new experience."
His three exclusive HSN collections (with items ranging from $45 to $55) are "more traditional" than what his line typically offers, but still retain his signature bright, colorful prints. He calls his underwater line "carefree and fun" and the animal characters "a little more regal and adventurous," while summers hanging with his family in the backyard were the inspiration for the patriotic collection.
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During his six seasons on Southern Charm, he's regularly been the subject of his castmates' teasing for his sewing abilities.
"Everyone thought I was so absurd [to sew], and I was like, 'Well, I like doing it.' It's okay to do what you love and not follow societal norms just because someone said something was weird or wasn't normal," Conover says. "You only live once, just do whatever you like."
He says former cast member Cameran Eubanks has been his strongest supporter. "Cameran's been my biggest fan, since the beginning. She was the first person I called coming back from HSN headquarters in Florida when all of this was finalized."
As for Shep Rose, who grilled Conover regularly for not pursuing a career in law, he's proud of how far Conover's business has come. "I actually talked to Shep about it yesterday. I know I've told him about it before, but I think he just thought I was saying that eventually, one day I wanted to do HSN. He doesn't listen that well," Conover jokes. "I told him I was going to be on HSN in July and I could hear that he wanted to be like, 'What do you mean you're doing that?' But he was really proud and happy, and a little taken aback at first, because we've seen him in past years, kind of put me down. But now he's excited to support."
In the end, Conover hopes his journey helps others pursue their dreams. "I've always rooted for people, and I want everyone to do well. And hopefully, this encourages people to just be like, 'Look, there's no ceiling here. Just keep going and working hard, and you never know where you'll be.' I know it's not as easy for everyone to be able to take a chance. But I think during quarantine, people were able to take a step back and be like, 'You know what? I always wanted to do this,' and maybe they were able to give it a shot."
While he was at home self-isolating amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, he says he spent a lot of time sewing, making face masks and thinking about what's next for his brand. He dreams of creating items for "the whole house" one day.
You can watch Conover on HSN on July 1 at 9 a.m. EST and 6 p.m. EST and shop the pillow collection (ranging in price from $45 to $55) at HSN.com.
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