Jeanne Bice

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Jeanne Bice (July 20, 1939 – June 10, 2011) was an entrepreneur, businesswoman and television personality. Bice was the founder of the Quacker Factory clothing line, which led to frequent appearances on QVC beginning in 1995.[1][2][3] Her company, Quacker Factory, has grossed more than $50 million in sales, as of March 2011.[1] She was also a frequent guest on The Soup, appearing opposite host Joel McHale.[1]

Bice was born on July 20, 1939, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where she was also raised.[1][2] She later moved to the nearby town of Ripon, Wisconsin as an adult.[2] Bice and her husband, Arlow "Butch" Bice Jr., had a son and a daughter, Tim and Lee.[1][2] She opened her first store, a women's apparel and gift shop called The Silent Woman, with friend Maryanne Diedrich, as a hobby.[2] Her original store, which was bankrolled by both of their husbands,[3] was located at Ransom and East Fond du Lac Streets in Ripon.[2]

Bice's husband, Butch Bice, died of a sudden heart attack in 1981 at the age of 42, leaving her a widow with two children to support.[2] Now a widowed housewife at 40 years old, Bice needed a source of income and had few career skills at the time.[2] Bice, with the help of business partner Maryanne Diedrich, who divorced around the same time,[3] and other friends from Ripon, began creating a seasonal clothing line which she designed and decorated.[1][2] The clothing line would become Quacker Factory.[1] In 2007, Bice elaborated on the early days of her business with the Palm Beach Post, "I never wanted to be in business. Mary Ann and I went into business on an absolute lark, and the result became the mainstay and support of our lives. Our shop was truly a gift from God. Mary Ann and I helped raised each other's kids, and helped each other figure out where we were going and how to get there."[3]

Bice relocated to Florida in 1983, but continued to work on the Quacker Factory line and its eventual parent company, The Quack, Inc.[2] She made her first appearance in QVC, a home shopping network based in Pennsylvania, on February 4, 1995.[4] Her QVC debut proved a financial success, with her entire product line selling out in a few minutes while the show was still on the air.[4] The first show created a sixteen year relationship with QVC and led to Bice's numerous appearances on the network.[1] Viewers began watching her QVC not only for her products, but also for Bice's stories as well.[4] Bice was known on-air for her trademark headbands and sequinned, decorated clothing.[1] Her partnership with QVC transformed Quacker Factory from a small company into a multi-million dollar business, grossing more than $50 million as of March 2011.[4][1]

Bice's appearances on QVC and her Quacker Factory line made her a cult figure to her fans.[1] Her core group of more than two million fans[3] and customers call themselves "quackers."[2] She frequently filmed guest appearances on The Soup and kept a Soup Award given to her by Joel McHale in her office, according to a 2011 interview with the Huffington Post.[5]

Jeanne Bice died of complications from uterine cancer on June 10, 2011, at the age of 71.[2] She was a resident of Boca Raton, Florida.[3]

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