It’s that time of year again. The holiday rush is picking up, people are putting up their decorations and, most importantly, beginning the sprint marathon that is Christmas shopping. Although the Oprah Winfrey show is no longer on the air, that still hasn’t stopped her from creating “Oprah’s Favorite Things 2015.” Over the years the list has included brand new cars, to $200 cakes to gold sparkly Ugg boots, promoting the wide range of products to consumers as holiday gifts. This list never ceases to create a buzz nationwide. In honor of Oprah launching her 2015 list today, we’re looking back at how much the brands featured owe to her selection!

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Gayle King and Adam Glassman, creative director of the Oprah magazine, explain that making the list guarantees companies increases in sales. Glassman even says that they have to counsel small companies on the amount of additional inventory they will need and often “there are times when people call [him] and go, ‘I wish I had 3,000 more, we sold out.’”[1]

In 2003, she featured Greenberg Smoked Turkeys, a small, Texas business with twelve full time employees. The company typically signed up 5,000 new customers per year, but in the two weeks after being featured on Oprah, they had already gained 22,000 new customers with a $50 average order. The company sold out of turkeys in record time, selling $1 million worth by December 10. To this day, the company still reaps the benefits, having grown to selling 200,000 turkeys per year.[2]

In 2005, Oprah’s favorite things featured the “deeply fudgey” brownies from Moveable Feast Geneva, a small, Chicago bakery. While previously a local favorite, the bakery shot to stardom after its appearance on Oprah. From November to January of 2005 – 2006, the company saw an 80% increase in sales and the brownies alone account for 10% of sales to this day.[3]

Stories like this one are repeated over and over, painting Oprah as a champion and a savior of small businesses.

Owners of small companies that receive a nod on Oprah’s list liken the experience to winning the lottery. Forty-five seconds of air time, or a short blurb on a website, drive sales unbelievably high and put the company in the national spotlight. No wonder Oprah is still considered one of the most powerful women in the world (she’s currently number 12 on Forbes’ list if you were wondering) as her influence on brands even in 2003 is still felt today.

Oprah’s Favorite Things 2015 is available on her website.

My favorite mentions this year include:

  1. LuMee Phone Case, which emits a soft glow to light up your face when taking a picture.
  2. Kanpeki makeup brushes, hand-assembled by Japanese artisans.
  3. Vince drawstring sweatpants and of course the Signature Turtle basket from Phillips Chocolates.