Inventor Joy Mangano had to hit rock bottom before she could rise to become the queen of retail.
Gracing the cover of Good Housekeeping‘s February issue, the multimillionaire entrepreneur opens up about the reasons for her divorce and how it led her to create her landmark invention, the Miracle Mop. Her amazing life story was the inspiration for Jennifer Lawrence‘s new movie, Joy.
“I had a vision of a beautiful family and all the things that come with raising children and being a mother,” Mangano, 59, tells Good Housekeeping about her marriage to aspiring singer Tony Mirrane. “But Tony was noT in the same place as me. He was still being free and having a fun life.”
Mangano and Miranne split after 10 years of marriage and three children. “I don’t think there was a lower point in my life,” she says.
However, it was during this rough period that she had her million dollar idea. By 1990, a year after the divorce, the Brooklyn-born inventor had developed a prototype for her self-wringing mop, but she still faced an uphill battle.
“As single-mom female inventor, there was no path for that, so really I don’t think people took me seriously for a really long time,” the Huggable Hangers creator told PEOPLE. “Certainly the Miracle Mop being my first successful product, people started to pay attention, and I guess now they really pay attention.”
In the almost two and a half decades since she went on QVC for the first time and sold almost 20,000 mops in under 20 minutes, Mangano has sold more than $3 billion in products. Now, she’s getting ready to release an all-new version of her landmark floor cleaning device.
“I realize now the only thing harder than inventing is reinventing,” she says in a statement. “After spending the past two years reengineering this amazing Miracle Mop, I’m so excited to take cleaning to a whole new level.”
The New Miracle Mop will be available on Jan. 3, and Joy can be seen in theaters now.