Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

September 16th, 2015

What are you doing with the savings from gas?

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I don’t know about you but did September come quickly and is it already half gone? When Costco has its Christmas stuff out already (do we really need to buy Starbuck’s Christmas blend now?), you know 2015 will be history soon.

Who eats bread anymore? Brownberry’s 100-calorie Sandwich Thins are all the rage. They are actually quite amazing, the size of a hamburger bun and you can load them up without breaking and very tasty. Two slices of bread are 240 calories. Now you can have a bag of Baked Chips for the same calories or better yet, save the calories.

With the price of gas going back below $2.00 a gallon and more SUV’s and pickup’s being sold than ever, why is the price of Ford and GM stock so low? Perhaps analysts are paying attention to the future. Mercedes just announced it will have an electric car by 2018. Meanwhile industry leader Tesla just got a perfect 100 score on its current model and is releasing its first SUV September 29. Remember how Toyota slammed the Big 3 when small cars were in demand? Gas at $2 a gallon cripples demand for electric now but the smart money is on electric in the future. Watch this and come up with your own conclusion.

What’s hot at THE INDUSTRY SOURCE? Pure Essential Oil Works diffusers and oils; Pure Himalayan Salt Works salt lamps; Paraffin Wax Works 10-minute paraffin treatments; ForPro Scrap Files; and OPI Starlight collections.

I am so excited about TNG’s 30th anniversary. In fact we are taking the entire company on a fab 30/60 celebration weekend October 23. It is a total mystery where we are going but it will be totally fun and memorable. All stores will be closed Friday and Saturday October 23-24. TIS will close at 12:30PM. You only turn 30 once!

Speaking of fun and a great cause, TNG is proud to sponsor ACS Strides October 10 in Detroit. Really fun this year is that the walk kicks off at Hart Plaza and the course follows the Riverfront. If you have never been downtown or experienced the Riverfront you will love it. Please join our team or come on your own.

What’s up with the pro beauty industry? Nothing. When was the last hair care company to start that made it? Although 10 years old, Living Proof is proving that pro and retail can co-exist. They are a model for the future of pro beauty. The one big test we will learn: How important is education? With booth renters dominating the scene, where is the $$$ going to come from to pay for classes? Eliminating that budget would be huge. Then again our CND Holiday workshop sold out 100 tickets in less than a week.

I’m addicted to Snack Factory’s Pretzel Crisps. So good. And so good dipping into one of those individual cups of hummus that Costco sells.

Now Jeff Bezos is in the rocket business. Bezos envisions people in space during his lifetime. Don’t bet against him.

Speaking of Bezos, I have come to the conclusion that America only needs 5 companies for 95% of its needs. Here they are in no particular order: Amazon.com; Apple; Google; Costco; and Starbucks. If you think I am crazy think about this: Not using one of the companies products for one week. It’s not possible.

And finally speaking of what is possible, is it possible that Donald becomes the 45th president of the USA? And Cuba becomes the 51st state?

Happy Wednesday!

Cosmoprof North America 2015 Overview

August 10th, 2015

Is The Donald for Real?

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As the only professional only beauty show to the trade in N.A. I was excited to see the new redesign of the floor plan and see what new excitement show management would bring. After all, the HK show is 5 times larger and Bologna, although not as impactful as in years past, still more significant than N.A.

Alas, the changes were both peculiar and “cosmetic” at the same time. The show floor was divided into three sections: Professional; Retail; and Packaging. Pretty much the same exhibitors were scattered on the show floor in different locations. Peculiar was the fact they had these “incubator” beauty companies  that were launching at Cosmoprof. Their location was in the main aisle with significant signage and marketing focus. Apparently the exhibitors that had multiple booth space were secondary in importance. Further it made the show feel like a shopping mall: Kiosks outside retailers trying to sell knick-knacks of all sorts. It certainly dumbed down the significance of the show.

For exhibitors Cosmoprof continues to fail to impress compared with other national Top 200 shows. The aisle carpet didn’t even come close to touching the booths which created many tripping hazards. Access to water and coffee is through stands only at $5 a pop. And why the show is open on Tuesday is dumbfounding since only exhibitors are walking the show floor.

The relocation of exhibitors was not understood. And why rep groups earned the best location is an interesting take on the industry. No other Top 200 show allows rep groups on the show floor and why Cosmoprof allocated so much space for them is questionable. Also unlike top shows, exhibitors are not given a pre-show registration list of show attendees with their email address and company information. This show is still geared more towards a typical cash and carry show.

With Mandalay Bay doubling down its convention business, space will be available for a much larger show. However I don’t see the show growing and in fact, the allocated space was not used. The continued policy of allowing companies to take suites off the show floor again downgrades the importance of the event. It’s time for all companies to be required to be on the show floor and allow attendees to stay on the show floor and not run to meetings off-site.

Another reality is that NAHA still takes place during Cosmoprof. Why? Further, salons are allowed on the show floor if they are PBA members. Why? It’s still not clear what Cosmoprof N.A. really wants to be.

One thing for certain is that beauty is more important than ever and will continue to grow. Retailers are increasing their space for beauty. Distributors are seeking products to take over the business from legacy companies. And with Coty’s acquisition of P&G brands, the industry is prime for a make-over.

Happy Monday!

The ChickenShack Premiers Today In Brooklyn

July 7th, 2015

How likely would you order the ChickenShack if you walked into Shake Shack?

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Yes this has nothing to do with beauty, nothing to do with products and certainly nothing to do with health and fitness.

But every great once in a while you have to take the splurge and do something out of the box. And let me forewarn you in advance, my splurge is salivating over Shake Shack’s first ever chicken sandwich, the ChickenShack. Mind you I would never order it no matter what. But I looks do damn good I had to share it with you.



Toasted buttered bun. Buttermilk mayo dressing. Huge pickles. And looks like at least a 5 oz. chicken filet double dipped in panko crumbs and other ingredients before being dipped into hot oil or lard. All this for $6.29. Here is what you also are most likely getting that isn’t even live on their website: 800-1000 calories, 2000gm Sodium and more than 100gm Cholesterol. Sorry but fun has its price. But wow, does it ever look good (yes I know, I already mentioned that).

Happy Tuesday!

You Know You Are Getting Old When. . .

June 29th, 2015

How many July 4th fireworks events will you attend?

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You start enjoying classical music

When you turn up the volume in your car and it is only half the max volume

You want to stop at rest areas and your first look around at any public building is the location of the bathrooms

Bartenders and servers are years younger than your own kids

You go to bed at night when sunshine is still coming through the blinds

Staying up until 10:00PM is a late night out

You know the words to songs from the 70’s

You are going up the elevator in Vegas to go to sleep when everyone else is going down the elevator to party

People start calling you by your last name instead of first

Your friends in their 70’s call you young

Squinting becomes an exercise

Cars race past you and you don’t even care

You read about the top grossing new movies over the past weekend and didn’t even know they came out

When you go to the mall and don’t want to buy anything

Your employees start dressing up in Jimmy Buffett attire to remind you that you are getting old

Happy Monday! (Or is it Tuesday?)

OPI Color Is The Universal Language

June 17th, 2015

Where do you get your hair color done?

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Leave it to OPI to meld their world lacquer collections (Venice is coming out in August) and attempt to come out with a new universal language that speaks in. . .color. You read this right. The powers to be (Suzi most likely) selected 26 colors and linked a letter of the alphabet to each. For instance A is An Affair in Red Square and B is Bubble Bath.

To understand the entire thought process behind this, watch this video and learn more at the OPI Color Is The Universal Language Facebook page.

Let me give you my take on this. What I love most about this is that OPI introduced a limited edition collection of 1/8 oz. mini bottles of corresponding OPI Lacquers in a very cute gift box all for $59.95 MSRP. This alone with worth the price of admission and will make a great gift to any OPI lover. Never before and most likely never again will this many colors be available in these adorable minis. TIS customers can click here and order today.

Now to get to the gist of what OPI is trying to accomplish you have to download the APP (App store or Google play). It is called ColorChat. Here’s the thing. The file is huge, 47MB. And to to use it your friends have to download the APP too. Once downloaded you type in any message and the corresponding OPI color for each letter appears. After you press “send” the recipient sees the message (it comes from OPI instead of you which needs to be addressed) and then clicks on the “Decode” button to read the message without the color coding. It’s a cumbersome process in the least and I think the novelty will wear off quicker than a couple coats of lacquer.

But what the heck, at least OPI is out there trying something new and different. Even if you hate the APP, you will love the box of mini’s, buy them now while they last.

And congrats to Coty for their purchase of Clairol, Wella, Sebastian, Cover Girl and Max Factor. The beauty story unfolds once again.

Happy Wednesday!

Why It Pays To Be a Nail Tech

June 8th, 2015

How often do you get a manicure (in-salon or at-home)?

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I go to the doctor once a year for a physical. Insurance covers the cost but it would be $180 without it.

Annual cost: $180

I go to the dentist twice a year for cleaning. Insurance covers part of the cost.

Annual cost: $300

I get my haircut monthly. $35 plus tip.

Annual cost: $540

I get my nails done weekly and toes done bi-weekly (it’s the price you pay to be in this business). Mani including tip $20 and mani/pedi including tip $65.

Annual cost: $2210

The doctor goes to school for 13 years, incurs costs well over $500,000 and gets less than 10% of what my nail tech gets. The dentist goes to school for 8+ years gets about 15%. The hairdresser gets about 25%. The winner: The nail tech who had to go to school the least.

Vietnamese nail techs are raking in the dough all made possible by the laborious efforts of the first generation that came to America with nothing but the knowledge of doing nails. The first generation worked 7 days a week, sometimes 16 hours straight to make a living. They even slept in the salon. But if you look back in history for immigrants this is not unusual, in fact, it is more typical than not.

The second generation is having a field day. In fact business is so brisk there is a nationwide shortage of nail techs. While there may be no documentation on actual annual earnings of a typical nail tech, I would say the average work week is 6 days and average hours worked is 60+. Make no mistake, these nail techs are hard-working and with so much of their business no appointment necessary, sometimes it involves waiting hours for a client. Oh, salons are open 7 days a week.

If we look back at the beginning of this blog, it is amazing that getting your nails done really requires weekly visits. That is one reason why if you frequent a nail salon the same day of the week you will see the same clients.

Putting this into perspective, with monthly pedicures instead of bi-monthly, total annual spend is still $1600 per client. Let’s say the average nail tech has just 8 clients a day x 6 days (48 a week)that comes to $76,800. Of that a portion goes to the salon owner but tips are all cash and the salon owner pays for most of the supplies. It is not uncommon to make $60,000+ a year. And how great is it that they get to sit instead of stand all day?

Now you know why there is a nail salon on every corner. Demand dictates it. In fact, demand is only going to increase over the next 20 years as boomers allocate even more time for services and treat their grandkids to services as well. If I was interested in the beauty industry instead of spending $20,000 to become a hairdresser (read previous blog), I would dive head first into nails.

What’s hot right now? Gels are over 55% of the business and growing. Consumers love the long wear and shine. Both CND and OPI’s new LED lights are ultra popular.

What’s not? Acrylics. Looks like this 80’s phenomenon has run its course.

What’s trending? Extended wear nail polish. Easy removal, one week wear. But salons are still reluctant to add a third level of products to their mix. Vinylux still the #1 brand and the new Contradiction collection looks like a homerun.

Happy Monday!

The Independent Hair Care Business Going Down The Drain

May 29th, 2015

Where do you get your hair cut?

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“Welcome to Gina Franklin, Larry! So nice to see you. Matt will be with you shortly. Can I get you some coffee, soda or perhaps a glass of wine?”

As I walk past the receptionist I head over to the coffee station where there are fresh pastries, bagels, assorted beverages, comfy chairs and current magazines. The salon is buzzing with women getting hair cuts, hair color, makeup applications and it’s like everyone knows each other.

Matt comes and gets me, wonders if I need a manicure and hands me a copy of the WSJ. After a long haircut and hot towel face treatment, I’m back to the receptionist to book my next appointment and be sold on the latest hair care items. Of course she knows I’m in the business and most likely we sold her those products but that’s her job. $60 later I head out.

The rise and fall of the independent hair salon business has been remarkably quick spanning only 30 years. Oh there are plenty of other industries that have come and gone much quicker, i.e. the video rental business (Blockbuster was an amazing story). The tanning salon business is 25 years old and struggling to stay alive. In the past five years alone, tanning salons have declined by a third  to less than 13,000.

I’ve mentioned the historical part of the rise of the independent hair salon business in the past and only Paul DeJoria is left to relish those memories. Everything else has gone down the drain. There are many reasons for the decline and one only wonders what the next 10-20 years is going to bring. After all, everyone still needs to get their hair cut. From what I can see, the usual suspects are at work over the decline of the industry:

  • Entrepreneurs came, sold, and were never replaced. The likes of Arnie Miller and Jheri Redding weren’t just about products, they were about inspiration for a new generation of guys who never envisioned themselves being hairdressers. Suddenly in the 80’s and 90’s it was cool to be a hairdresser. Then the entrepreneurs sold out to the likes of L’Oreal, P&G, and Henkel and that began the first transitional wave down. Guys no longer see this as a cool industry and beauty schools have been turning out 99.5% female hairdressers for the last decade.
  • Competition ceased and public companies took advantage. L’Oreal not only was the first hair color company in the world, they were astute enough to buy the best companies such as Matrix, Redken, Pureology, and ARTec (OK, that one they screwed up). In the meantime they had the retail consumer to support their expansion with brands such as Maybelline, Kiehl’s and L’Oreal. P&G got into the game too late with their acquisition of Wella, Sebastian, Nioxin, Clairol and Graham Webb (oops, that was a nightmare and too bad). Now P&G is unloading all these brands (Fekkai they paid $450 million is now worth $50 million) and even L’Oreal stated they are not interested in any of them. OK Henkel will come to the rescue but too little and too late. Unilever who bought TIGI, also has no interest in a larger footprint in this industry.
  • Competition among distributors went public too. Sally bought BSG and BSG bought the best of the best of the independent distributors. Today BSG operates more than 1200 stores and has nearly 1000 DSC’s. Salon Centric owned by L’Oreal bought the rest and this year will most likely buy the remaining Redken distributors. They have about half the presence of BSG. Combined however, they own the market and leaves companies such as TNG to focus on innovative products that they can’t match or get involved with.
  • The death of the independent salon. My story to start this blog is true. It was all about the salon experience. Booth rental was an infant industry that took root in California and Texas and then Florida. The Midwest and East coast were anti-booth rental. But hairdressers are an interesting group. History has always dictated that the salon owner made out like bandits offering only 40% to 50% commission. The rise of male hairdressers moved the needle to 60% and even 70% commission to retain the best. And even that didn’t work. Salon walk-outs became as common as salons closed on Monday. Eventually salon owners had enough and booth rental gained traction. Chain accounts with their franchisees saw a new opportunity at the same time with the proliferation of beauty schools churning out hairdressers with no where to go. It’s no wonder that the life expectancy of a new graduate that stays in the industry is at the lowest point in history.
  • Retailers such as Sephora and Ulta enter and offer a superior experience for consumers to buy hair care products. Today Ulta is marching toward 1000 locations and its salon business has never been stronger. And factor in Amazon that has virtually every hair care brand on earth priced well below retail.

While all this is going on, what are our industry leaders (such as PBA) doing about it? You guessed correctly. They still flock to the trade shows and trumpet the virtues of education while the only ones attending are rushing to the flea markets in the back of the show with their empty roller bags. They still honor someone at the City of Hope dinner at Cosmoprof just like those diners on the Titanic who were raising their champagne glasses before the tragic accident.

The true winners in all this are L’Oreal, Sally/BSG and Ulta. I always applaud winners (unless they wear maize and blue). And I see them keeping on winning with no one to stop them.

For us, life is good. When you have $50 billion in sales between the winners, it only takes a few crumbs to make me happy. Over the past few years those crumbs turned into cookies, then cakes and suddenly we have a bakery. Our assortment has never been better and our customers love us for what we do for them. But when it comes to the hair care business, we need to keep the independent salon owner alive. One hint for them: Support independent distributors and manufacturers.

Happy Friday!

Out Of My Mind On A Thursday Mornin’

May 7th, 2015

Would you vote for Hillary Clinton?

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You know it has been a long winter when you start to appreciate dandelions.

According to Elon Musk, batteries will never be the same. The founder of Tesla recently introduced two battery packs, one for consumers and one for business. These “powerpacks” will store solar electricity so the power can be used at night. Amazing concept. Here is a thought. If you can connect wirelessly virtually everywhere, don’t you think it’s only a matter of time before the plug becomes obsolete? Already Apple is focusing on wireless charging.

Speaking of plugs, the new CND LED lights are a huge hit. We sold out our pre-sale allotments and the Rainbow collection is sold out. We have more Bright collections that just arrived. But less than 200 remain and they will be gone.  And just announced, the new OPI LED light collections. Order early as these too will sell out quickly.

Jimmy Buffett is playing at the new West Riverside Park Detroit in June. What is up with that? I know Jimmy loves grass, but at his age, not the grass you sit on. And why is Zac Brown playing Comerica instead?

I’m very excited to launch Living Proof. Why? For once the roles are reversed. Instead of retail riding on the coat tails of the pro beauty biz, we get to ride on the coat tails of retail. The brand has an amazing story and real chemistry behind it. Now salons finally have an opportunity to offer a showcase brand that consumers are already familiar with. Official launch date June 5 available in stores and through our AR’s. Slam dunk, thank you ma’am.

The earthquake in Nepal was devastating with thousands killed and thousands injured. Worse there is so little infrastructure (the capital city Katmandu barely had electricity) it will take months just to get back to normal. At least there was a bit of good news in that the people that makes Pure Essential Oil Works Tingsha Bells survived and started a relief effort.

Our best selling ForPro Premium Flannel Sheet Sets are now available in four luscious new colors: Lavender, Ocean Blue, Powder Blue and Wisteria. Our sheets are so soft and comfy you never want to get up from the bed.

Speaking of getting a massage, destination spas have it down to a science. I get massages frequently and I have always said that I would rather spend money on enjoyment than spending money on misery. One night in a hospital is equivalent to more than 100 massages. Which would you prefer? The whole experience starts with the robe. There is something about putting on a robe that puts you in “the mood” to relax and chill out. And if you want the best spa “chill out” robe, check out our new ForPro Microfiber Plush robe. With these, I think we should designate one day a year, “National Robe Day.”

Who is going to be the next President of the U.S.A.? At any time in American history has the state of politics been any worse? In fact a new study shows that trust is an all-time low of our leaders in all areas. Who do you trust?

Happy Thursday!

Apple Watch & CND LED Light Make Their Debuts

April 8th, 2015

Will you buy an Apple Watch?

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As you know I am an Apple addict having just about every Apple product on earth. Our design team uses the latest and greatest Mac’s so in my world Apple rules (only Android people don’t understand this and most likely Google named it Android for that reason).

April 24 is National Watch Day. You cannot just walk into an Apple store and buy the watch ($349 and up to more than $10,000). Nope you have to register online for a 15-minute appointment. You see the executive in charge of sales is from Burberry and she wants to exact the same luxury treatment as Burberry did. In a nutshell, upgrade you to better watch bands and more silver and gold styles.

As an avid BusinessWeek reader, they just came out with their review of the watch. It’s 6 minutes but worth it.


Will I buy the watch out of the gate? Most likely not. If was bluetooth to my iPod when running, slam dunk. But you have to carry your iPhone to use most of the options. Most likely second generation.

Next week CND will host a live event kicking off their new LED light that is five years in the making. It’s novel design focuses on the fingernails and not the hand and from what I have seen, works well. It also features multiple timer switches so it can be used with both Shellac and Brisa. MSRP will be $299.95 but there will be plenty of promotions to offset the high price point. You can click here to see the exclusive promotion THE INDUSTRY SOURCE is running while supplies last.

To learn more about the light, this video is pretty good.


All in all April is a very exciting month with the latest and greatest technology being introduced.

Happy Wednesday!

Out Of My Mind On A Monday Mornin’

March 30th, 2015

Who is going to win the Final Four?

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How about those Spartans? Even the most diehard fans including myself would have never guessed they would have made the Final Four. This is perhaps Izzo’s greatest accomplishment in his 20 years with State. Congrats to Izzo and the entire team. Go STATE!

L’Oreal has figured out to successfully sell products to both the pro and retail markets (does anyone care?). It is just another reason why salons are imploding while the booth rental market is exploding. In case you are interested here is L’Oreal’s latest retail color line to hit the market. Exert courtesy of CEW:

Covering gray just got easier thanks to L’Oréal Paris who, earlier this year, launched their Excellence Age Perfect hair color system, specifically targeted for those 55-plus.

Although the company produces a bevy of hair color products, this is the first one that addresses Baby Boomers, who continue to be a rapidly expanding segment of the population.

“The Baby Boomer woman is in the process of understanding who she is while recreating her life so she can have a second chance and new opportunities for herself,” said Dr. Alexis Abramson, Ph D, and Baby Boomer Lifestyle Expert. “ Excellence Age Perfect understands her from the lifestyle point of view as opposed to just the beauty point of view. History has pointed us to turning the clock back, but the Baby Boomer doesn’t want that. She wants an ageless look and an ageless lifestyle. That’s what’s new. The conversation about beauty has changed. What makes a woman beautiful has never been more interesting.”

To help speak to these women, the company enlisted long time L’Oréal spokesperson, Diane Keaton. “She’s truly a woman who inspires us and who we admire and we felt she spoke to the baby boomer generation,” explained Julia Yousseff, L’Oréal USA Technical Center Vice President.

According to L’Oréal, by the age of 45, over 50% of women are affected by gray. “73% of the women we interviewed said they don’t feel their age,” added Justin Giouzepis, Vice President of Marketing at L’Oréal Paris. “One-third said they didn’t want to be 25 again. 60% said they were more confident than before, while one-fourth of the women 50-plus feel beauty brands are not speaking to them.” Justin also said that these women are still in the work force, they lead an active life, have hobbies and that the end goal is to keep them in the hair color category longer.

Another bonus? The product, which took five years to create, is enriched with collagen and Ceramide R, which targets and repairs while adding shine and softness. It also contains restorative ingredients that help one’s mane feel volumized, thicker, and renewed.

As with anything L’Oréal develops, research played an important role. The company conducted more than 500 trials in three different countries, 2,000 applications in the US, and 10 qualitative tests were administered globally.

Other additions include bigger and clearer font size on the directions found inside, a dual-sized brush specifically designed for hard to reach angles, and smaller bristles addressing the scalp and hairline abound the face. As of now, eight shades are available with other colors following next year.

OPI is launching Colorpaints this May to capitalize on the small but trendy nail art side of nails. The key to the system is the silver base coat that makes the nail plate act as a canvas for the Colorpaints. The line will launch with 8 colors. You can use nail art brushes and dotters to create an infinite amount of designs. We tested it out and it works well. It can also be used as nail polish as some of the colors are pretty unique.


Speaking of nails, CND is finally coming out with their first LED light April 15. More details to come. $299.95 MSRP.

THE INDUSTRY SOURCE will be launching its VIP program for select TIS REWARDS customers May 1. VIP members will have the ability to receive new products for reviewing, receive the monthly sale catalog first and learn about new products as they come in.

Paraffin Wax Works new 10-MINUTE Therapeutic Hands and Feet have been wildly successful. Now that Thermasoft products are no longer on the market, spas are loving the benefits and results.

With both Easter and Passover this weekend, next week is the official start to spring, pedi season and warmer weather. Like last year warmer weather is eagerly awaited.

TNG celebrates 30 years in business this year and it’s going to be a lot of fun. 30 years is a long time and so much has changed over the years. So many names and faces along with companies are long gone. One thing for certain is the concept of reinvention and innovation is as important today as it was 50 and 100 years ago. All the current mania is in the technology field (apps galore) but I love the fact we are still a product-based company.

Happy Monday!

CND Shellac Summer Splash Collection
do my homework for money