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March 2. It was just NYE 2017. Time is weird. Things you did two weeks sometimes feel like two months ago. And things you did three months ago seem like two weeks ago. One thing is for certain, this is one winter we will be happy to say good-bye too.

SBH (Sally Beauty Holdings) confirmed in their last quarterly report the state of the professional beauty industry: Down, down, down. Ulta’s 1000+ stores now do more business than SBH’s 5000 stores and 800+ DRC’s. What is especially troubling in their report is that BSG sales are forecasted to be flat to down 2% in 2018. BSG not only bought the most distributors, they distribute virtually every brand under the sun. If they have a monopolistic position (adding Salon Centric) and business is not growing, then what is the future? I recall the indoor tanning business in the early 1990’s. It was booming. It was fun. The ITA (Indoor Tanning Association) was launched to divert government regulation. Fast forward 20+ years and the industry is dead. The ITA failed to keep the industry alive.

Continuing on this theme, we have the PBA (Professional Beauty Industry). Like the ITA, they have meetings, hype the industry and share cocktails. But just take one look at Amazon and their pro beauty section is filled with most of the brands that are supposed to be exclusive-only. Unlike indoor tanning and shopping on Amazon, people still have to get their haircut, mani’s and pedi’s from human beings. So while services will continue for the foreseeable future, salons will continue to lose retail business. Hence, one reason for BSG’s weak sales forecast. The next couple years will be very interesting indeed.

I got an opportunity to spend a few minutes with John Engler, MSU’s interim president. We were at the beam signing ceremony where you sign your name with a Sharpie on the last beam and then the contractor takes the beam and places in on top of the building (complete with tree and flag). The new Business Pavilion is 30% complete and will open June 2019. Very cool indeed. John was very forthright with me and let me tell you, I would not want his position for anything in the world. At 69 years old he lives in Virginia with his wife and they are building a home in San Antonio to retire. He was asked to do this and first time said no. The second time, after a lot of convincing and his love of MSU, he said yes. I asked him how long he thought he would be in the position and he thought 18 to 24 months. He also told me more than 170,000 pages of data has been released towards the Nassar investigation. He also reminded me that state funding has dropped to about 12% from a high of 70% and one reason why tuition keeps going up. So between resolving the Nassar investigations and running the university, John has more than a full plate. After meeting with him, I do think he is the right person to get the job done and his communication to date has been stellar.

Why is it when bagels are served there is always cream cheese? Why not butter and jam? Why isn’t cream cheese served with toast or English muffins?

Between steel and aluminum tariffs, the NRA, immigration (California has already declared that the fruit will rot on the trees due to ICE raids), and a host of other issues, what does Trump really stand for?

I’m watching the new season of Homeland and it focuses on Carrie’s mental illness and drugs she needs to cope. One wonders if the producers are focused on this as mental illness is a huge problematic issue in the USA without much being done to fix it. And even though the world cannot survive without Carrie and Saul, the show is still fascinating to watch.

Happy Friday!