Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

November 25th, 2015

Which shopping experience will you participate in?

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My favorite holiday of the year is finally here! There is nothing better than Thanksgiving. No gifts or religion to worry about. Just food, drink, sports and family. Looks like the perfect morning for the Turkey Trot, hope to see everyone down there at 5:45AM. HA! The Detroit Lions actually have a chance of winning their third TDAY game in a row. But the real star is the TDAY dinner. Personally my favorites are turkey, sweet potatoes and stuffing. Mashed, rolls and cranberry are OK but real stuffers! Dessert? Pumpkin pie.

How about MSU! 5th in Football and 3rd in Basketball. No other college can boast that. If MSU can go on like this for another 20 years, then we will see more Michigander’s wearing green and white than that dreadful maize and blue. Warning: We must beat PSU on Saturday and avoid a tremendous game letdown. We are only favored by 1.5 points so the experts think it will be tight. I’m ready for Indy so let’s blow them away.

It was great to see Max & Essie last weekend in Malibu. Very nice beach homes, very nice weather and very nice restaurants. But nothing beats home cooking and the only thing Essie likes to do better than name polish is to cook. July 2017 they will be free to do it again, I am waiting patiently to see what that may be.

Does it seem like Christmas is only a month away? No way right? As usual the year flew by once Labor Day came and went. Loving this November weather. Sunny and 50 today.

TNG Worldwide is only one of 13 Michigan-based companies to win Best Workplaces 7 years in a row (every year the competition has been held). That includes four top 5 finishes in the past five years. No doubt we have the best talent in the beauty business.

With gas less than $2.00 a gallon are people spending more and are they happier? According to recent polls the answer is no. In fact gas prices ranging from $2 to $3.50 a gallon have little affect on behavior. Losers this holiday season: Apparel especially with the warm weather. Winners include salons and spas, restaurants and travel.

The pro beauty business has been unusually quiet in 2015. Where is the innovation going to come from next?

Got to love that Apple knows your driving patterns. Leaving the house, leaving the gym, going home, it knows where you are going and gives you the status of the drive. Nothing is sacred anymore.

Speaking of Apple, does anyone walk anywhere without carrying their phone? Once Apple Pay gets going the era of the men’s wallet will finally end. The government has to figure out how to get the driver’s license on the smartphone sooner than later.

OK, back to Thanksgiving meal. How long to consume 5000+ calories? No matter how hard we try, we are done eating in 20 minutes OR less (not counting seconds and thirds).

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Rebel Turns 60- Part 2

November 6th, 2015

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food item?

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The 20/50 Celebration was the combination of TNG turning 20 and me turning 50. Looking back with all the stress of dealing with the business, this was my best decade. We took the company on a surprise overnight trip that was over the top (of course) and it’s hard to believe it was already ten years ago.

That was the decade that we finally got back CND and OPI, launched Kemon, attempted an ill-fated Texas expansion and started to focus on the next generation of customers and where the business was going. Perhaps the biggest driver was moving most of our own branded goods to the ForPro brand and the development of additional brands to support the new marketplace.

It was also the decade that we cemented our relationship with The American Cancer Society and now have been a major sponsor of their STRIDES event since its inception more than 13 years ago. And I am proud to say that collectively we have raised more than $2.5 million. We also added community ties to Forgotten Harvest, Baldwin Center and several others.

Fast forward to 2015 and TNG turning 30 and me turning 60. So what better way of giving back to our talent than coming up with the 30/60 Celebration. This would be a full blown trip of a lifetime weekend. Better yet, it would be a complete surprise for 10 months.

You can watch our WXYZ segment here.

On October 23, we departed TNG to the private terminal at Metro and 131 TNG Rebels boarded our private jet. We were whisked to NYC where we stayed in the heart of Times Square. Attractions included Grand Central Terminal, One World Observatory, 9/11 Memorial Gardens, Wall Street, Chinatown, Harlem, Central Park, Kinky Boots and the finale, private brunch cruise along the Hudson. Dining or shall I say feasting included Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse, Carmine’s, Golden Unicorn and even NY pizza and strudel.

You can see photos on our Facebook site.

Turning 60 was one of the most amazing days of my life as the company went all out in its efforts to welcome me to the “60” club. My office was decorated like an ultra lounge complete with disco lights and full size Sparty. Employees showered gifts, cards and hugs. The main event featured lunch, a brilliant video highlighting employees, friends and family. And the grand finale was a Kinky Boots actor popping out of a huge crate singing me Happy Birthday. Oh, I cannot forget the amazing Spartan cake with my photo emblazed on top. It truly was a surreal day.

Alas, the 30/60 Celebration is over, turning 60 is over, and now it’s time to move forward. To tell you the truth turning 60 sucks as the only marketer that cares about your thoughts is AARP. Lo and behold, I am quite sure this is going to be another great decade as I’m now at the point that I can do as I wish and the major stresses of business are long gone. I am more excited about 2016 and what TNG has in store than any other year.  And if anyone exemplifies having fun while getting old it’s Warren Buffett (now get this, he was born in 1930 and is 85 years old). So if I can have as much fun as Warren, the next 25 years is going to be a riot. Stay tuned.

Happy Friday!

A Rebel Turns 60 and U-M Gives the Gift That Will Keep on Giving

October 19th, 2015

Are you more shocked that MSU won or the Lions won?

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There is nothing worse being a Spartan fan than going to Ann Arbor and enduring 110,000 obnoxious Wolverine fans. Traffic sucks and you have to get there at least 4 hours prior. Parking is $60 if you can find it. Restaurants are packed and walking 5 miles in the cold is the only thing you can do to stay somewhat warm.

This was the game of the year for both teams and having beat U-M 5 of the last 6 meetings, this game was pivotal to both programs.

As predicted the game was close throughout and State surely had opportunities to lead if the receivers didn’t drop so many passes. With the score 23-21 in favor of U-M and only 10 seconds left in the game, even MSU handed the Paul Bunyan trophy over to U-M. Vegas put the odds of MSU winning at .2. Yep that is two-tenths of one percent.

The rest is history and no doubt will be one of the top 10 final plays in football history forever.

As a State fan, I am very quiet yet excited to be 7-0. You have to go back to 1948 when a first-year Michigan coach beat the Spartans in year one. Harbough was oh-so close. But oh-so-close is only good in tiddlywinks and hand grenades.



Very, very happy Monday!

A Rebel Turns 60

October 14th, 2015

Who is going to win the MSU vs. U-M game on Saturday?

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Being a kid, at least when I was a kid, meant long summers playing with caps, marbles and riding my Schwinn Sting-Ray bike. I was addicted to Hostess apple and cherry pies ($.15 each), Snowballs ($.12 and the best part was pulling away the coconut shell) and Jolly Rancher Watermelon kisses. But being a kid was tough because the only thing you wanted more than anything was to get older.

Older we get. I never did like the expression someone once told me, “We are all dying once we are born.” There was nothing better than getting older.

The first school bus in elementary school. How cool was that!

Then the leap to junior high in 7th grade, now I was getting up there. But what was worse than being a “freshman”, you wanted to be a “senior.”

But being a senior was frustrating because you wanted to get to high school.

Finally being in high school in 10th grade (yes, I know it is 9th grade now). The big leagues.

Then the moment we all wait for, Driver’s ED and getting your license. That was a true milestone for me but unfortunately it just allowed me to do more errands for my mother. I never had a car in high school.

Next up was turning 18, legal to drink! But I wasn’t into drinking much even in college. Speaking of. . .

Who’s going to win this game? MSU! Freshman on campus at Wilson Hall. 6th floor. Nothing but girls, parties, pinball and lots of fun. True learning took place here, especially mastering the 4’ water bongs, winning in both euchre and double-deck pinnacle. It was the launch of Deep Throat and Behind the Green Door. LSD and streaking were in vogue (OK, I will admit to the latter, never tried the former). My sophomore year I got my first new car, bright yellow Camaro. Boy was I cool.

Turning 21 was the best as I was now legal in all states and off to Vegas with some friends. Vegas at 21 back then turned your head. And that is when I graduated MSU and went to work for a living.

Truthfully I think life’s age milestones are best through age 21. I always say if I knew what I know now then, how different things could have been.

Turning 30 was mystical however in my case. That is the year I started Nailco Manicurist Centers. Nailco was the first catalog company outside of California that specialized in manicuring supplies. It started with me and Sandy D. I will never forget our first “trade show.” We set up tables in a local hotel and did classes. Little did I know that everyone was expecting cash and carry since I grew up doing professional trade shows. So here I am with Sandy D. and a few others displaying nail products on tables. 400 nail techs come to the show (sold out) and demand to buy stuff. So I drive my station wagon (can you believe?) to the store and fill it up with all inventory we have on hand and drive back. Now I’m not making this up but as I pull up to the hotel entrance and start unloading the goods, some nail techs saw me and stormed out of the hotel wanting to be first to buy. The goods lasted 10 minutes and I learned my lesson. The next trade show was at the Hyatt with plenty of stuff.

The first 10 years was quite the experience and best to be young to take part of. I moved and expanded space 5 times and changed the name of the company 3 times. Started doing indoor tanning in 1990 (OMG, the cast of characters then was amazing: Rick Norvell, John Abate, Terry Katz, Trevor Grey, Bruce West Jr.) and spa in 1992. But 1991 was a pivotal year when CND decided we were too much competition for its full service distributors and cut us off (it was much later that we got back together). By the end of the 10th year, hair products entered the picture.

Turning 40 was all about Lordy, Lordy, Larry is 40. The BUB gave me a big surprise party and I had a huge party at our annual trade show. It was a fun year. But my 40’s was still a lot of work, struggles and learning the ins-and-outs of business. We lost OPI in 1997 once again to full service distributors not wanting to compete with us and we lost Cal Tan as we supported Supre in a major lawsuit (we eventually got them both back). It was also the decade that we finally settled on a company name for the catalog division, THE INDUSTRY SOURCE. Whew! And it was also the decade that we got into full-service distribution ourselves to really piss off the competition, then Maly’s and Beaute Craft (we already got rid of most of the others by this time).

My big acquisition at the time was to buy TIGI from the local distributor. At the time TIGI was nothing more than a stick (the first Bedhead product) but the Mascolo brothers knew a thing about education. We took the brand from $250,000 to $6 million before they sold to Unilever and we got cut off. It was also the decade that we won the Matrix contact and knocked Beaute Craft out of business. But alas, L’Oreal decided they wanted to own their distributors and we either had to sell to them or bite the bullet. Virtually every distributor sold except us and we bit the bullet to the tune of $17 million. Ouch.

Next up: Turning 50 and upwards to 60.

Happy Wednesday!

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!

CND Shellac Summer Splash Collection
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