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.