Cosmoprof North America Changes Format- Retailers Come Join The Party!

July 10th, 2014

Are you loving the new self-serve yogurt shops?

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This weekend is the 15th Cosmoprof N.A. show in Vegas. Diehards still call it the BBSI back in the days when new products were introduced and companies tossed extravagant parties morning, day and night.

The show has always been a marketplace for manufacturers to show off their latest offerings to distributors.  But alas two things have happened over the past few years. One, manufacturers have fewer new products to offer and two, there are hardly any distributors left to walk the aisles. Last year was a tipping point with more booths for Asian companies than ever which left many wondering what would be next.

As a “reinvention”, Cosmoprof is tossing out the old layout of the show floor and has created a new layout for 2015. Now there will be only three sections. One for companies focused on professional goods for hair, nails and skin. One for companies that produce machinery, packaging and other raw materials. And finally the third one: For companies that sell goods for retail. Bye-bye distributors, hello retailers.

Now for those in the know, and retailers are certainly more in the know than most, there already are plenty of events and shows for them to attend that sell beauty products. But since Cosmoprof needs more traffic to sell booth space, it had to do something to get more people walking the aisles.

And since Cosmoprof is connected with PBA (Professional Beauty Association), this is the final leg of the conversion of our industry. Most likely, the PBA will need to rename itself to PRBA (Professional and Retail Beauty Association).

What this means for companies that sell both professional-only AND retail products, I have no idea. Since the show floor is small and contained in one room, most likely established companies such as Helen of Troy will claim their old space and be open for business regardless who walks by just as they have done all along. But it will be interesting to see what happens.

The other question of course is what new companies will buy booths for the retail area. Just think of all the companies that supply Sephora and Ulta.

Alas, it anything truly professional anymore? Every brand is sold at Amazon and numerous brands are sold at Sephora and Ulta. They are true merchants. Mass drug retailers are expanding their beauty footprints as well.

Time will tell the future as it always does. For now, Cosmoprof 2015 will be yet another watershed event for professional beauty as we once knew it when it was BBSI.

On a side note it will be very strange indeed to walk into the OPI meeting room without George, Bill or Suzi’s presence. I wonder if they will still have the expresso counter. Life moves forward.

Happy Thursday!

The Death of Makeup Artists?

June 19th, 2014

Where do you buy your makeup?

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“From trying out Eva Longoria’s smoky eye or Liya Kebede’s nude lip to testing out one of the many trend-driven looks created by the L’Oreal Paris’ Celebrity Makeup Artist Billy B., women can have fun experimenting with a variety of looks. “With this app, women don’t need a professional makeup artist because they can become their own makeup designer,” says Billy B. “It was so much fun creating the different looks and after months of working on this app, I am so excited it’s now available for everyone to play with and experience.”” I can see it now, instead of bridal makeup parties, all the brides maids will be using their iPhones to do their makeup.

The above coming from L’Oreal’s own press release yesterday states the obvious: L’Oreal has the ability to create innovative products and take market share from those competitors that don’t. With its leading brands Maybelline at mass stores and Lancome at department stores, L’Oreal spends more money advertising each year than on the cost of its products. If you can believe, some 30% of total sales is spent on advertising. This new technology will allow L’Oreal to take better advantage of its advertising spend.

What is so clever about this (and I have yet to try it out although I am sure the Manicure Genius is not far away) is that they let Apple spend billions on technology and then borrow it literally for free through its APP. Using the front of the iPhone and the built-in camera made this all possible.

So forget about Selfies, that is yesterday’s stuff. Now women can spend hours looking at their iPhones and imagining the different makeup looks they can have which is literally thousands.


Forget everything you know about the makeup apps you’ve seen before…
L’Oréal Paris introduces the 1st virtual makeup tester. Try makeup looks and products on yourself and see them move with you in real time. This exclusive technology from major Hollywood studios has never been seen before in the world of beauty. Create your own or try ready-to-wear looks curated by makeup artists instantly. See yourself made up in just one click. Virtual makeup try-on has never been more real.
Your smartphone becomes your mirror…
…and your next must have beauty accessory

iPhone Screenshot 1

iPhone Screenshot 2

iPhone Screenshot 3

Makeup Genius

According to L’Oreal the technology they developed goes like this: “Makeup Genius uses a highly-advanced facial mapping algorithm that allows women to try on eye shadow, eyeliners, lip colors and blushes and play with different looks, all in real time. Makeup Genius captures 64 facial data points and 100 different facial expressions, making it intuitive enough to discern between the skin of the lips, eyes and other facial contours, allowing the virtual makeup to move with you as you turn your head, change your facial expression and test out new looks at various angles and lighting conditions. The app also works in more than 400 different lighting conditions and takes into account all ethnicities to ensure the resolution and performance of the makeup including texture, finish and color are all accurate. “

If this isn’t enough to get your makeup on, on the same day they announced the acquisition of NYX cosmetics. And coincidentally they also announced that for the first time in America sales are flat. So they desperately trying to build sales doing whatever it takes.

One thing they are no longer talking about is Essie gels. Not only were they late to the game but the price point is prohibitive and they didn’t match the names to the polish. Sales are awful. Unlike OPI who continues to rock this category, it would be nice to see not only an APP but a concerted effort in the professional category to reignite the brand.

In the meantime, the Makeup Genius APP is now available on iTunes but sorry Android users, you will have to wait.

Happy Thursday!

Premier Orlando Show Hits Rock Bottom

June 5th, 2014

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[Reader’s Note: Mr. Smith is a new executive at a global beauty company who is visiting the Premier trade show to get a take on the professional beauty industry]


I have been with ABC Beauty Company for two months and just checked into the Orlando Hilton for the Premier Beauty show which I heard so much about. I brought along two colleagues. Our first stop was the lounge in which I heard so much activity at theses shows took place at the bars. Alas, the bar is less than half full and it doesn’t look like a lot of hairdressers are around. And this is Saturday night. Dinner at Capital Grille was interesting to say the least. I was told I would be lucky to get a reservation but the place was not even half filled. I guess all the people that used to dine here sold out.

Sunday, the first big day of the show I am so excited to see what the industry is all about. I walk in at 9:00AM and the first thing I notice is the loud music like I am at a concert. I see two guys on stage sporting Mohawk hair cuts and tat sleeves yelling into their microphones with a couple models in front of them. But there are only 4 people in the audience. In fact, I notice that all the stages have the same types of guys on them doing the same types of things.

Then as I am walking down an aisle, I see three “freaks” in stilts just like in the circus. Curiously I watch to see why they are there and then I see some of the attendees actually take their pictures with them.

Unfortunately after that I was walking down the wrong aisle as I almost got trampled with all the people running with their suitcases to the back of the show. Why would people have suitcases with them, but wait, some have janitor carts on wheels. Holy Toledo, I am almost run over by an electric cart with a suitcase in tow. I finally step out of the way and follow the crowd to see what all the excitement is about. Looks like one of the customers we sell to, Cosmoprof, is having a closeout sale. I count 40 registers. There is even two people swinging shopping baskets at the people to grab one. People are rushing through the aisles like the products will disappear if they don’t hurry. But then I see people paying and running to the other side of the show floor.

So again I follow the crowd being careful not to be run over but it helps I don’t have a suitcase. Same scenario but not a customer of ours, Salon Centric, has the same flea market deals and swinging baskets and rush of people. I have never seen anything like this in my life.

I’m now back to walking the show floor and seeing what our competitors are doing. The entire show floor is filled with women (the only guys around  are on stage) and I’m thinking I must be at a women’s expo and not a pro beauty show. But alas I see signs all over that I am in the right place. One booth is selling real Indian hair and it looks like it came off the streets. Another booth is selling costume jewelry for $1.00 and up. People are lined up for nachos and pretzels in the food area. Somewhere there has to be some hair booths.

I finally come across the Wella booth and truthfully, it’s more of a show within the show than a booth. Very impressive to say the least but looks like they don’t allow roller bags or janitor carts since there isn’t a single customer to be found. I’m sure Wella isn’t selling Koleston for $1 a tube, but looking around, it might not be a bad idea.

There is the TIGI booth and I am reading on it, “Hair products for professionals designed by professionals” and signed by Anthony Mascola. Of course he sold out to Unilever and they opened Sally in January among others. I wonder what that means.

Matrix and Redken did an OK job but I can’t find Pureology, L’Oreal Professionnel, Kerastase or any of the other L’Oreal brands including Essie.

I bump into Vince Davis who I was told was formerly with TIGI. Now he is with Macadamia Nut but they don’t have a booth. I wonder what he was doing there but I have more pressing things to do than think about that.

I also see Paul Sharnsky and I think he is seeing who is doing more business, the Matrix/Redken booth or the flea market. I think he is scratching his head since he doesn’t like the answer.

The crowd is picking up and now I see people dragging their roller bags with multiple empty shopping bags that booths are passing out. Why are people carrying them? Some bags are so big I wonder how anyone could carry them if they were used. I’m going to make a recommend to management that we invest in really big bags.

Oh, there is Mike Nave, another person I was told about. He is about as old as the industry and still writes about it. I look forward to his write-up about this show. I want to yell to Mike to “watch out, the stilt people are right behind you!” He is looking good in his 32 waist but I’m not even sure why I know that.

By now the music is so loud I need to go outside to clear my head. But the number of people smoking has me gagging so it’s back inside.

Actually I’m going to call it a day. I have been to more than 100 shows in my life and I have never witnessed anything like this one. It’s a damn good thing my company didn’t take a booth. I might as well get one of those pretzels.

Out Of My Mind On A Friday Mornin’

May 30th, 2014

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The “Don” is selling his team that he paid $13M for $2B, yes, that is $2 billion. Capital gains tax alone is $400,000 which brings him a net of $1.6B. So Sterling is being clipped for $400,000 and netting $1.6B. So everyone is saying that he opened his mouth and made out like a bandit. But if you look beyond the basics, Sterling was already a billionaire and did not need another $1.6B in his bank account. He no longer has ownership of one of the most fun things in his life. Why would Steve Ballmer pay such a price? So he can enjoy the perks of ownership. He knows he is only on this planet for a short while and he has the money to do so.

I guess that makes the price of OPI going from $9.00 retail to $9.50 retail July 1 incidental. Even at $9.50, it’s still a bargain and no company has been more innovative with collections than OPI. The Coke collection has already sold out and we had to reorder. It must have been the fries that we included as a GWP.

On the same subject, Metro Airport just raised the price of parking from $20 to $21. How many $1 a day does that equal? Lots. And watch Starbuck’s raise their prices July with coffee prices surging.

Have you bought a lime lately? Limes cost more than Tequila. Ouch!

This weekend it’s the Dragon Boat Festival and Happy Children’s Day in China. I will say for a communist country that has now become the world’s largest economy, they sure know how to celebrate holidays.

This past Memorial Day weekend was the best weather ever recorded in the Midwest. Ultra amazing.

This weekend is the Premier Show in Orlando. It will be very interesting to see the people walking the floor and what their focus is on. The industry has been in a funk and I look forward to seeing what’s new and different. I will tell you that our booth will feature plenty of new and different stuff.

Word on the street is that Living Proof is going to salons. The blur between professional and retail continues. Jay Morris knows a thing or two about distribution with his  years at American Crew.

Has any hair appliance zoomed up and zoomed down as fast as the Babyliss MiraCurl?

Have you checked out the new JACKED versions of Dorito’s? You really have to give credit to PepsiCo for their continued innovation in selling salty, fatty and tasty snack foods. And what is better than a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos? Sun Chips are pretty good too.

Speaking of damn good food bad for you, have you tried Talenti’s Sea Salt Caramel Gelato? I was paying $6.99 a glass jar for it at specialty markets and now Kroger has it for $4.69. Check it out, the coconut one is pretty good too.

Happy Friday!

Another Industry Legend Retires- Gary Winterhalter

May 14th, 2014

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After more than 27 years with Sally Beauty, a.k.a. Sally Beauty Holdings (SBH), Gary is hanging it up within the year to enjoy life. As the CEO, President and Chairman of the Board, one can only wonder the responsibilities Gary has had to tackle including those dreaded quarterly conference calls in which analysts ask questions they shouldn’t be asking.

I’ve had lunch with Gary and he has always been an affable type of guy that enjoyed running the business. Although SBH is one of our biggest competitors, Gary always had the vision that the beauty business is like all others and the bottom line is the most important. It’s all about numbers and basis points.

From a 30,000 foot view, this is the perfect time for Gary to exit. He already oversaw the acquisitions of many independent distributors to create Beauty Systems Group and Cosmoprof, now with more than 1000 stores and nearly as many DSC’s. Sally itself has ventured overseas but its been the USA business that has kept the machine running. With the low hanging fruit wiped out, the next CEO is going to have to spend his life in airplanes to grow the business. And I am certain that is not Gary’s desire.

With Gary’s announcement of retirement, he also announced his successor, Christian Brinkman. What is telling about this hire is that Brinkman is from outside the industry and was most recently a VP at Kimberly Clark (known for Huggies and Kleenex) on the international side. No doubt his hire was to grow the Sally business overseas. The press release stated that Gary would “train” Brinkman for up to one year. For sure Brinkman will need to learn the difference between nail polish and gel polish which could take at least a couple months. My biggest take-away from this hire is that Sally no longer needs a merchant to run its business, the days of merchants are over (and that is another commentary), and the focus must be on new growth. And the only place to grow is international.

Love him or hate him, Winterhalter and before him, Michael Renzulli (photo below in 1972), got their nails dirty in the business.

On one hand, I am thrilled for Gary to leave on a high note. On the other hand, it’s another tipping point for the pro beauty industry as the industry continues to evolve into the retail community. For us, it’s good news because no matter how much Winterhalter mentors Brinkman, Brinkman’s focus will never replace Winterhalter’s. Looking forward, salon professionals top 3 choices for buying products include:

  • SBH focused on international expansion and run by an ex-Kimberly Clark VP
  • L’Oreal (owns Salon Centric, Kerastase, Maybelline and a slew of brands), a $28 billion French empire
  • THE INDUSTRY SOURCE, independent and family owned since 1985 still focused on the customer and being a merchant.

So long Gary and enjoy retirement (although you still have a few more years to offer your valued insight). Perhaps you can have lunch with George, Bill, Max, Essie and a few others one day. I wonder who would buy.

Happy Wednesday!

Out Of My Mind On a Friday Mornin’

April 25th, 2014

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Leave it to the masters at L’Oreal to once again disrupt the market with yet another innovative product and this time, it spells more bad news for the pro salon industry. What is most interesting is that L’Oreal has a pretty big stake in the pro industry with its MATRIX, Redken, L’Oreal Professionnel, Pureology, Kerastase and other brands. Their newest product, Preference Mousse Absolue took more than 10 years to develop and it is the first hair color that mixes the color with the developer. The specially designed can does the work and the color comes out like a mousse. More amazing, the color leftover can be stored in the can for up to a year for touch-ups and even a second color. It sells for $14.99 at all mass retailers and available in 16 shades. This is a true game-changer and I see this technology being used in the pro industry for booth renters who don’t have a lot of storage area and hate mixing color.


Because You’re Worth It: L’Oréal Paris Offers New Instant Hair Color Activation is alive and well. So just for s___s and giggles, I reviewed three best-selling items from the site and then compared pricing to In all instances, Amazon was a minimum 30% lower. But wait, customers pay shipping and sales tax. So the savings are more than 40%. And supposedly Salon Centric is going to come out with own their site to compete? Ulta is laughing all the way to the bank as most of the vendors who sell Sally Beauty Holdings also sell to Ulta.

Do you remember the early McDonald’s commercials in which they advertised fountain Coke with their cheeseburger? Back in the day, everything went well with a Coke. Fast forward to 2014 and what goes best with a Coke? A bottle of OPI nail lacquer. Coke and OPI partnered up to introduce a special collection. The signature color is Coca-Cola Red (#613228). Look for the collection in June and we start taking orders May 1 (18-pc collections $79.95, #613224).

Isn’t it amazing how when gas was $3.00 a gallon, media was all over it and consumers were incensed. Now with gas at $4.00 a gallon, you don’t hear a peep. That is how we get conditioned to higher prices.

Speaking of higher prices, those famous Chipolte burritos will be 4% higher. First increase in 3 years. The California drought is getting so bad, prices on many veggies are going up and up.

Is Spring and warm weather ever going to come?

The Ukraine Minister today in USA Today came out and stated that Russia wants to start World War III.  If you read your history books on previous World War’s, you know the world is not ready, nor will ever be ready for another one. Is there ever going to be a time in which we can all live without war?

What’s worse than being behind a slow driver and then finally getting the opportunity to pass the driver and look over and see the driver is either on the phone or eating something?

Happy Friday!

Out Of My Mind On A Monday Mornin’

April 14th, 2014

What brand of boxed chocolate do you typically eat?

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Just when you think the nail industry can’t get any thinner on talent, two seasoned veterans are out. Combined, nearly 30 years of experience, both were with industry leaders who saw the changes take place with their very eyes. Their replacements? General managers and those with experience in the hair business. If anyone thinks that the two industries are even close to being the same, guess again. Campgrounds and Four Seasons are both places for people to sleep overnight but that is about it for similarities. Public companies view from 30,000 feet is one thing, having those in the weeds is another.

Coldwater Creek is no more. How the cataloguer opened more than 300 stores is an amazing story but alas, who shops in stores anymore?

Luxury retail on the other hand can’t be bothered with selling online and for the most part sells exclusively in their stores. How is it luxury can get away with it but mass retailers can’t?

Are you buying the Amazon Fire TV box? Leave it to Amazon to make it easier and easier to buy online. And why not toss in some entertainment and popcorn too?

If life is a box of chocolates, when was the last time you indulged and opened a box and started to dig in? The crèmes are the worst. Long ago when I did indulge, I only took quarter bites.

Google is testing in key cities building its own fiber network for internet connectivity to its Google Glasses. It wants people to be able to wear the glasses and use them anywhere and at anytime. If Google owns internet connections, what is left to stop it from owning the planet?

Are all baseball teams mediocre this year or what? Someone told me that Cabrera gets $42,000 for each at bat. Now we know why hot dogs are $6 bucks a pop.

New mortgages hit the lowest level in 17 years.

Uber which has infuriated the taxi and private driver industry is now ready to tackle the courier business. Testing now in NYC, Uber guarantees one hour or less delivery of any package. Since when did the speed of business come down to an hour or less?

HBO’s new hit, Silicon Valley, is a hoot and worth watching. The series premier featured Kid Rock live on stage at a company event and the techies were so not into him.

Happy Easter and Passover!

A Walk Down Memory Lane When Innovation Mattered

April 2nd, 2014

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It’s a sad state of affairs when innovation in our industry has been left to a new flavor of lotion or brush color. After reviewing the product selection for our THE BEAUTY BOOK Fall edition, it is apparent that most companies are sticking with their tried and true products and not investing in the next “AH-HA” product. Without new and different, there is nothing to get consumers excited about buying, so products become more and more commoditized and discounted.

Now back to memory lane, the year can be anytime between 1989 to 1995. This was when the industry trade show for distributors was called the BBSI (Barber Beauty Supply Institute) and the show was held each year in Las Vegas in the summer and a resort city in January such as San Diego and Orlando. These were the days when innovation was king and start up manufacturers flourished with new ideas, new concepts and new dreams. Most of the memories are still alive but alas, the companies long gone. Let’s take a stroll down a few of the aisles at one of the BBSI shows.

There’s Marlene Sortino [Italian Jewelry] introducing her new gold fingernails and dangling charms. Each charm is handmade and over 200 designs. The nail drill to make the hole in the nail is a huge hit.

Right across the aisle is Katia (Kami Nail Designs]. Everyone of her fingernails are long and decorated with rhinestones, striping tape and the newest sensation, snakeskin. Snakeskin is applied with glue and comes in 6 colors. Demand is high.

Tony Cuccio [Star Nail] is walking by his booth donning his dark sunglasses and black hair (which is long gone). The booth is nothing more than a couple tables and banner filled with cheap polish, files, block buffers and generic nail glue. But he is busy making deals.

Jan and Jim Nordstrom [Creative Nail Design] have a private room and excited to feature Solar Nail, Solar Beam and Solar Oil. Acrylics are hot and they have the best acrylics. Solar Beam was the first gel light but the design was flawed and had to be dropped. But it was a way cool concept. They are getting ready for their really big distributor party at the Hilton later that night featuring live music, great decorations, open bar and plenty of awards.

George and Myriam Schaeffer [OPI] have the large booth at the end of the aisle and they are launching their new polish line called Lacquer. It’s higher priced than the competition and going to be advertised in consumer magazines. George is so excited about this that even his suspenders are made of nail polish bottles. Myriam is showing off fine jewelry for loyal distributors to partake in. The booth is packed. George is quoted in NAILS magazine:

“Ours is the old style,” mused George. “It is a business philosophy of loyalty to the little guy, to those who got us started. This is the whole gist,” he added, “giving them extra, the best possible product attainable. Our first consideration is the product—the profit will come if the product is right.

“Don’t get me wrong,” George adds quickly, with a sheepish grin, “we like a little profit.”

Lorenzo Meija [IBD]is donned in his fashionable Italian suit perfect from the dry cleaner. He is excited to show off his new Soft Gel collection, the first gels to cure under a UV light. 5 Second Nail Glue is already a household name. Quoting Meija in the 1991 issue of NAILS:

“According to Lorenzo Mejia of International Beauty Design Inc., gel services are the fastest growing segment of the professional market today.

The natural look of gel nails is a major selling point with clients. In addition, the virtual lack of odor makes gels a popular service in full service beauty salons, where hair oriented salon professionals have for years used the odor complaint to relegate nail technicians to the back of the salon, or even keep them completely out of the salon.” OK, so 20 years earlier gel polish could have been invented.

Jack Sperling [Alpha 9]can be found in another aisle making practical jokes on everyone and having the best laugh as he sells his powder and liquid at outrageously high prices and gets away with it. No one had more fun in the business than Jack. This show he is proud of his new 4-Way nail file.

Vern and Lynn Rae [San Francisco Nails] have one of the hottest booths in the show. Airbrush nail art is ultra hot and everyone wants it. Machines, paints and stencils are on fire.

Ben Edwards [Design Classic] is a true entrepreneur and is showing off his latest creation: Fiberglass for nails. Wraps are getting bigger as fiberglass overtakes silk and linen as the preferred choice for nail techs.

Essie and Max [Essie] also have tables and a banner sporting Essie nail polish in over 100 colors. The big news at this show is that the polish went from $1.00 a bottle to $1.25 a bottle and the new seasonal collections are going to be introduced every quarter. We were not sure if manicurists would pay another quarter for a bottle of polish. Max was very busy behind the booth bullshitting about “nothing but nothing.”

Kirk Hamilton [Menda] was behind the innovation at Menda, or at least he represented the line well. Menda was introducing a new dispenser bottle that actually kept the acrylic powder from entering the bottle. Ingenious. However the plastic bottles remain their mainstay.

Calvert Billings [Calvert International] invented the first nail polish dryer using of all things, light bulbs. Really? I ordered 144 and had to reorder many times. He later invented something called the Laquer Whacker. Actually I am thinking of that for gel nail removal.

Dal LaMagna [Tweezerman] made the tweezer famous and could be found at the booth plucking eye brows while talking politics. Can you imagine if he was around at the time of computers he could have invented Facebook.

You get the picture. Back then business was fun, innovative and full of excitement. Our industry needs to return to this before it is entirely assimilated into retail beauty and all beauty becomes one. Or as I have said earlier, perhaps it is already there.

Happy Wednesday!

Out Of My Mind On A Monday Mornin’

March 10th, 2014

How often do you visit a casino?

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Finally, finally, finally. 40+ degrees and the first view of dead grass in three months. Who would have thought the sight of dead grass would be so enjoyable. But alas, 3-5” of snow coming Wednesday.

What happened to the MSU Men’s basketball team? From being #1 in the country to not even being ranked and rightfully so. Coach Izzo must have aged five years this season.

What’s hot? The new ForPro Universal Pedi Liners finally came in and are moving like hotcakes. It’s the perfect disposable solution to portable pedi’s and fits the Footsie Bath (which is on backorder).

Also hot: ForPro Crystal Nail Files including the Light Leopard print. For the price, customers are buying 10-20 at a time.

CND Shellac Paradise Collection  and it’s matching Vinylux collection are on fire. I especially love Sultry Sunset’s.

A sneak peak that’s coming in May but hush-hush until then involves OPI and a little company out of Atlanta.

Apple and it’s millions of apps know where we are every single minute of the day. So how is it we cannot locate a Boeing jumbo jet that disappeared over Malaysia?

With Staples closing 225 stores, Radio Shack shuttering more than 1100 locations and Sear Holdings/J.C. Penney wondering how many stores to dispose of, what is going to become of all the strip and shopping malls? When was the last new retail store that opened in a strip mall that you can think of? Can you imagine a start-up retailer competing with Macy’s or Nordstrom’s today?

With smartphone growth slowing to less than 10% since most everyone has on in developed countries, why are test scores going down in schools?

William Clay Ford enjoyed a great life and lived to the ripe age of 88. However he never realized his dream of winning a Super Bowl (the Lions never got close). You can put a $1.00 bet on this prediction: The Lion’s will be in the playoffs more in the next five years than they have been in the last fifty. Word on the street is that Alan Mulally will be the new GM. Wishful thinking.

Both the CEO of MGM Resort and CEO of Las Vegas Sands said they will anti up $10 billion to open a casino in Japan. That’s no gamble.

Breakthrough ideas are coming from TNG. One for the hair industry and one for the nail industry. Stay tuned!

Happy Monday!

The Future Of The Hair Salon Business

February 25th, 2014

[Reader’s Note: This is a continuation from the previous blog entry]

THIS JUST IN: Click here to see all the brands and products available on is live. Truth of the matter is that it is DOA already. The video is a joke and makes salon owners and hairdressers feel totally inept. Joico, a subsidiary of Shiseido of Japan, is in full support. Why? has its own Joico store and most everything is 30% off EVERYDAY and FREE SHIPPING. It’s just another deflection of what truly is going on: Salon products are consumer products and hence sold everywhere by virtually everyone. Once again some of the manufacturers are trying to show their loyalty to the salon industry even as they ship truckloads to retailers each and every day. With the site more than 90% hair, hairdressers will have to decide which brands to use behind the chair. Most interesting since Salon Centric is owned by L’Oreal and a competitor to SBH (although they sell BSG the MATRIX brand), there is not a single L’Oreal brand on

With the industry more than 90% booth rental, what is the future of the hair salon business? No one has a crystal ball, and most certainly not me. But my best guess is something like this: Back to the pre-1980’s days.

Think about independent service establishments for a moment and which ones over the years have persevered and succeeded? Dry cleaners. Shoe repair. Tailors. Fitness centers. Restaurants. There are a few more but let’s look at these.

Each of these establishments is owned by someone that has a skillset that is not easily copied by the average consumer. Dry cleaners artfully clean and press clothes. Shoe repair guys know how to replace insoles. Tailors can take in and take out just about any clothing article. Fitness centers offers specialized trainers and equipment. Chefs specialize in hundreds of cuisines. The other common trait in these businesses is that they do not retail. Dry cleaners do not sell clothes. Shoe repairs do not sell shoes. Tailors do not sell formal wear. Fitness centers do not sell running shoes or yoga pants. Restaurants do not sell steaks or bell peppers.

The folks at SBH have basically waved the white flag and made the statement that hair salons can offer services but cannot retail products. With that supposition in mind, the future of hair salons is service only. Long before the Paul Mitchell’s, Arnie Miller’s and Jheri Redding’s of the industry showed up, there was no retail in beauty shops. It was pure services. Hairdressers love to cut. Or they love to color. Or they love to do both. Their skillset is hair, not sales. 

The hair salon of the future will not sell anything but services. Ah, but there is a kicker. The successful hair salon of the future will include at-home products but make them part of the service fee. Smart marketers will offer products in special sizes for hairdressers to use for the service and then for the hairdresser to give to their client after the service is completed. This will solve many issues for both hairdressers and marketers.

The Current Process

Client comes into the salon for appointment. Client goes to the wash bowl and gets hair washed. The typical backbar has 10-20 shampoos and conditioners. Does the client even know which one is being used? No. Afterwards, the client goes to the stylist station for the cut and style. The typical station has 20 or more products and the hairdresser may use up to 6 of those on the client. Is the client going to buy all the products the hairdresser uses? No. Is there any way the client can make hair look as good at home? No. Does the hairdresser care if the client buys products? No. The client is still happy with the service. But for products, they are bought at a convenient store or from their smartphone and delivered in less than 48 hours.

The New Process

Client comes into the salon (no appointment necessary is best approach but all hairdressers must have equal skillsets). Client goes to the wash bowl and gets hair washed. Hairdresser recommends shampoo and conditioner to the client, shows the special sized bottles, uses on hair and then gives both bottles to the client. Afterwards, the client goes to the stylist station for the cut and style. Hairdresser recommends products to use. Each specially sized product used has an added fee so the more products, the more the service costs (same as a restaurant, everything ordered is a la carte pricing). The hairdresser uses the products and gives the products to the client to take home. Now the client is assured that they are using the same products at home as at the salon.


In the new process, the hairdresser and client both win. The hairdresser is happy because the client is using the products recommended to use at home; made money on the products without actually retailing them, and has no waste to deal with. The client is happy because she now has the products to use at home and if she likes them when running out, can buy with confidence from any retailer that sells the brands.

Whoaaaa!!! If this really is the future, what is going to happen to all those retail products salons have on their shelves? The better question to ask is does the salon industry really need 8 oz., 16 oz, 32 oz, and gallon sizes of the same item? Does one manufacturer really need to offer 8-10 variations of shampoo and conditioner? The future is back to simplicity, client convenience and superior service.

Want validation? The nail salon model now commands more than 80% of the nail business. No appointment necessary. No retail. And what about the products you ask? They have the system down that their clients must come in weekly or bi-weekly so products are not needed. And touch-ups are free in case of the occasional chip.

Now if we could get women into hair salons with the same frequency, that would be another conversation certainly worth entertaining (bi-weekly color touch-ups so hair never goes gray).

Whatever the future is, one thing is for certain: Change is constant. And for all those one million plus hairdressers in the USA, now is as good of a time as any to think about their future.

Happy Tuesday!

CND Shellac Summer Splash Collection