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The professional beauty industry’s best trade show for salons is the Premier Beauty Show in Orlando. It is well organized, conveniently located in the Orange County Convention Center (the size of a small city) and they spend money on their main stage productions. We were excited to exhibit and launch the black 15in1 trade show booth. The bad news is they gave us the worse booth location in the show (the bathrooms would have been better). The good news is that those that found us loved us.

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Main stage differed this year than all other years as CND was the first nail company in the history of the Premier show to have a slot. Jan Arnold was sensational and brought along The Blondies (huge designers) that did all the model’s outfits. The 40 minutes presentation was amazing and we will get to see some of this live at Beauty Buzz coming up October 7 at the Motor City Casino Hotel Soundboard Lounge.

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Yes, Jan even had a guy wearing Shellac nails. Every outfit was designed around the nails. You have to see it to believe it. Plus they had two nail artists live on stage doing Shellac nail art, also very cool.

But even with all this, the show lacked its typical excitement. Attendance was down both days, however, most interesting was that none of the P&G brands were present. It’s like both P&G and L’Oreal are making a stand which trade shows they participate and support. So Wella, Nioxin, Sebastian and others were all missing. And even though L’Oreal was present, their booth space was not commanding as in years past. In fact, Redken didn’t even bring open stock items to the show. And as always, it is very difficult to compete with the flea markets throughout the show. Attendees waited in lines more than an hour just to get into the $1 bin areas.

While the Premier show was going on and remember, this is the best show of the year, ULTA announces its quarterly results. Same store sales up more than 10% and its stock zooms up nearly $10 a share to reach an all-time high. And what brands does ULTA sell? You can name them all (or pretty much all, they still don’t have Kerastase, Oribe, Moroccan Oil or even black 15in1). And while hairdressers are looking for bargains at the Premier show, consumers don’t have to pay $10 for parking, walk a mile to get into the show in 90+ degree heat, deal with suitcases and crowds or pay $40 to get in. They just need to walk into an ULTA store and get virtually every pro brand at huge discounts. Take a look at their latest offering:

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Over 35 brands. Take TIGI BED HEAD Hard Head spray for example. Salon retail is $18. Salon pays $9. ULTA pays around $4.50 and receives added discounts. Consumer buys 2 at $18 each for $36 and gets one free. That comes out to $12 a can. If the salon does that, they make $3 a can. They have to pay 10% commission on the $12 or $1.20 so their net profit is $1.80 a can. ULTA on the other hand makes $7.50 per can. It’s no wonder ULTA sales and profits are skyrocketing, who can compete?

The real industry trade show is now at ULTA’s 430+ stores and takes place daily, not on one selected weekend a year. Things are changing or shall I say, things have changed. No one does retail beauty better than ULTA. Now let’s get back to the business of the hairdresser and the future of salons. Let’s hope the Premier show can lead by example. Oh, a better booth location would be great too!

Happy Tuesday!