Warm & Cozy

What is the thermostat set in your house during the winter?

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I don’t know about you, but the end of DST changes everything. Sure it is lighter in the morning for a bit, but the whole thing about getting dark at 6:00PM and next month at 5:00PM is enough to put you in a state of sleep until April.

Add the fact that I live in Michigan. While it may be 50F and sunny today, cold and snow is on the way. So instead of coming home and putting on shorts and a t-shirt in the summer, it’s about putting on warm & cozy long sleeve t-shirts and soft pants.

This year more than ever, is going to be about warm & cozy. Creature comforts will be in demand like never before. [Side note: Rent-a-Santa’s are in the highest demand in history due to the labor shortage and businesses wanting Santa to show up]. TNG has always been focused on creature comforts and now with the holiday season and winter season ahead of us, we are launching what will be your new favorite warm & cozy products.

ForPro Premium XL Towel Steamer

ForPro Prem XL Hot Towel Steamer

Amazing for salons and spas. However also amazing for home use. There is nothing like a hot towel after a pedicure, massage or just warming up your hands.

ForPro Classic Hot Towel Warmer

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Our ForPro Premium Hot Towel Warmer is the #1 best-selling warmer in the USA. Now we are introducing the Classic model with a special twist, an open door so you can see the towels inside. Like the Premium model, the Classic model features EPA-registered UV sterilization. Inventory will be in stock later this month, white model arriving in December.

ForPro Luxury Towel Warmer

ForPro Luxury Towel Warmer Signature Blue

Available in our new signature blue and also in white, the ForPro Luxury Towel Warmer will be your new best friend after taking a bath or shower. The warmer holds 2-4 bath towels and heats up in only 15 minutes. Features digital timer readout and can stay warm for up to one hour. Once you get used to warm towels, you will never go back!

ForPro Premium Wood Multi-Purpose Table

ForPro Premium Wood Multi-Purpose Massage Table

There is nothing like a warm & cozy massage and sometimes going to spa is not an option. One of our portable tables like the ForPro Premium Wood Multi-Purpose Table is perfect for home use especially with so many apps available to book a therapist. Make it extra special with our new ForPro Black Flannel sheets!

ForPro Premium Flannel 3-Piece Massage Sheet Set Black

ForPro 10-Minute Paraffin Treatment

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Soon available in our new Fragrance-Free formula, there is nothing like warm & cozy paraffin to help restore cold, brittle and dry skin. Best yet, you can use this at both the salon/spa or home and is good for up to 3-4 uses. Available for feet too!

Cold, dark and winter there is nothing we can do about it except for one thing: Make the best of it and it surely better to be warm & cozy than cold and miserable!

Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Afternoon

How Do You Feel About the Economy Over the Next 12 Months?

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Here is the state of the world we now live in:

Squid Games. Of course you watched it. The first episode was riveting. Who knew being eliminated in a game meant death? I made it through five episodes, the marble game episode was so disgusting. Why are we fascinated watching innocent people die?

Joe Biden. Has the U.S.A. ever had a more incompetent President? From the borders to his forgetting what to say in speeches to the infrastructure bill to giving away free money to the point people don’t want to work anymore. Biden has made it possible for Americans to quit their jobs and say f—k it. We have more labor strikes since 1945.

Bitcoin. Who is going to win the digital currency war?

Elon Musk. How can one man be worth more than $300 billion or more than Exxon? Or worth more than Toyota, GM and Ford combined? When Tesla reaches $2 trillion in valuation, he will be worth more than $600 billion. The answer: EV’s and batteries are the world’s future and he has more than a ten year head start. Ford is so far behind, much like the Detroit Lions who have yet to win a game this year.

Inflation. It’s here and will be here for a while. Good news for now: Consumers are more than happy to pay higher prices to get the goods they want to buy.

COVID-19. Vegas is packed and you must wear a face mask indoors. It’s the new way of life.

Twisted. I don’t know about you, but watching quick recipe videos is addicting. In a post-COVID world, more people are addicted to something than ever before.

Big companies. You have to go back to the 1920’s when the likes of Ma Bell and Standard Oil ruled the world. Never has so few companies dominated the economy and daily lives of people. Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Netflix, Costco, and Target. Can you live a single day without one of them?

Jokes. What are jokes? No wonder Seinfeld reruns continue to be the most watched TV series. Post-COVID, laughter is in short supply.

Customer service. Wait, you actually want to talk to someone?

TNG Worldwide. Hey, it’s my blog and I have to write about TNG, right? We’re still at it since 1985 and one thing consumers want most are dependable companies to do business with. And they want new and innovate products too. Now in stock: New and improved nitrile, clear vinyl and black vinyl gloves and next month we launch our holiday gift guide with the most ever new products.

The weather. It’s only getting worse.

2022. Only a couple months away, can you believe? This will tell us the true state of the world we live in. God only knows what the election has in store for us.

Happy Wednesday!

The Perfect Storm Is Brewing

What is your feeling on inflation over the next 12 months?

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What is the first I thing I do everyday after I wake up? Check the weather forecast. I want to know if it will be sunny or rainy or perhaps a combination of both. Isn’t it amazing how sunny days are good mood days and rainy days are blah days? We are happiest when it is sunny, no wonder we love going to sunny places on vacation.

Unfortunately the way of the world is not sunny right now (actually it hasn’t been sunny since the start of COVID and lockdown March 12, 2020). Sure we have had sunny days, like after the vaccine was introduced (months of May and June were especially nice) but now the perfect storm is brewing.

In all my years in business, I have yet to witness this particular storm. In fact it could be we worse than Carter’s 20% inflation years in the 70’s because not only are we going to have inflation greater than 5%, we still have COVID and all the political tension (next year is the mid-term elections and already I have seen more Trump news in the past week than the past six months).

The perfect storm is the one no one sees coming. You look at the weather forecast and it says today is going to be sunny. Then suddenly in the afternoon, thunder and lightning come out of nowhere and you have to run for shelter. I hope that I am wrong, but we will all be running for shelter and the shit could hit the fan as early as winter 2022.

Let’s talk about inflation because that has to do with business and things that have to do with business are still “safe” to talk about, at least for now. Consumers are the last to know about cost increases taking place and for good reason: Companies have nothing to gain to tell consumers in advance about price increases because they know consumers will hoard goods and make matters worse.

Here is an example of what I am referring to. We have the #1 selling foil sheet on Amazon. Amazon has been selling our 5” 500-ct box for $8.39 since God knows when. That was before price tariffs of 25%, before the cost of aluminum hit a 15-year high and before the cost of a single shipping container went from $4500 to $25000. There are 23,500 foil boxes in a container. Figure the math. At $4500, that comes to about $.20 per box for freight. At $25,000, that comes to about $1.15 per box for freight. Then add $.75 for tariffs and then add $.65 for increased cost of aluminum and you can see the perfect storm. Our new selling price for the foil sheets will be $13.99 per box but we are going to offer a 12-ct case for only $9.99 a box and absorb a lot of the price increase…..for now. But what happens when costs go up even more? Our best-selling 9” foil sheet box just went to $19.99, up from $11.99 ($14.99 each when buying a case of 6). So much for inflation running at 5%.

The same situation is true for just about everything imported. We are now paying more freight than the cost of the product for items like hot towel warmers, pedi liners and other bulky products. I easily see prices going up 20-30% for imported goods. Unless you are Apple of course who can sell a tiny phone for $1300 and can put tens of thousands in a single container.

But the perfect storm cannot take place just because of imports. Domestic price increases are taking place at a record clip too as employment, delivery and raw material costs are soaring. I buy Prime filets at my local Nino’s. Last year I paid $29.99 lb. This year the price went to $34.99, then $39.99, then $44.99 and last week $54.99 lb. Even non-prime filets were $39.99 lb. No wonder the likes of Aldi and Costco are doing well, food prices are at the highest in more than 50 years.

However this is what makes this time period worse than the 1970’s: At least in the 1970’s, even with crazy inflation, you still could at least buy the goods you wanted. Today, not only do you have to pay higher costs, you can’t even get the items you want no matter the cost. Waits up to six months or longer for items like bikes, washing machines, cabinets, flooring and so much more are normal. A shipping container that used to take 4 weeks to get here from China now takes anywhere from 7-14 weeks. We are still waiting for goods that we ordered in March/April.

And here is the caveat to all this. We are sick of being out of stock (although we have the highest in-stock percentage compared to our competition) so we are ordering more. But that is the issue, most companies are ordering more too, which means more demand and more strain on the logistics industry (more than 30 ships stranded at the Long Beach port daily, railroads not taking new containers, truckers can’t find truck drivers, etc.). It also means more inventory and less turns for businesses along with lower margins. That is the perfect storm.

The all important holiday season is fast approaching. This will be the worst holiday season ever for selection of goods. Already toy manufacturers have warned buy now or be sorry.  December will be a key month and give us the best read on the market. With the Chinese New Year (Year of the Tiger) just around the corner in January, the peak of the perfect storm should take place. And then it’s only a matter of time to see what happens in its aftermath. Perhaps sunglasses will go on sale.

Happy Tuesday!

Out Of My Mind On A Thursday Mornin’

What type of ice cream is your favorite?

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Inflation? You have no idea what is coming down the pipeline. The Fed says it is temporary, Biden is clueless as he keeps Trumps Chinese tariffs in place and companies such as ZIM report record earnings due to the highest container prices in history. Let me give you a quick example of what we are dealing with. We sell the #1 selling pre-formed pedi liners. There are about 1300 boxes of 100-ct. in a full container. We normally pay $3 freight for each box. The current freight cost was $13 or more than 4x regular cost. It is no wonder we had to raise the sell price from $59.99 to $69.99 and we aren’t making a penny more.

Supply Chain Issues? With the third biggest port in China still virtually shutdown, LA/Long Beach port with more than 35 containers sitting in the water waiting to be unloaded and the rails not taking on new containers, supply chain is a mess and will continue to be so through 2022. It is going to be a very interesting holiday season. Gift cards will be in stock and the most sought after item.

Delta Variant? Never have we seen such a stance on an issue like being vaccinated. Surely the government is the root cause of this and no one has an answer. Same thing with masks. Looks like the only outcome of all this will be “wait and see” but at what cost?

Afghanistan? This is one for the history books. We will learn the fallout from this perhaps weeks, months and years later. Not only are we living through COVID, now we have to live with this too.

Having fun yet? I was reminiscing with the BUB about how much fun we had back in the day. I know I am showing my age, but WTF. When disco was hot and the Bee Gee’s were at their loudest, what was more fun that shaking your booty on the dance floor? Heck now if you even want to go dancing, where would you go? Back at Michigan State, every Friday from 4PM to 7PM was fun times at the Alley Eye & Dooley’s; pitchers were $.50 and Manhattan’s were $.50 and the music was blaring and the dance floor was hopping. Dorm parties and college events were so much fun. Now at MSU, you have to not only be vaccinated but you have to wear masks indoors.  Truly the most fun times were without cell phones and social media. Just think about it.

Clinton’s golden decade of the 90’s was free of cell phones and social media. That was the last fun decade in America and most likely will not be repeated in our lifetime unless we elect a President that understands what America stands for and what makes it the greatest democracy on the planet. It surely wasn’t any of the past five presidents and it certainly isn’t Biden although Obama does know how to throw a party.

Love ice cream? Sales of ice cream are off the charts. Always the best-selling dessert, now the rush is on between manufacturers who can make the most decadent pint. According to the WSJ, $10 pints are the new hot thing and some manufacturers are willing to pay $40,000 for a single slotting fee per flavor. Everyone wants to be the next Halo or Talenti. But hey, we all know what goes in a $10 pint: A lot of cream, high fat chocolate and other terrible ingredients for you even though they are natural. Perhaps in the world we live in today, calories don’t matter. Then again, Levi’s and Old Navy are trying to figure out ways of introducing more plus sizes…..

Jimmy Buffett time? You bet, he is coming to DTE September 21 and expanding his concert tour dates even has some musicians are canceling due to COVID. Summer still has more than four weeks of life and I plan on enjoying each and every day while it lasts. Jimmy’s music is summertime year round and it’s now wonder his empire keeps on expanding. Be sure to visit the Lah De Dah and escape all the bullshit!

Happy Thursday!

Pro Beauty Trade Shows R.I.P.

Are you vaccinated?

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It was only a matter of time.

When Amazon decided to get into pro beauty, that was the first kiss of death for pro beauty trade shows. Virtually every big brand signed up much to the dismay of salons who for more than 40 years supported entrepreneurs by retailing their goods to their clients. The business was too big to pass up and they decided that the salon business wasn’t important enough.

As Amazon continued to expand its offerings, pro beauty offshoots started struggling. Now the brands were focused on advertising on Amazon, who needed magazines anymore? All the nail magazines folded; Modern Salon is down to 48 pages if that; and even the “blue” newsletter disappeared. The big brands that put the magazines in business all left.

Now the big brands that put the trade shows in business are gone as well. They no longer need to exhibit at a trade show to try to win over a salon, a distributor or a retailer. They have Amazon and most likely, Sephora and/or Ulta. Gone are the days that Paul Mitchell, L’Oreal (Matrix, Redken and such), OPI, and so many others will ever exhibit again.

Cosmoprof North America is being held next month in Vegas. The question you have to ask is, why? COVID didn’t go away and with the Delta variant, it is getting worse. In fact, Vegas is already asking everyone to wear masks. International travel still isn’t happening so forget international visitors which made up so much of the show. Who is going to exhibit that is newsworthy for an attendee? And bottom line, what information can’t an attendee get these days? All trade shows advertise the list of exhibitors so do you really need to attend? It’s no wonder why the Cosmoprof show floor is less than half filled and most likely, will be their last show.

Premier and ABS are in the same predicament. Who is going to exhibit and those companies that do, the question is again, why? The main attendees are booth renters looking to snatch up bargains but with inflation roaring and the supply chain gutted, attendees will be sorely disappointed when they don’t find bargains. There just isn’t any reason for these shows anymore.

The only show that matters today is amazon.com. We went to a mattress store and asked the sales person if they had the best price. “Yes of course” was the standard answer. “You can check online and we guarantee the best prices for at least 30 days after your purchase.” Jokingly I mentioned Amazon and he said they don’t offer the same services as we do. Just for shits and giggles I went to amazon.com and sure enough, they sold every bed Mattress Firm had on their floor at the same price with all the same services. Today, it doesn’t matter what the category is. Amazon is the show that matters.

Truthfully I am not going to miss any of the beauty trade shows. At one time when the real entrepreneurs of the business were exhibiting, threw parties and real innovation took place, they were a blast. But that excitement left more than ten years ago and beauty trade shows have been ghosts of their past ever since. COVID will finally put them to rest, R.I.P.