Out Of My Mind On A Tuesday Mornin’

When do you think the start of the next recession will be?

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So three days after my hip replacement surgery I’m walking without a cane. All is good. Then a few days later I’m in my office and my hands and fingers start to scratch like hell. I can’t stop scratching, it feels so good. I get home, call my derm and he tells me to slather crème on my hands and come in the morning. OK. But later at night the itching intensifies to the point I have to go to ER. In fact the itching was so bad I was thinking of being in a Saw movie and seeing if I could stop itching for ten minutes or die. Death was more enjoyable. Anyways, the doctor gives me a Benadryl IV and the itching starts to subside. Another IV a couple hours later and I could breathe again. But hives don’t go away just like that. After being released, later that day they moved to my back and legs. My lip was swollen, even my eyes were affected. Hives has to be one of the worst things to experience and hope you never have to in your lifetime (1 in 5 will). They think I was allergic to aspirin and aspirin has a 5 day half-life in your body. No more aspirin for me!

Yes I missed Cosmoprof and yes, I missed nothing at all. The only ones stating the show was a success were the show promoters and my reliable sources told me not only was the show floor eerily quiet, there was no action. Sunday was especially slow. Then again, just about half the show is packaging, less than a third of the show is professional (whatever that is these days) and the rest are tiny beauty start-ups that Cosmoprof for some reason has tried to make them super stars. Alas, this show is going down and in fact, next year it is being held just a couple days prior to July 4 and for the first time, starts and ends midweek. Why? Cheaper of course. But wait, in 2021 the shows moves to the LV Convention center. Why? Cheaper yet. Good for the Westgate but c’mon, how pathetic to see this happen.

Wallop! Ouch, being walloped is never a good feeling and this is exactly the feeling we got July 1 when Trump added 25% tariffs to many categories that were sight unseen. One category was nitrile gloves. Most interesting, nitrile, vinyl and latex gloves cannot be manufactured in the USA due to the chemicals required for production. So why would Trump add 25% to millions and millions of gloves that we must have on a daily basis? The list is excruciating and will immediately increase prices in the market. No wonder core inflation was up this month. Come September 1, virtually all other item will be tariffed at 10%. Sorry Trump, you are a complete moron fighting a trade war in which you know nothing about. At least with President Xi, there is a sense of strategy and compromise. But with the elections not until next year, the stand-off could get even more intense. Then again, Trump might just tweet he f—ked up and get rid of all the tariffs. This is no way to run the economy. [Update: Trump just postponed the 10% tariffs that were to take place September 1!!!!! Freaky]

Everyone is loving thebeautybook Fall 2019 edition. Me too. I have to admit, we have the most innovative products in the marketplace and some of which I am really over-the-top with include EcoTherapy, Scentworks melts, EMMA ZIP DIP, EMMA Gold and all the new treatments along with retail products, Triple Treat massage cream and the entire new lineup of scrubs and butters from Ginger Lily Farms.

Now that ForPro Professional Collection is the best-selling brand in the business, I guess I should be flattered about all the Chinese trading companies stealing our name and using it on their counterfeit products. I can only imagine what luxury brands must go through to protect their trademarks and designs.

I’m watching Season 3 of Stranger Things. Totally 80’s and totally awesome. But after watching the last episode, bye-bye Netflix.

Hard to believe but the new MSU Pavilion building is done and open for the new school year. The Gaynor Entrepreneurial Lab is ready for prime time and I get to speak September 27 to about 100 students. With more students in college than any other time in history and student debt quickly approaching $2 billion, I’m not sure this is the best time to be a student. Then again, there is nothing more fun than four years at a great school like State.

My surgeon cleared me yesterday and now I can go back to lifting weights, ride a bike and shortly, swim. The things you take for granted. One thing for certain: The more trips to the doctor, the less you take things for granted.

Happy Tuesday!

Hip Replacement Surgery 2019

Hip Replacement Surgery 2019

What is the worst pain you have experienced?

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Tomorrow is the day and is finally here. By this time tomorrow I will be done and most likely on my way home. 

Years ago hip replacement surgery (HRS) was about pain management. Those were the days of plastic hips. Now with titanium hips, it’s all about walking the moment you get off the operating table.

Having surgery of any kind is never fun but luckily we have the best health care system in the world and when you do need it, there is nothing better than knowing you are in good care. The entire process is quite profound and it starts at 6:45AM. Beforehand, the surgeon requires you to do blood work, make sure your EKG is OK, do a nasal swatch, take a class to learn what you are in store for, buy a cold therapy machine (fancy device that incorporates ice and water) instead of using ice packs and be hydrated the day of surgery.

Mind you all this is outpatient. Tomorrow morning the doctor will administer a pain block near the surgical site which takes 30 minutes. Then the anesthesiologist (is there a longer name for a doctor than this one?) puts you out. The surgeon operates for 45-60 minutes. You then have a one-two hour recovery in your private room. Then the PT guys shows up: Fits you with a walker, takes you on a walk, teaches you how to walk up and down stairs, teaches you a few exercises and then off to the car to go home.

The next day a nurse shows up at the house to make sure everything is OK and then it’s all about icing, pain medication, walking and exercising. First the walker, then the cane and then home free. Three weeks no driving (lucky to have UBER) and then get to swim and stationary bike. Twelve weeks 85% healed. One year, 100%.

900,000 Americans get either a hip or knee replacement each year. So many in fact, that everyone I told that I am getting this done knew at least one or two others that had to have it done too.  I’m currently finishing up the book, “The Pioneers” which is an excellent history lesson from the 1780’s to mid 1800’s. Just to think they had no options like this back then and I could only imagine what HRS looked like if it was needed.

Anyway, looking forward to no pain in the hip, walking normal again and knowing short term pain for long term gain is what it is all about. Thanks everyone for their best wishes, good luck and yadda-yadda-yadda. And of course the blog would not be complete without HIP HIP HOORAY!

I have to close with this cartoon, send courtesy of Hola Herman! Too funny.

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Happy Monday!

Update!
Tuesday, July 23
Arrived at UnaSource surgical center in Troy at 6:30AM. If you have to have joint replacement surgery, this is the place I highly recommend. From the moment you enter to the moment you leave, you are surrounded by qualified staff. They immediately took me to my private room where they took my vitals and hooked me to an IV. The anesthesiologist introduced himself and gave me a pain block in my right thigh (a bit of amnesia medication in my IV since I did not remember any of it). My surgeon, Dr. Verner, actually came to say hello and we chatted for a couple minutes. He left and I was wheeled into the OR. I saw this room for a few seconds until the mask went over my face. One hour surgery, two hour recovery, the PT guy came in my room, set up my walker and I started walking. Amazing. He showed me how to walk up and down stairs and then to the car to head back home at 1:30PM.
I received three types of narcotics and a bunch of other meds. The doctor recommended one Percocet before bed. I never took this before and I was kind of excited to try it out and see what all the fuss was about. However I was in no pain. In fact I was walking outside and not even using the walker. The pain block was amazing and lasts between 16-24 hours. I took advantage of it.
They gave me a pair of rechargeable vibration pads that go around your lower legs to prevent a blood clot (that is the worst and you want to prevent). These suck for sure as you have to wear them when you are not walking. Yep, even in bed. They puff up every few seconds to bring blood flow and then turn off for a bit. I also iced every 20 minutes per hour, walked hourly, did one hour of recommended exercises in the morning and afternoon. Update on Percocet: No feelings at all, so disappointed! That was the end of pain killers including Narco which I never tried.

Wednesday, July 24
Love my nurse, Nurse BUB! There is a lot of work for the nurse. My doctor recommended an ice therapy machine for $175 and terrific invention. It just needs to be filled with ice twice a day, plugged in and so forth. Sheets need to be changed every other day. Taking on and off the compression pads is a pain in the butt. I am always drinking water. But lo and behold I woke up and took a shower standing on my own, no shower seat needed. Walked with the walker and did my daily routine. UnaSource, doctor’s office and even a field nurse came by to check on me. All good! Also I got my first box of get well cards from everyone at TNG along with a nice bag of chocolate, yummy fruit and other surprises. All amazing.

Thursday, July 25
First day with the cane and the morning was really good. Onto book #2 (Patterson’s latest thriller). After lunch, ditched the cane and walked really good without it. Another FEDEX box from TNG with more cards!

Friday, July 26
My nurse is really getting bored with me. The ice machine is packed up as is the walker, cane, shower chair & raised toilet seat that was never used, and starting to look like a normal home again. Walking well and went out for breakfast. Made pizza on the grill and snuck in my first glass of wine. YUM!

Saturday-Sunday, July 27
Now it is a waiting game of getting fully healed. I was told 85% in 3 months and 100% within a year. I think sooner. My incision bandage comes of Tuesday (it is only about 4″ long and waterproof). I am hoping in two weeks I can swim and use a stationary bike. Driving will be sooner than later.

Today, July 29
BUB dropped me off at the Sports Club and I had a personalized rolly-polly yoga session on the floor, thanks Deb! It was amazing to be back less than a week. Now in the office and typing away with my compression cuffs vibrating. All is good and the love and support was amazing. Bottom line: If you are local, check out UnaSource and Dr. Verner if you need joint replacement surgery and stay away from an overnight hospital stay.

Amazon Enters Pro Beauty Space

Which FANG company could you not live without?

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It’s official: Today, June 24, 2019, Amazon.com entered the professional beauty space and is now selling to licensed salon professionals through their Amazon Business platform. To get pro pricing, you have to belong to Amazon Business and submit your license. No doubt they will manually verify each and every application and most likely, have already established ties to each state government cosmetology body. No one does business like Amazon.

The good, bad and the ugly.

But before I go there, today’s announcement is years in the making and I predicted this day nearly ten years ago. I recall vividly having my annual vendors charity weekend in 2005 telling everyone they needed to have their goods on Amazon and if not, they would sell  your competitor’s brands. Everyone shook their head like I was on crack cocaine.

Amazon started to enter the pro industry with its Luxury Beauty platform. It signed up plenty of pro beauty companies along with consumer companies. Essie and Zoya were first to sign up for nails. Eventually CND, OPI, Moroccanoil, Redken, Oribe and 100’s of others would join. Interesting enough, Harlan Kirshner was the ring leader for Amazon getting pro beauty companies to sign up or lose out. Ironically, the pro beauty industry’s biggest rep who calls on SBH (Sally Beauty Holdings), Salon Centric and Ulta and makes $$$$ in commissions, played the Amazon side and got many companies to sign up. Harlan is one reason why we don’t see rep groups anymore.

With so many companies part of Luxury Beauty, Professional Beauty was the next step in Amazon’s dominance of all beauty. Today SBH stock is down more than 15% to a new low of $12.47 as I write this. Ulta is down too but that is because Ulta stock sellers don’t understand Ulta’s business strategy. Ulta will continue to best Amazon in beauty for many reasons, none of them part of this blog. But SBH like I have mentioned several times before is vulnerable, especially Cosmoprof because Amazon is focused on their best-selling brands: Redken, Wella and OPI.

OK, here is the GOOD of today’s announcement:

It’s done and now all the players can move on. Salons and spas have been buying on Amazon for years and really the only thing affected are retail and hair color products which will now be available at wholesale costs. Next week we will see what discounts are offered. What is also good is that Amazon is an open book, you can see their strategy right in front of you and you can either ignore it or take advantage of it. One thing is for certain: SBH is the most vulnerable beauty company right now.

The BAD of today’s announcement:

Amazon took the relationships of the pro beauty industry and said good-bye to them. Amazon bet big time the industry doesn’t need sales reps, education, trade shows, stores, sampling and demos. Just think of the savings. And if licensed professionals like it this way, bad news for reps and stores.

The UGLY of today’s announcement:

If you think about it the pro beauty business is only 40 years old and how fitting for Amazon to announce in 2019, nearly 40 years to the day when Matrix and Paul Mitchell started. In retrospect, that is an awfully short time for an industry to come and go and that is ugly. Right now Paul Mitchell is not part of the Amazon story and is arguably the largest pro hair care company left (and still independent). Will it become “us vs. them” mentality? In the end, Amazon wins on convenience and next day shipping (they are testing two hour delivery in Denver and other key cities). Coty went all in and soon we will see what that decision means for the rest of the industry.

Bottom line: Business as usual. Coty and L’Oreal will ship a few more goods to Amazon’s DC’s and fewer goods to SBH’s DC. But in the end, overall usage of pro beauty products doesn’t change and since Amazon Pro Beauty is only good for licensed individuals, Ulta will continue to gain overall market share.

Happy Monday! 

Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

We all have a smartphone. Now when will you have your first electronic car?

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CBD this, CBD that.  Why all the buzz on CBD products especially with the FDA regulating all of them? Even Kroger just announced they are putting CBD products into nearly 1000 stores. Biotone were the first CBD products we started carrying, priced at $89.95 for a small cream or ointment. We sold a few jars and then I tested it on myself and compared to Biofreeze and arnica oil. At least with Biofreeze, you feel that cool sensation for a few minutes telling your mind that it is actually doing something good for your body. Arnica oil goes on smooth, smells good and actually has some benefits although not enough for arthritis. CBD cream and ointment? Nothing good that I could sense. No coolness, no smell, no tingling, no benefit. We will see, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, how long will consumers pay a huge premium for CBD beauty products?

American or Canadian cannabis is best? Then again, who needs CBD products when you can just smoke or eat cannabis? The new strains are so strong, one hit is all you need. But don’t ask me, haven’t touched the stuff in decades but if they had this while I was at MSU, not sure I would have graduated. Hmm, wondering if there is a resurgence in bean bag chairs and black light posters.

Yep, hip replacement surgery July 23. I guess never missing a day of exercise in 30 years will do that to you. Or maybe it was genetics. One thing for certain: I will miss Cosmoprof for the first time but after reviewing the exhibitor list, looks like I won’t be missing anything except for John Barth (we don’t even have a stand this year). This show like the trade magazines are indicative of the pro beauty business. Funny thing is when it comes to hair care, what are the most popular brands today? The same brands that were launched in the late 70’s and early 80’s. What are the most popular personal care products today? The same brands that were launched after WWII. Looks like some things never change after all.

I test drove the new AUDI E-Tron SUV. Very impressive, 200 miles on a single charge, ultra quiet, 0-60 in 5.6 seconds and interior totally AUDI. Definitely competition for Tesla.

Finishing up thebeautybook Fall 2019 edition, seems like six months goes by in two. Love the new edition, more than 150 new TNG products that will rock our customer’s world. Good thing since none of our vendors had anything worthwhile to add.

What is going on at Universal Companies? They haven’t published their catalog since 2017 and I just received their “What’s New Edition” piece. I am not sure if it is a magazine or catalog but it is one of the worst printed pieces I have ever seen. And really, they now have “Signature brands.”

Privacy? What’s that? If you vote, you have to give your driver’s license to ID yourself. Voting records have your address. Now voting records have been made public so just about everyone’s home address is on Google. And I don’t know about you, but the amount of junk email I get each day is growing exponentially. I’m wondering when junk texts will start coming.

Wait! Is that the sun? OMG, it is. Wait! Where did it go? How can summer be here next week with the days starting to get shorter when we have yet to enjoy more than two nice consecutive nice days!

Just finishing the last book in a long series by Dean Koontz, his latest and greatest superstar, Jane Hawk. The best summer reading for sure! And love the latest season of BILLIONS.

Happy Wednesday!

Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

2020 Election is "right around the corner." Who you voting for?

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I know, I know, I know! Where did the time go? Between now and my last blog, what has happened that we missed or have wanted to miss? Not much.

But hey, that isn’t why I haven’t blogged since the dinosaurs were roaming 65 million years ago, I have been traveling. In fact, just got back from Vegas and attended a fab wedding (my assistant Lindsay and her now husband Paul) and then drove to the Grand Canyon for a couple days and then drove to Lake Powell, Utah for a few more days. What is amazing is that I must have been to Vegas more than 100 times but never to the Grand Canyon. For some reason I think you too have never been which may explain that the average age of visitors had to be early 70’s. Canes, walkers and wheelchairs were all there and my guess is everyone really wants to see the GC in their lifetime and eventually, we all get there. I have to say, the scenery is awesome and breathtaking.

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Lake Powell is located in Utah but for all intent purposes, Page, AZ and is mostly Indian reservation land. Lake Powell features many “fingers” throughout the lake that make it very cool with plenty of natural sand beaches for houseboats to hang out.

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Perhaps one of the coolest tours was that of Upper Antelope Canyon, located on the Navajo Indian Reserve and only accessible by a licensed Navajo tour guide. The canyon with the sun coming through is magical and certainly worth a visit.

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My favorite pastime is traveling. You get to experience so many different geographical settings, diverse people and of course, local food and wine (and most recently, bourbon). I learned that Utah is not the best place for alcoholics. The place we stayed at told us each drink cannot exceed 1.5 oz. and is measured and controlled by the government. So if you want a double, you have to order two drinks, and have two people at the table. And just to think that alcohol is legal.

Now let’s talk some business. Oh, you want to see a picture of Lindsay in her wedding dress first? Why not, it is not often you are a bride in Vegas and can wear a wedding dress on the Strip, in restaurants and bars and even the pool. What I find is so amazing is that there are so many brides walking around Vegas, tourists don’t even look anymore. Then again, no one looks at anyone because their eyes are glued to their smartphones.

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Cosmoprof North America is coming up in July and at one time was the barometer of the pro beauty business (many of us remember when it was called the BBSI before the PBA sold the show to Cosmoprof and the show was actually held twice a year). Now the show is less about pro beauty and more about retail incubators and packaging companies. Can anyone tell me of importance who will be exhibiting and attending? TNG is not even taking a stand this year as we join CND, OPI and so many other companies. No doubt about it, Cosmoprof is an open book of the state of the business.

Tariffs yes, tariffs no? Right now, Trump is putting small and medium businesses at risk including American farmers. With Amazon the biggest online retailer and in control of most pricing, pass through of increases will be difficult at best. That means businesses like TNG will eat much of the tariff increases and eventually pass on some of the costs to consumers or stop selling some products altogether. As many CEO’s can attest, survival of the fittest is at its peak right now.

Steven Tamares, CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond, finally fired. I mention this only because activist shareholders are more and more involved in public companies and demanding their way or the highway. Tamares needed to go years ago and nearly killed Bed Bath’s business. The question now is can they be saved which is the same question being asked about Pier I, Office Depot, Staples and so many others. And one CEO I would not want to be right now is Chris Brinkman, head of Sally Beauty Company.

With summer finally arriving next month, I’m loving the new EMMA Beauty Summer Collection featuring the best neon colors that can’t be beat. After a terrible spring, we really need a fabulous summer and what better way than painting your nails with colors including Slice of Heaven and Sour Apple Passion. Batch 0719 is just as electrifying!

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Alas, looks like hip replacement surgery is in my near future. If Nick Saban can do it so can I. I guess putting on more than 15,000 miles running, more than 10,000 miles bicycling, more than 5,000 yoga classes and countless other exercises like aerobics did its trick. But in the end, I would do it all over again.

Happy Wednesday!