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.

Out Of My Mind On A Monday Mornin’

What are you most excited about the post-COVID economy?

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Here is an acronym for you to remember: MOAR, Mother Of All Recoveries. The post pandemic recovery is going to be the greatest on record, even greater than the post World War II recovery that ran from 1950 to 1966. While the stock market has been at new highs during 2021, we have only seen the beginning. MOAR will soar through 2022 and could last until 2030. How is that for a prediction? Mind you, not from me, but one of my services that I subscribe to which has been spot on for more than twenty years.

So if MOAR is true, this should be the best news for business, right? Large cap tech businesses, absolutely. The latest generation of technology in world history is just starting to make it to market and will work its way through 2035-2050. We will see more change during this period than ever before and will make the computer generation of 1980-1995 seem like peanuts. But if you are a small business, it could be a flip of a coin.

How many restaurants are turning customers away? Cedar Point is not open on Tuesday or Wednesdays. Try getting service anywhere. The reason: More than 9 million job openings and yet, millions of Americans still do not want to work. Also more people than ever are quitting the workplace and either retiring or starting their own business from home. Let’s take the hospitality industry, all the tech is in the world won’t replace customer service. MGM Resorts app now allows you to use your phone as a room key, check in, check out, make reservations and check out all the activities. But if you can’t get a drink at a bar or dinner take 45 minutes to be served and it’s lousy, what good is it?

When it comes to gallons of personal care products, no one does it better than Ginger Lily Farms. Already the best-selling gallons in America, now I am very excited to launch new sizes and new categories. First up is our fragrance-free hand soap in a convenient 6-ct 12 oz. package. 

Ginger Lily Farms Botanicals Liquid Hand Soap

Next month comes the new Dog & Pet category which will feature a very amazing 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner and odor eliminator. And coming in August, look for the new Salon category featuring hair regrowth shampoo and perhaps one of my favorite product launches to come, the perfect competitive product to Moroccanoil! Soon you will be able to buy a gallon for the same price as 8 oz. Hmmm, which will be the better value?

One thing about MOAR that is not good, is that we are back to heavy traffic, long lines at airports, high priced just about everything and BTW, have you tried renting from AVIS or Hertz lately? YIKES!

The ongoing battles with China and the USA will continue for a very long time. However, regardless of what Trump and now Biden are doing with tariffs, it’s not working. Demand for goods is so high, the wait for containers from China is more than two weeks, costs for containers have doubled and tripled and there is no way U.S. factories can still compete. But one thing to keep in mind in this trade war is the value of brand names. You can think of many brand names made in the USA and sold worldwide including China. But how many brand names made in China can you think of that are sold worldwide? Fact is, there are NONE. If you look at all the China brands that are sold on Amazon, none of them are are a brand name, just a name to list on Amazon and take advantage of the marketplace. The only Chinese brand that has traction is not a product but a service, TikTok.

The $100 question going into the peak of summer: Will the Delta variant make its way into the USA in a meaningful way? Most people are so over COVID, any return to it at this time will bring a lot of nothing good.

Have a great 4th of July weekend, hard to believe the year is half over.

Happy Monday!

Out Of My Mind On A Thursday Mornin’

Are you vaccinated?

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One Margarita, Two Margaritas, Three Margaritas, SHOT!  Luke Bryan won a CMA for that song. And now more than 100 million Americans can cheer with that song since they got at least one shot. One shot (Moderna or Pfizer) is 86% effective and getting both shots is around 95%. I got my first shot a couple weeks ago and next one coming up soon. The process is simple (I signed up at riteaid.com). The shot is quick and painless although some have reactions like a sore arm for a day or two. The second shot, especially for women, can have unpleasant side effects that last up to three days. But hey, it’s better than getting COVID and 95% is a whole lot better than 86%. If you aren’t vaccinated, now is the time. Eventually all travel, concerts and even large social events will require it.

Who would have thought that the hottest fragrance in personal care products is ZERO. That’s right. Perhaps Old Spice has sickened too many consumers with their odd fragrances or consumers are just tired of smelling like something they don’t want to smell like. Or perhaps it’s the new wave for the new generation of consumers that don’t want anything extra added to their products. Ginger Lily Farms already has the best-selling gallon fragrance-free soap and now our new line of ZeroDerm products is in huge demand. All ZeroDerm products are free of just about everything, amazing for people with allergies, and the lotion is dermatologist approved and lasts up to 24 hours. The best-seller so far is body wash and already the #1 gallon seller on Amazon. The line also includes shampoo, conditioner and hand soap. I recommend it for all hair salons, less than half the price of branded gallons and better performing.

ZeroDerm 24 Hour Advanced Therapy Daily Moisture Lotion Gallon benefits

Broadway is opening back up to 100% capacity middle of September. Are things moving too quickly and are we setting ourselves up for another disaster?

Biden’s latest $1.9T stimulus gift is just the beginning of what he is proposing to spend and to create the biggest government economy since WWII. While I am not going to get into the politics of this, the key point is that all this spending is creating incredible demand. But Biden never took this into consideration and consumers will pay handsomely. For one, prices are going up quicker than ever. Supply shortages are nearing records and this will continue for months and well into 2022. Already chip shortages are affecting many industries, commodity prices have soared and now freight costs have more than doubled. All this while Biden keeps Trumps China tariffs in place. $3.00 and even $3.50 gas will be commonplace. And with all this demand for goods and unemployment benefits still extended, who is going to make all this stuff and provide the services we all desperately crave?

EMMA Beauty is surging in popularity for many reasons. Everyone loves the polish, the colors, the price and the innovation. The newest product, Spectrum, is totally awesome. Consumers can now have gel-like nails using regular nail polish and Spectrum. As they say, the proof is in the pudding!

TNG Worldwide remains one of the very few companies to maintain nitrile gloves in-stock throughout the pandemic. We just received fresh shipments of blue in all sizes except XS. And I am sorry to say, that size will no longer be available. One thing that is for certain, many items will be eliminated due to the pandemic and supply side issues. We also have all size in clear and black vinyl in stock.

My last blog I mentioned Etherum (ETH) and how it was going to change finance as we know it today. It was priced at $2200 and now it is soaring past $3500. Some experts are saying it will go to $8-$10K by July. The entire crypto category is very exciting and I love to keep learning more about it. You should too.

Are drivers today more obnoxious, rude and crazy than ever before? They are either going too slow while texting or going too fast.

Sorry to say I have not watched anything on TV worth reporting. Movies seem to be blah. Could it be people are just bored with content and little excites us anymore? Hobbies are much more interesting and fun. I do miss Texas Hold’em, haven’t been to a casino since last February. I’m waiting for the locker rooms, spas, gyms and amenities to open up first.

Peace & love!

Larry

Coinbase

Will you ever buy Bitcoin or Coinbase stock?

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Coinbase is going public tomorrow. So what does that have to do with beauty products you may ask? Good question. Nothing. Not yet anyway.

In case you are not in the know about Coinbase, it is the largest “wallet” and marketplace for digital currency include Bitcoin (BTC) and Etherum (ETH). It boasts more than 25 million users and is highly profitable. Valuations are coming in at close to $100 billion and that is real U.S. dollars.

I have written about BTC and other digital currency recently but my reason for writing about Coinbase today besides it going public tomorrow, it what we can expect the future to hold about digital currency. Already many countries from Australia to China to the U.K. and even the U.S. are exploring their own digital currency. Right now if you want to transfer funds you have to use a third party like Western Union or even your bank but there are fees involved and it is a very complex process.

However digital currency is not what all the excitement is about. It is about DEFi (decentralized finance). This is where ETH comes in and most of all other Coinbase offerings. ETH is the building block for most DeFi platforms. DeFi platforms are seamless, do not involve third-party intermediaries and have grown more than 1000% in just the last year. Billions of dollars are being moved through DeFi daily and that is without most people knowing what DeFi is all about. I can guess in only a few short years more than $1 trillion will be processed.

By-products of digital currency and DEFI are numerous. Already NFT’s are the latest fad and everyone knows about someone paying $69 million for a NFT. What is a NFT? A non-fungible token. OK, so now you want to know what a non-fungible token is, right? HA! It means that the item is unique and cannot be replaced by something else. Think of a rare baseball card in which there is only one in the world. A NFT is the same thing but digital. Virtually all NFT’s are based on ETH so as NFT’s become more mainstream, so will ETH.

So with DeFi and NFT’s growing like weeds, ETH is the glue that holds everything together. And if you want to buy ETH, can you guess where you can buy it? Robinhood? No. Your bank? No. Local Kroger? No. Unless you have more than $25K to invest, the answer is Coinbase.

ETH was invented in 2014 and came out at a penny. Today the value is over $2200 and up more than 50% in one year alone. Some say the value can go to $10,000 and over. No one really knows because we are in the infancy stages of all this.

What all this reminds me of is AOL, Netscape, Atari, Intellivision and early Nintendo. Only Nintendo is still around (although Atari is alive in Paris and just introduced its own digital coin but has nothing to do with the games like PONG back in the day). Eventually Google, Microsoft and Apple took over and are the leaders today. However, what BTC and ETH have done as pioneers is so much different than what AOL and others did when they were pioneers. While there can be an infinite number of digital coins, there cannot be another BTC or even ETH unless the government gets involved and decides to get into digital currency and DeFi.

Some pundits say BTC and all this other stuff is a Ponzi scheme, a bubble and will blow up and everything will be worthless. BTC did crash in 2017. A year ago the value of BTC was only $7,000 and now just broke a record at $63,000. Big investors are involved and while there can only be 21 million BTC produced, of which 18 million have been produced, the odds seem less than in 2017 of another crash. Those that hold BTC (2.4% of the holders own more than 95% of BTC) claim it will hit $115,000 in August and march to $250,000 and higher in 2022.

For now, everything in this space is fascinating to me and will become part of our ecosystem. Coinbase is going to be one of the most exciting IPO’s ever (they are doing a direct launch) and after tomorrow, millions of people will know more about all this. Back in 1990 if you thought everyone on the planet would be walking around with a cellphone, you would have been laughed at. The same thing is going to happen with digital currency but it is not going to take 20-25 years to make happen. Let’s watch and see. And if you can, buy at least one share of COIN tomorrow for history sake.

Have a great day!

Out Of My Mind On A Thursday Mornin’

Are you traveling out of state for spring break/Easter?

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A.I. and IoT has hit my office once again. Let me go back to 1990. PC’s were pretty new and very expensive. Fax machines just launched. Voice mail was yet to be invented. For me to place an order with a vendor I had to call the vendor and read each line item. When I left the office for lunch or a day off, my desk would be littered with pink “While You Were Out” notes. My desk had a computer, phone, stapler, Scotch tape dispenser, pencil sharpener, scissor, paper clips and an OKI 192 printer (at least I didn’t have to deal with the IBM Selectronic!). I barely had room to write a note.

Fast forward to today and voila! The only thing on my desk is my 21” Mac. The phone is gone! It is now incorporated into the MAC. It uses the MAC microphone. Not only can I make and receive calls, but I can chat, I can review voicemail through Outlook (which transcribes it and notifies me if it a Robocall), I can do group calls and so much more. Totally amazing. Then again, who calls anymore?

So happy that daylight savings time is here, Spring is here and warmer weather is right around the corner. Add a full dose of sunshine we have been getting along with optimism in regards to vaccines to Biden’s $1.9T gift, it could be the start of good times ahead. Finally.

We are seeing a bit of this optimism in business too. Already pedi supplies are moving out quickly and that is really good news indeed. Vegas just announced 50% capacity and they are booking events into 2022. Planes are getting full again with more than 1.3 million Americans traveling last Friday alone. But pedi’s are a better barometer of the economy because women rule it. One wildcard post-pandemic everyone has been wondering about is exactly what services consumers are going to go back to and what services will they stop. Salons and gyms are especially on the edge. Take Peloton for example. If you spent $2500 for a spinning bike, are you going to take live spinning classes at a gym once masks are no longer required?

I always said the best thing about mani’s and pedi’s is that online companies cannot offer them and even the best at-home products can’t make up for the expertise of the nail tech. Same is true for facials and massages. I think there is a huge pent up demand for these services along with traveling and going out to enjoy entertainment. And now with more than $1.8T in savings ready to be spent, demand could be off the charts.

One big question economists are asking is related to inflation. With so much goods coming from China in containers, costs are skyrocketing. Container shipments that used to cost $4500 are now $8000 and booking is not easy. Chinese factories have been raising prices at least 3-6% and now with gas at record prices since the pandemic, other items are going up too. Look for higher prices, reduced counts or sizes of products and other cost-savings measures in 2021.

Want to sell your car? At carvana.com, you just enter your license or registration number, answer a few questions and in seconds they will tell you the value and pick your car up. With new car deliveries all taking place virtually, why do we need dealerships anymore except for service?

Just an FYI, my next pedi is booked for tomorrow at PAINT. PAINT is one of a handful of franchises run by a really nice couple based in Florida. Their concept is solid and offers a refreshing and relaxing approach to mani’s and pedi’s. One of the best parts of being in the beauty business is checking out new and exciting salon concepts. Our industry certainly can use a little innovation especially now with consumers excited to get out.

Happy Thursday!