Out Of My Mind On A Monday Mornin’

Election Day is coming soon! Who are you voting for now?

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Our very first virtual trade show was this morning, You Got to Believe in Magic LIVE! I have to say it went very well, quick paced as the action went from booth-to-booth demonstrating our newest products and offering amazing show specials. Good news for attendees: They learned and saved without the expense of traveling to a trade show. Good news for us: We saved all the costs from renting show floor space to drayage to travel, hotel and food. Bottom line: More savings for our customers and no time wasted. All this good stuff while Vegas convention space is dark.

I’m loving the new mini bottles of Luxe lotion in both the EMMA and Ginger Lily Farms Botanticals brands. Incredible stocking stuffers, perfect for purse, car, anywhere. Best of all, we are the only brand of offer this size for the holidays. Candy Cane Crush is my fav!

Amazon Prime Day’s are here and will change holiday shopping like never before. I’m super excited for this event just to see the outcome. For us, we have a ton of best-sellers so it is going to be a great event. The question becomes is Amazon going to move it to an October event or keep it in the summer?

I dropped off my ballot over the weekend. Love the mail-in ballots, no idea why I never did them before. Even better, all the junk mail from the candidates is now worthless. And who has to worry about stealing lawn signs anymore?

I have to watch the movie, Social Dilemma, on Netflix. It is a documentary with ex-key employees from major tech companies telling viewers the inner workings of social media and the affects on us. I don’t know about you, but Amazon’s Alexa is a bit like this. I order a lot of Propel during the summer months, and recently Alexa has been asking me if I need to order it. Just yesterday, Alexa asked me to do a voice recognition test for her to better understand and learn my voice. Voice, eyes, palms, what is next?

I will say this. The smart phone has made us more reliant on social distancing to the point where we don’t even have to leave our home to do what we want to do. I have yet to go back to Equinox as I love Aaptiv and to a point, SoulCycle. The gaming industry is now 4-5X times bigger than the movie business and more games are being played on smart phones than ever before. And what device will be used to order on Amazon’s Prime Day’s? This is only going to get more magnified in years to come. No wonder more people are lonelier than ever.

And speaking of smart phones, Apple’s big 5G event is tomorrow. 5G will help drive economic growth the rest of this decade. While the phone will be available, most of the USA is not yet equipped with 5G, as we are years behind China and the rest of Asia.

Last on my mind is food. I’m thinking about updating my blog and including recipes and hints for cooking since that is all I do on weekends. What do you think? I know everyone loves fish tacos and I just mastered the best way to make the perfect fish for them. The secret? Using a cast iron skillet (if you don’t have one, get one, especially good for steaks too), I like to use wild cod, grouper or snapper, whatever is fresh and looks good. Pat dry the fish filet, season both sides (I like the salt-free fish seasoning in a can you can buy at most stores) and add a little salt. Heat skillet to high and when hot, add a T canola oil and then add fish. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove skillet from stove, flip fish and put in a 400F oven for 10-12 minutes depending on thickness of the filet. Remove and fish should be fork tender and perfect for fish tacos. Enjoy!

Happy Monday!

Out Of My Mind On A Tuesday Mornin’

Who and how are you voting?

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I have blocked the following words from my online experience: COVID-19, protests, racism, NFL, Donald T. Trump, and Joe Biden. Now the only thing on my news feed are recipes and travel destinations that I cannot get to. I love it.

I don’t know about you but I love sushi, or should I say, I used to love it. Sushi used to be authentic: Nice fresh tuna rolls, fresh wasabi and pickled ginger, ginger salad and miso soup. Over the past few years, sushi has become overstuffed rice rolls filled with fried shrimp tempura, cream cheese and other high fat pollutants. So I decided to Sushi Wushi. That’s right my friends, make my own. With a little online research, I learned I needed a decent rice maker, couple rolling mats, seaweed paper, and fresh ingredients. I went to the only Japanese supermarket in town figuring they would have it all. No rice cooker, barely any utensils but they did have fresh ingredients, wasabi powder (that is the secret to the best wasabi), and Japanese rice (has to be authentic). I learned that sticky rice Is not just steamed rice, but steam rice blended with rice vinegar, a lot of sugar and a lot of salt. No wonder it tastes so good! I ended up making the rice in a saucepan and it turned out fine. I got to add as little rice as possible to the seaweed wrapper and add my fresh ingredients. I made homemade spicy sauce for the tuna (Japanese mayo, Sriracha, lemon juice and a touch of sesame oil), and I made the spicy tuna two ways: One very small diced cubes plus the spicy sauce and second, blended in a food processor for a few seconds plus the spicy sauce. Both versions were excellent. I ordered the rice cooker from Amazon for next time and highly recommend you try your own Sushi Wushi experience.

Our premier issue of the TNG Catalog is out and I have to say it is quite impressive. It is truly amazing with everything digital how people still love their catalogs. RH stock is at an all-time high and they are the king of catalogs. There is something special about catalogs that will keep them around for years to come.

Remember your first Cinnabon? OMG! That was when they made them fresh in the airport and you could smell them as you checked in. Ooeey, gooey and so tasty. They just introduced their first frozen line of breakfast foods with their cinnamon specialties taking center stage. YUM!

Equinox is open as are all gyms in MI. I have yet to go and doubt I will be going anytime soon. The club now opens at 6AM instead of 5AM and the classes are later too. I cannot imagine doing yoga or spinning with a mask on. Steam room, spa and cold plunge pools closed and zero amenities in the locker room too. And for all this, you get to pay the same $150 monthly fee. With Peloton announcing triple sales last quarter, how many people are ready to go back to the gym? Are you?

Is it time to blame CA for the downturn in the beauty business? After all, CA is the only state to close down salons and spas unless they perform the services outdoors. Remember CA accounts for 1/7 of the USA economy. Or should we blame face masks as women no longer need as much lipstick? Or should we blame COVID-19 as millions of workers no longer need to go to the office? Coty, Revlon and Sally Beauty keep trending down. I wonder how much longer Coty will stay solvent; if and when Revlon will finally sell; and the future of Sally (most likely private equity will take them out and/or they will spin off BSG). With airports still mostly deserted, cruise ships not sailing until 2021 and spas open with limited access and capacity, we have a long ways to go before we see normalcy again.

Speaking of normalcy, I love a good steak like the rest of us (unless you a vegan like Ben). I also like a good pizza, nacho and grilled wild salmon. But there is still nothing like fresh burgers and fries. I make my burger with Piedmontese beef (all the flavor of chuck but only 4% fat) and truffle fries using fresh cut potatoes and truffle oil. The secret to making the best fries? Soak in ice cold water for 2-3 hours, then dry with paper towel. Fry for a few minutes in 300F oil (do not brown) and take out and drain on clean paper towel. When ready to serve, fry for a couple minutes at 375F until golden brown, season and serve. So good!

Happy Tuesday!

We Are Different: We Are In Stock

Now that Biden has picked a VP, who are you voting for?

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I was shopping at Meijer for dish soap wands made by 3M, you know, the ones you fill with dish soap and scrub your pots and pans. Meijer’s website said they were in stock at the store (they don’t ship). I went to buy them all excited and found not only were they out of stock, the entire section was out of stock. In fact, about 40% of the shelves in the grocery section were empty.

I decided to go to Walmart to pick up some essentials thinking they are the largest retailer, their sales are up and they should be in stock. I was shocked to find their shelves more than 50% empty. Like Meijer, not even a single bottle of red wine vinegar.

Yesterday I made my monthly trip to Costco which I am despising more and more. In fact, I have moved all my heavy items like Perrier and Propel to Amazon since Amazon is the same price and they deliver right to the door. But for certain items, Costco is still best. Then again, they were 100% out of paper towels, they only had their brand toilet paper and forget about essentials like gloves and wipes. At least their warehouse was stocked with items so it didn’t look barren like both Meijer and Walmart.

I just reviewed the saloncentric.com site to check out their inventory levels. Their private label brand is Prolific and they were out of stock on nearly half their items. It also looks they dropped both CND and OPI.

Cosmoprof.com was better since they don’t do private label. But still, their essential pricing is more than double ours and they still have limits in place. Oh, and forget buying gloves, wipes and other key items. They too look like they dropped both CND and OPI.

Now go to tngworldwide.com and check out our out of stocks. Every essential item we make is in stock including a full range of gloves, disinfectants, wipes and hand soap. We are in stock on everything our customers need to be in business.

What makes us different than the others? We actually manufacture all our products and have control of our supply chain. That is why we continue to ship our orders more than 99% complete. And who needs CND and OPI when you can buy EMMA Beauty at distributor prices and get the most innovative products? Oh, all EMMA Beauty products are in stock!

Shopping for goods has become a nasty chore. In most instances, consumers are tired and fed up with accepting second and third choices. No doubt mass retailers are benefiting from this trend as their customers buy brand B, brand C and sometimes even brand D when brand A is out of stock.

This is why I favor the Trader Joe’s approach. They are still one of the best shopping experience stores to shop mostly because more than 85% of the goods are their own brand. They too are in control of their supply chain.

Amazon loves all the supply chain issues mass retailers have. That is one reason why their sales are up more than 40%. Even though Amazon isn’t in stock all the time, you can still place a backorder and wait. Our customers love shopping with us through tngworldwide.com and Amazon.com. Our customers have the best of both worlds. Remember when no one thought Amazon.com was going to make it after the dot.com crash? In the end supply chain management always wins.

Happy Tuesday!

November 4, 2020

Who is going to win the Presidential election?

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Donald T. Trump in his victory speech early November 4 in a close race with Biden claims that now is the time to “Make America Great Again” and do whatever it takes to combat COVID-19, get the economy back and American’s working again. With the Republicans winning the House and already with the Senate majority, Trump should have no problems getting his agenda issues passed. Now the question becomes, what is next for the Democrats and what is next for the American people. And the rest of the world wants to know as well so they can once again allow American’s into their country.

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Joe Biden in his victory speech early November 4 in a close race with Trump claims now is the time to get America back on track and for all American’s to come together once and for all. With the Democrats losing the Senate and already the House majority, Biden will have difficulties getting his agenda issues passed. First up will be tax increases to corporations from 22% to 27% and most likely tax increases to individuals based on income levels. However whatever fiscal measures Biden wants to put in place will be very difficult based on the more than $4T in stimulus spending already this year.

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Now that the election is over and the results are in, what really changed? We have more questions than answers. What is life going to be like in 2021 and afterwards?

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I just finished reading The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larsen. It details the life of Winston Churchill from 1940-1941 for one year. It was a very good read especially during these times. You learn how France was defeated, how Italy took sides with Germany and declared war with England and the U.S., and how the U.S. finally got involved. One thing for certain, Churchill was a key figure in the Allied victory. But even in victory, the number of years that England had to endure daily bomb strikes and the total devastation were terrible. Every night was black-out night, no lights allowed. We have no idea how lucky we are to be living in a free country even with COVID-19. I don’t know about you, I much prefer to wear a mask, social distance and give up some of life’s perks than worry about being bombed every night.

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Polls are so interesting. In all my years, Gallup has never contacted me. And if they did, I am not sure if I would tell them the truth or give them an answer based on popular opinion. That is why Biden’s double digit lead doesn’t mean anything. One thing is for certain: Go back four years ago and at this time, all everyone talked about was the election. Today all anyone talks about is COVID-19 and how it is affecting their lives. We are all looking forward to the day that we can get together with friends and/or family and talk about normal things like “Did you try out that new restaurant?”

Happy Tuesday!

COVID-19: Not Another Stephen King Novel

Do you wear a face mask when you go out in public?

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It’s summertime. My favorite time of the year. One reason is that I get to read a lot of books due to long summer nights. I read the latest from Dean Koontz, Devoted, about dogs that are telepathic and relate to humans (his Jane Hawk series was perhaps his best); John Grisham’s Camino Island about a bookstore owner and mysterious deaths; and of course, a couple from James Patterson that are just fun reading. I’m currently reading The Most Fun We Ever Had by first time writer, Claire Lombardo which is quite the chick book (hey, always good to get more perspectives in life). The book details a family over a fifty year span and is quite good. It might be fiction but I am sure it more real than not.

COVID-19 is non-fiction and a book that right now has no ending in sight. In fact, this book could last through the entire decade. Most likely 2021 is going to fare as bad as 2020 with false hopes coming and going. With CA’s Governor, Newsom,  pretty much shutting down everything yesterday (all salons, gyms, religious buildings, bars, restaurants), it is only a matter of time before other states follow including AZ, FL, NV and TX. NV has already shut down all bars except those in casinos. But hey, is anyone going to a casino to lose money wearing a mask?

Summer was going to be downtime for COVID-19, everyone thought it hated heat. But nope, Brazil, Mexico and other hot spots are all hot spots. And what happens when October comes with the real flu season?

As this novel keeps getting longer and longer, we must sit and wonder why is the USA the most affected country in the world? Why does Florida have more cases than most countries with the exception of two?

With November 3 seemingly right around the corner, who is going to be our next president? Face masks or no face masks will win. Face masks appear to be the hero and the villain in regards to COVID-19. In Michigan, the Macomb county Sheriff department stated they are not enforcing Whitmer’s requirement to wear masks. Employees seem to be threatened daily by customers who do not wear face masks. I don’t get the drama, it is proven than face masks save lives. We all know when you went to a hospital before COVID-19, doctors and nurses wore face masks. And what the heck,  you can wear cloth face masks with Mickey Mouse if you don’t like the medical blue disposables.

Speaking of those, we just introduced the cutest little purse pouch containing 5 face masks. With cases rising daily and soon to hit 100,000, demand for face masks is going up. Demand for nitrile gloves is going up too and this poses a huge problem because there is a tremendous shortage of them (I blogged about this months ago). Most fortunate I ordered millions before COVID-19 and now TNG has the largest inventory of gloves in the business. We just received new extra long cuff and extra large sizes for our first level providers.

We also have the largest inventory of 70% and 99% ISP and the #1 selling brand of hand soap gallons. However I would give all this up for our main customers to be open for business. I miss my massages, spa days at resorts and although I am back on schedule for weekly mani’s, the experience is not the same. But I will say this: Salons have been doing an excellent job during COVID-19 maintaining cleanliness and adhering to safety guidelines. If anything, salons in CA should be allowed to remain open.

The state of CA gave us a wake-up call. Wear a face mask. Social distance. Sanitize often. If you go out, be responsible. We all want to have fun and enjoy summer. But if things don’t change and we don’t wake up now, book reading will go well into 2021 as a thing to do. Delta CEO Ed Bastian told us today that he doesn’t expect air travel to get back to normal for at least two years (yes, at least two years). YIKES!

Happy Tuesday!