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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Welcome to March! February was as brutal of a month weather-wise that could be, from rainy and cold CA to wintery NY. In Michigan we got to experience the polar vortex at –38F, freezing rain, snow, rain, blue skies, 50F, and everything in-between. Spring is less than 3 weeks away, hooray.
The salon suite phenomena is an express train on steroids. Sola suites has hundreds of locations and opening more. My Suites already has more than 100 locations and wants to open a couple hundred more. Plus there are plenty others like Phenix, and Premier not to mention individual salons that are all booth rental. Let’s suggest each suite has 25 tenants and with just 1000 suites across the USA, that would account for 25,000 hairdressers (small percentage are nail and spa). With the growth plans in place over the next few years, perhaps 70%-80% of hairdressers will be renting space and only exclusive and franchise salons will remain.
The big question to ask, “If the salon industry thrived for 100 years, what factors came into place to allow salon suites to prosper?” JB, why not chime in on this one!
Nails are alive and well and in fact, I see a bit of the 80’s resurfacing. Nail franchisors see huge opportunities and selling franchises as fast as possible. Franchise owners/nail techs love the business concept and know that women love getting mani’s & pedi’s but want a pleasant and clean environment to get their services done. This is very good news indeed for TNG and I love the fact nail techs make a great income doing what they do best. I think what is making this happen is that Vietnamese salons have peaked as women from Vietnam no longer want to come to the USA to do nails. Vietnam is thriving and growing 50% faster than China and manufacturing is soaring. Women have much more opportunity to establish careers than ever before and they are taking advantage of it. Next trend: Beauty schools catering to nails and establishing curriculum to meet the growing demand.
Speaking of nails, I have to mention EMMA Beauty. No brand is having as much fun as EMMA and everyone is loving its brand message targeted towards Millennial’s and healthy living.
So far so good: No government shutdown and no additional tariffs. In fact, looks like China and the USA are going to strike a trade deal and perhaps even rescind the current 10% surcharge. If so that would continue to do wonders for the stock market which is having its best two month performance since 1987. S&P 3150 by yearend is very likely.
Detroit is rocking and rolling with the opening of the Shinola hotel. You know Detroit is hot when they charge $37 for valet parking and $28 for a truffle pizza. Can you imagine those prices just a few years back? Although it does cost upwards of $70 to valet in Chicago, just saying.
The last issue of Nailpro magazine was less than 90 pages printed on super thin paper and cover stock. While nails are hot, trade magazines are not. And did you see the last issue of Beauty Store Business? Instead of being oversized, downsized to regular magazine size and thin as a mint. What is the future of rep shows? Two shows this year combined into one and dismal results. No doubt booth renters are buying most of their stuff on Amazon and is it any wonder Amazon will generate more than $20 billion in advertising revenue next year?
Lyft is beating Uber to the IPO market? Which one do you think will win the ultimate prize?
I love everything new. Don’t you? New restaurants (most of them are bad), new hotels (checking out the Shinola in a couple weeks), new TV series (loved the last episode of Ray Donovan and into Stranger Things), new food items (are you into Halo ice cream, they secretly stole a huge chunk of the market), new clothes and shoes (average man owns 12 pairs of shoes, average woman 27 pairs), and let’s not talk about alcohol.
But what I love best when it comes to new is designing, creating, and producing new products for our customers. What women really love most about new products are beauty products especially those that are fragranced (lotions must pass the smell test first) or offer seasonal colors (lipsticks, lip gloss, nail polish). For our salon and spa customers, beauty products designed to assist in the salon or spa service are also important.
Here are some of my fav new products that are now in stock and in no particular order:
1. Kudo’s Gift & Greeting Card. The idea of combining our best-selling bath bombs with a high quality greeting card came to me after spending $5.99-$7.99 for a Papyrus greeting card. Even Hallmark cards are that expensive and all you get is a card. For the same price or less, Kudo’s offers a really cool spinning bath bomb and greeting card. There are more than 30 variations including Happy Birthday, Love, Anniversary, Thank you, Friendship and more. $5.99 MRSP
2. Misty Mountain Aroma Diffuser. From Pure Essential Oil Works, Misty Mountain is the first open diffuser that allows the mist to resemble fog in a mountain range. When lit and in a dark setting it is quite magical. $49.99 MSRP.
3. 5-Layer Cotton Pads. ForPro once again delivers one of the most amazing cotton products to hit the market. Invented in Japan, ForPro developed the product in its factory in China and the results are spectacular. Each pad contains 5 layers that can be removed layer by layer to use as a facial. Or you can use the pad for removing makeup or nail polish. They come packed in a handy dispenser box. 80-ct, $2.99 MSRP
4. Island Flip-Flops. As most of you know I hate socks and prefer to walk bare foot. That is one reason why I love flip-flops and thought, why not come out with a line of flip-flops to compete against store brands such as Havainas. Most are over-priced and over-rated. These I love because they are ultra-comfy, contoured strap feels like you are walking on air and natural rubber conforms to the curves of the foot. For $4.99 – $5.99 MSRP, they are amazing. Available in solid colors and patterns.
5. HEMP Herbal Body Moisturizer. From Ginger Lily Farms Botanicals, HEMP is everything you want in a lotion and capitalizes on the hemp seed oil craze going on in America. Stunning packaging, awesome fruity banana fragrance and $9.99 MSRP that is less than half the price of the competition. 17 oz. and gallon size for the family.
6. EMMA Drench Cuticle Oil. EMMA is the buzz of the industry and let me tell you, the upcoming Las Vegas Spring collection is a winner-winner! Drench is all about sensory flavors for the brain and escapism with scents such as Coco Mango and Juicy Citrus. .5 oz. $5.00 MSRP.
7. THE WORKS Luxurious Shower Cap. Actually I love all our new shower caps from the ALL NIGHT to PEVA and linerless. However, THE WORKS is more than 6 months in the making and I would say the best shower cap all-time. $19.99 MSRP is a real deal for this masterpiece.
8. ForPro 510S & 910S Foil Sheets. OK so you ask yourself, how can anyone get excited about a foil sheet? I always like to tell the story of the first time pregnant woman who needs to buy maternity clothes. Up until that moment she had no idea where any maternity stores were. Foil sheets are sort of the same story, you have to use them to understand my excitement. Our ForPro 500S and 900S sheets are already best-sellers, so you might ask again, why 510S and 910S? It all has to do with the dimple design and true foil enthusiasts love certain dimple designs. And now, whether they love the embossed design or new dimple design, we have the foil! $7.49 – $9.49 MSRP
There are a few more fav’s that are still not in stock, so once in stock, I will share those with you next.
This is one of my favorite times of the year: Christmas has finally come and gone and the days up to New Year’s are slow, traffic is light and most people are off work and enjoying. It’s the perfect time to think about the upcoming year. As one of my loyal readers you know I have thoughts on most topics so for my last blog of 2018, let me share some thoughts for 2019.
Trump: Trump lost the House and now is in his West Palm Beach self-contained resort pouting and using the federal government as hostage. He wants a border wall or the 800,000 government employees be damned. Oh, let’s not forget about the 200,000 contractors also affected. If this was the only event worth watching that would be enough. But no, we have to contend with China/USA trade tariffs due March 1 (my thoughts with 2020 on Trump’s mind and the stock market down from the start of the year, an agreement will be made, however, not sure the 10% will be rescinded even if the agreement is made). Trump certainly ranks as one of the most dangerous presidents America has ever had, he represents the wild card for 2019.
China: Premier Xi Pinjing has made it known that he wants his country to be the #1 player in the world by 2025. At the age of 65, he has a lifetime commitment to make it happen. This is one reason why Trump is playing China so hard, especially with IT and trade secret theft. America must remain the #1 player on the world stage and do just about everything within legal means to keep Xi’s ambition at bay. 2019 will test both players.
Business: While consumer confidence hit a 5-month low this month, retail sales were at the highest level in more than a decade. Go figure. Housing remains weak, oil is at historical low prices with a glut that won’t go away anytime soon. But the few corporations that are left are doing better than ever and if the tariffs are resolved amicably, we should see the stock market go up 10% and corporate profits continue to rise. Everyone is predicting the start of a recession in 2020 but as we know, everyone is traditionally wrong. With student debt hitting a new record of $1.5T and corporate debt at all-time highs, the next recession could be nasty. Then again, let’s see what the Fed does with interest rate hikes in 2019.
Beauty: Baby boomers, Millennial’s and even the X, Y and Z generation all have one thing in common: They love beauty products. The question will be in 2019, who gets the business? Ulta will continue to drive sales growth opening at least 100 new stores and taking market share from Sephora. With traditional malls in decline the question for Sephora is how are they going to redeploy and become relevant again to shoppers that hate visiting malls.
Pro beauty business continues on its path to being neutralized. Amazon has signed up just about every major player so between them and Ulta, consumers have no need to buy retail products at salons. Booth rental continues to explode and independent contractors who rent space make less money and receive no benefits. When was the last retail hair brand introduced? Both Cosmoprof and Salon Centric will operate more stores with fewer DSC’s and offer less education. Cash & carry trade shows are so yesterday but the two remaining ones make so much money for the organizers, they will continue as long as booths and tickets sell.
Pro magazines will continue to crash and burn, they are already ghosts of their past that no one reads anymore. With both NAILS and NAILPRO under 100 pages and only surviving because Danny Hale has a sweetheart deal to advertise 10 pages monthly. Besides, innovation in the nail business mimics the rest of the industry and no wonder publications such as MODERN and AMERICAN are so thin you wonder why they even publish.
TNG: What can I say, 33 years and still going strong. Our brands are now #1 in most categories and in 2019 alone, we are introducing more than 200 new products. Innovation remains key and my next blog will talk about some of my favorite new products. EMMA continues to delight and is now one of the top brands on Instagram. Thebeautybook Spring 2019 catalog is one of my favorites and an integral part of what makes THE INDUSTRY SOURCE the best-in-class pro beauty distributor year-after-year.
Thank you for hanging around all these years. The beauty of all this is that beauty truly is timeless and I could not be luckier to be involved in this consumer category. Beauty will continue to evolve and so will TNG.
Happy New Year!
Wow, what a Thanksgiving weekend. Two sons, their wives, three grandkids made for an eventful time indeed. What memories forget or don’t include: Countless water bottles, some with two sips, some half-empty and some empty, none put in the garbage can; coffee cups some half-full, some empty, scattered wherever; empty toilet paper rolls and Kleenex boxes; laundry machine non-stop; empty bourbon bottles that magically emptied; toys everywhere, most used once; and let’s not even talk about the fridge. Worse culprits: Not the grandkids, but the adults!
We also decided this was the end of turkey, stuffing and veggies no one wants to eat. Friday and Saturday no one wanted leftovers and by the time we got to them on Sunday, neither did we. Oh well, a new tradition will start in 2019.
Sorry but it’s tough to be a state of MI sports fan. The Lions proved inept against the Bears and the Wolverines were embarrassed playing the BIG GAME. Worst loss in Wolverine’s history against OSU. Spartans barely won but I was rooting for Rutgers. Going downtown for the worthless and useless bowl game is so much closer. As they say, at least there is basketball. . . .
Conde Nast, publisher of many magazines including Allure, Vogue and Vanity Fair decided to stop publishing Glamour and keep it online only. Glamour was a top 5 magazine back in the day. Millennial’s, X, Y, and Z’s no longer look to magazines to make their beauty decisions, it’s all about Instagram.
CND’s Vinylux is the latest pro brand to go retail. Huge in-line displays at CVS and other retailers.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and iPhones. What do they all have in common? Give 25%, 50% and even 75% discounts, and consumers will buy now versus later. Apple recently announced its worst sales of its flagship product in history and only through huge incentives can they move their new XR models. I was at Dick’s on Friday, the entire store was 25% off. They had customers but even at 25% off, it wasn’t a big deal. The other thing is, what happens when you go to mall and don’t find anything to buy? This increasing phenomenon is very scary as the generations I mentioned earlier are more interested in experiences than products. And what is one of the most popular Christmas songs ever? “All I want for Christmas is you.”
Coty has a new CEO and Sennen Pamich, formerly of Revlon, is now an executive. Coty hasn’t made money in more than two years, has $7B in debt and it’s stock is at an all-time low. Can Coty be turned around as P&G unloaded an overpriced asset or will the Clairol/Wella deal prove to be too much?
GM is closing 5-7 factories and laying off more than 6,000 workers; Ford stopped making sedans; Nissan CEO accused of tax fraud in Japan and is in jail. Carlos Ghosn is out at Nissan, Mitsubishi and pending fate at Renault. This while Jeep unveils its first pickup truck since 1992.
Can someone tell me this: What happens when everything is delivered to your home or business within two hours? You know that is the way the world is going. Target is advertising same day delivery paying a fortune to use their stores as warehouses. Amazon already offers this service in many urban areas. But think about this, if the surviving retailers all offer free shipping and two hour service, what will the differentiators become?