This is an excerpt of the letter I sent out yesterday to our customers. I am sure you have received many letters from CEO’s of major corporations. Bottom line: Everyone is telling the same message: Stay safe, wash your hands, social distance and get through this. As Larry David would say, “I guess people didn’t stay safe and wash their hands before this crisis.”
Each day we are living in unprecedented times with an unpredictable future. This reminds me of a recent book I read, The Pioneers by David McCullough. McCullough tells the story on how a few heroic pioneers decided to leave the safety of the thirteen colonies in 1788 and head west to explore and develop new parts of America. The area he focused on was Ohio and you learn how Columbus, Cincinnati and the Ohio River became crucial to the rest of America being developed.
What you really learn about were the hardships these pioneers faced from clearing land, to finding food and shelter, to walking thousands of miles with horses and limited supplies to get to Ohio. Many died in their efforts but their efforts and deaths helped to make America what it is today.
America is not short on stories like this one. There are numerous events in our short history that have brought us down to our knees from the Civil War, World Wars I & II, the great depression, the oil embargo of 1973, and most recently, 9/11/2001 and the 2008 financial bust. In every instance, America has emerged stronger and better. This time around will be no different.
However right now we are in the moment and have to do the best we can. In my past 35 years, I have never witnessed supply chain issues like we are having now. If Amazon who has more than 175 distribution centers is out of stock of key items, then you know the rest of the story.
With the exception of gloves and masks, virtually all items in demand are made in the U.S.A. The problem is with consolidation over the past twenty years, there are typically no more than three companies that manufacture more than 80% of the products. So while Procter & Gamble is running their factories full time to make Bounty and Charmin, they are limited to factory production just as Kimberly Clark and Georgia Pacific. Same with hand sanitizer, Clorox makes more than 80% through its Purell brand and can only make so much.
Then the question becomes, which of their customers get goods first? Is it Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, Costco or ???? What about the independent stores? The dollar stores? The government? Commercial and industrial?
Our factories are running full time too. But what happens when a factory has a worker infected with the virus? The factory has to shut down. This has happened to many factories, including bottle companies and silk-screen printers. In times like this, you do what you have to do.
The other issue is raw materials that make things like alcohol, soap and cleaners are in short supply and manufacturers of these materials are raising prices daily. We have experienced many price increases and we are trying our best to hold prices.
We have deliveries of MULTI-CIDE and CITRUS-CIDE arriving weekly along with shipments of gloves from China. Another item that is selling out is foil sheets.
In closing, staying safe and healthy is everyone’s primary focus. Our industry is resilient and we need to take a leadership position no different than the healthcare industry in maintaining the strictest guidelines for cleanliness. THE INDUSTRY SOURCE is your partner in making this happen. Feel free to email me anytime at email@example.com.
In a rare interview with a civilian, President Donald J. Trump (Trump) spent a few minutes with me on March 12 to answer questions about the COVID-19 virus as he was talking up his new incredible spa update at his Mar a Lago resort.
Larry: It was great to see you on live TV last night to assure the American people in the face of this terrible situation with the COVID-19 virus. Can you highlight your key message?
Trump: We’re going to take care of this Larry. My key message is that we are moving very quickly, and for the vast majority of Americans, the risk is very, very low. And I want to add, young and healthy people can expect to recover fully and quickly if they should get the virus.
Larry: That is amazing and good thing that you are young. I have a lot of readers that sent me a list of questions to ask you and I hope you can answer them truthfully.
Trump: Believe me, I’m not stupid, a loser or a moron. This is a tremendous opportunity to Make America Great Again and you’ll see soon enough. What are your questions?
Larry: Before I start with my reader’s questions, I have one question for you. Since the world has never experienced anything like the COVID-19 since the Spanish Flu in 1919, who are you relying on for your information to make intelligent answers?
Trump: Great question. Larry David and I go way back, in fact, he wanted me to be a guest on his Seinfeld show but thought it was a step down from The Apprentice. Of all my friends and confidants, I trust Larry the most. In fact, I gave him one of my caps for his latest season on HBO.
Larry: I love Larry David too and his latest season is one of his best. By the way, do you like your coffee hot?
Trump: Larry’s a great guy and I love my coffee hot, hot, hot just like my women.
Larry: OK, first question is are you concerned that you fired the U.S. Pandemic Response Team in 2018 to cut costs and now this happened?
Trump: Listen, we’re talking about a lot of money, billions and billions. Who would have known this would have happened?
Larry: Now going back to February 25, let me quote you just to make sure nothing is being taken out of context. Referring to the actual virus from China, you stated, “Now they have it, they have studied it, they know very much, in fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.” You also stated, “The virus is very under control in our country.” So where is the vaccine?
Trump: Believe me, we are close, very close. They assured me it would be here by now. I met the director at the CDC, and he’s a great guy.
Larry: Now going back to February 26, let me quote you again, “U.S. containment of the virus is close to airtight.” If that was true, why are college campuses cancelling all live classes and holding sporting events without fans?
Trump: You know Larry, I depend on my team to give me the best information, after all, I am the President of the U.S.A. I remember that, and yes, the person who told me that was a moron and I fired him.
Larry: Now going back to February 27, let me quote you, “# of U.S. cases is going very substantially down, not up.” If that was the case why did the NBA cancel all its remaining games of the season and why are concerts and major events being cancelled all over the country?
Trump: To tell you the truth, this whole thing is the media’s problem. If they didn’t report every single case of when someone comes down with the virus, we wouldn’t have this pandemic. Believe me, more than 500,000 people die of the flu each year, this is no big deal.
Larry: So now that Biden has the Democratic nomination all but locked up and that you are running for a second term, one of my readers has a question about your quote back in February 28, “This is the Democrat’s new hoax,” in reference to the virus. How do you explain that?
Trump: Fake news, you’ll find out when this is all done.
Larry: I want to thank you for your time and candid responses to my questions. What are your plans this weekend to help calm the American people, reassure Wall St. and Make America Great Again?
Trump: Larry David and I will be playing 36 holes at Mar a Lago and we will come up with a plan that will knock everyone’s socks off Monday morning. This will be tremendous, biggest thing I have ever done as President of the U.S.A.
Larry: One last question, what if the CDC recommends you shut the country down like Italy did?
Trump: My personal chefs have stockpiled the best caviar; our freezers are stuffed with lobster and wagyu hamburger patties, and I have the best simulated Top Golf set up so I am all set.
I have been a member at the Sports Club (local fitness club) for more than 25 years. Last year Equinox opened in Bloomfield and it was an immediate hit with their focus on clean, bright and best-in-class instructors and equipment. But their yoga program was weak and I stayed at SC because I loved their yoga. Two months ago SC cancelled one of their yoga classes which only left Monday morning yoga. And then Equinox added more yoga classes this year. Today was my last day at SC and my reason for blogging about this is how change comes in life at interesting times. SC continues to lose members because they are still fixated on how they did business in the 1980’s. Equinox is successful because they learned to reinvent themselves and offer a superior product. Yes, it was sad to say good-bye to my workout buddies, but life goes on.
Actually the above story is a great metaphor for what is going on in the world today in most industries. If you own Tesla stock, you know the stock has more than doubled this year and is approaching $1000. It is already the second most valuable auto company (worth more than GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler combined) and when it hits $1250 it will be worth more than Toyota. Mind you, the industry sells more than 17 million vehicles a year and Tesla doesn’t even have 2% of that number. It’s all about change and the future of customer purchasing habits.
Next story. Who didn’t love to go into Pier 1 stores and smell the candles, plop on the pillows and look at the knick-knacks? Victoria Secret was a private label brand for Wexler’s Limited stores until he made it an overnight sensation. How about Forever 21, the success story of a South Korean family that made a fast-fashion business into a worldwide empire? Sadly, Pier 1 filed bankruptcy, Victoria Secret sold to private equity at a fraction of its previous value and mall operators took over Forever 21 at pennies on the dollar. Again, change is constant and in 2020, companies have to change faster than ever to stay relevant.
Trump for four more years? Mike is toast and he proved last night that even if you are a billionaire, if you can’t speak in public, you are never going to be President. Bernie Sanders? What a joke. In the best times in the USA’s history with the lowest unemployment rate, lowest interest rate, highest stock market, Sanders wants us to reverse course and move to socialism. Trump for four more years because Democrats are like Pier 1 and Victoria Secret. And if Trump does win, what does that say about our current state of politics?
Are you watching the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm? It really is the only funny show on TV. Larry David is his best yet. So great to be unfiltered and say and do anything you want. I’m also enjoying The Outsiders and McMillion$, although the latter could have been made much shorter.
Got to talk a little beauty, right? Not much going on. Coty’s professional brands and Revlon still looking for a buyer. Sally & BSG can’t find any growth and their stock gets slammed 30%. Beauty trends continue on course with Sephora and Ulta the ultimate winners. But hey, I’m having fun with our brands and still launching new and innovative products. Loving the new Hand Serum from EMMA Beauty and Premium Hair Color & Stain Remover from ForPro (and comes in gallon size too!)
As you know, TNG Worldwide is celebrating 35 years in business in 2020. Tomorrow we will celebrate with our talent who have been with the company 20 or more years. One such individual is very close to his 30 year mark, very amazing. Almost 20% of the talent have been with TNG at least 20 years. Fun times ahead!
I’m a diehard MSU Spartan but sorry folks, I had to buy new shirts and caps, MSU Academics. Athletics has become such a sore spot, it actually hurts. We are the first team to be ranked #1 pre-season in basketball and not even be ranked in the top 25. And Dantonio? Who knows what is going to become of the Blackwell case. Don’t get me started about Tucker either.
Last but not least, I have to mention the Coronavirus. I mean, can you imagine that 750 million Chinese citizens are quarantined? Can you imagine that Chinese New Year was to end February 3 is still going on for most citizens because they cannot go back to work? Each and every factory has to receive a certification from the government to reopen. Everyone is asking after SARS, how could this happen again? Yes this too will pass (experts say this happened because of raw meat and dead animals being sold on the streets in Wuhan and the bugs infected people). The bigger question medical experts are claiming is that viruses like these will be more common as our current antibiotics become less and less effective. You know what I say to all this? Saturday is National Margarita Day. Life is short, enjoy margaritas!
Happy & Healthy New Year! We are two weeks into January and have the entire year ahead of us. What are you most excited about this year?
The economy? Looks like 2020 will be another good year with zero chance of recession. And that means the stock market should stay strong too.
The elections? There are plenty of elections to go around but we know the big one is coming in November. Perhaps March the Democrats will decide who their candidate will be. Will it be Biden or Warren? Suddenly Warren is promising all student debt to be wiped off the books to the tune of $1.8 Trillion. In the end, Trump will prevail and the conservatives will roll on for another four years.
The weather? Freezing in LA and LAS, warm in Detroit and who cares? We did have a record rainfall in January already but we haven’t seen serious snow since early November. Very happy not to own an outdoor business like a ski resort.
5G? Yep, it is finally coming and Apple will unveil its first ever 5G phones later this year. But the real fun won’t begin until 2021 and beyond. The next decade will bring on more change than the previous three combined.
The beauty business? All depends what hat you are wearing. Consumers are still in love with beauty and always will be. Ulta continues to open more stores and department stores continue to lose market share. Coty & Revlon are still looking for buyers and the pro business will continue to shrink.
What I am most excited about is the opportunity TNG has to continue to increase its presence and organically grow its brands. EMMA Beauty is all the rage and just getting started. Ginger Lily Farms Botanicals is in the right spot at the right time. And ForPro Professional Collection continues to grow its #1 position among salon professionals. Everyone is loving thebeautybook Spring 2020 edition and nothing like celebrating 35 years in business.
Tesla just roared past $500 and on its way to $600 per share, worth more than both GM and Ford combined. Soon, it will be worth more than GM, Ford and Fiat combined. The worst performing auto maker over the past 20 years has been Ford, any surprise that they own the Detroit Lions, the worst ranked team in football?
Howard Stern is one of my mentors not because he can say f—k anytime he wants and get away with it, but he just turned 66 and still loves what he is doing. Jimmy Buffett is another and he just turned 71. Love what you do and life is good. And sorry Howard, if you ate your veggies instead of shrimp pasta every night you wouldn’t need Metamucil.
Delta reported record revenues and profits. I can attest to that, its planes are always full just like the airports. Instead of going to malls, people are traveling everywhere. It is amazing to think that in four hours time, you can be sitting on a beach in Mexico from Detroit OR just arriving in Petoskey. Hmm, what sounds better to you? If you are JB, you are in the minority!
Have you heard of the World War Zero website? The global climate activists are doing their best to stir the pot, then again, ask them for evidence on their findings, and you understand why this war is going to go nowhere. Most interesting? Americans were surveyed how much they would be willing to spend to fight global warming. How much do you think? $100 per month? $10 per month? The answer was $1 per month. That tells you the priority level. We have more important things to contemplate, like getting into seeing the doctor for our latest ailment!
Here we are, in the last hurrah of the 2010 decade, wondering where the last ten years went. Hey, I still think about Y2K and 12/31/1999. That seems like forever ago and it seems like yesterday at the same time.
The next two weeks are slow and easy with most of us taking holiday time off, shopping, getting ready for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, college football bowl games and our favorite activity of all: Eating and drinking. No school busses, traffic is light and hey, next weeks temps are in the 40’s and sunshine. It won’t be a White Christmas, but it surely will be enjoyable.
With New Year’s Day falling on Wednesday, even the 2nd and 3rd will be slow with schools still closed and people extending their vacation time. The real action starts Monday, January 6. So what is the action going to look like?
That depends whom you are talking too. Look, it’s a new year and the start of a new decade. The optimist in me looks at this being one of the best times to move forward, embrace change and start off fast. And that is exactly what TNG is going to do. The pessimist in others might look at this time period as just another week, another month, another year that is going to be no different than last year or any other year. Those individuals will fall further behind.
We are going to see a new era of change unlike any other era. The likes of Tesla, Amazon, 5G, AI, biotechnology are just in the early adopter phases of product and technology roll-outs. By the end of this decade, everything we own today in technology will be obsolete and most likely, so will our SUV’s and pickup trucks. Biotech drugs will be introduced at a much faster pace and many cancers will become curable or at least manageable. The average life expectancy in 2100 will be 115 due to all the changes that will take place.
But for now, none of the excitement that will change our world will happen in the beauty business. It will continue to be product driven by celebrities and influencers. Surely this too will change but what new medium will appear to make that change happen? When Coty buys a 51% interest in Kylie’s company for $600 million, you know we are near a tipping point. And speaking of Coty, they are still trying to unload the P&G brands they bought just a few years ago along with OPI, GhD and a few others. It looks they will have to wait until 2020 just like Revlon who has yet to find a buyer. One thing is for certain, the beauty business will not get easier in the new decade.
For TNG, I am staking the company on product innovation, best-in-class customer service (we are like Delta, best service year after year), and best value proposition. If you look at most successful brands moving into 2020, they are all brands that sell their products at list price (no discounts), offer the highest quality and are in stock. These brands include Costco, Trader Joe’s, Lululemon, Apple, and ALDI. And for a peak at the master of branding building, look no further than LVMH who just bought Tiffany for a cool $16B. In fact, Bernard Arnault is the richest man on earth amassing a fortune over $100B and growing faster than Jeff Bezo’s or Bill Gate’s.
I’m super excited about 2020 and at my age, there are not many decades left to get excited about so this is perfect timing! Regardless of what the new era of change takes place, one thing is for certain: Girls from the ages of 6 to 96 will continue to get their mani’s, pedi’s, hair cut-colored-highlighted, and take in the occasional massage and facial. That is the sweet spot, beauty services, and we will continue to lead the way in nurturing this niche segment.
Safe travels whether you are staying home or on the road, safe and healthy new year and look forward to connecting in 2020.