Cosmoprof North America Changes Format- Retailers Come Join The Party!

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This weekend is the 15th Cosmoprof N.A. show in Vegas. Diehards still call it the BBSI back in the days when new products were introduced and companies tossed extravagant parties morning, day and night.

The show has always been a marketplace for manufacturers to show off their latest offerings to distributors.  But alas two things have happened over the past few years. One, manufacturers have fewer new products to offer and two, there are hardly any distributors left to walk the aisles. Last year was a tipping point with more booths for Asian companies than ever which left many wondering what would be next.

As a “reinvention”, Cosmoprof is tossing out the old layout of the show floor and has created a new layout for 2015. Now there will be only three sections. One for companies focused on professional goods for hair, nails and skin. One for companies that produce machinery, packaging and other raw materials. And finally the third one: For companies that sell goods for retail. Bye-bye distributors, hello retailers.

Now for those in the know, and retailers are certainly more in the know than most, there already are plenty of events and shows for them to attend that sell beauty products. But since Cosmoprof needs more traffic to sell booth space, it had to do something to get more people walking the aisles.

And since Cosmoprof is connected with PBA (Professional Beauty Association), this is the final leg of the conversion of our industry. Most likely, the PBA will need to rename itself to PRBA (Professional and Retail Beauty Association).

What this means for companies that sell both professional-only AND retail products, I have no idea. Since the show floor is small and contained in one room, most likely established companies such as Helen of Troy will claim their old space and be open for business regardless who walks by just as they have done all along. But it will be interesting to see what happens.

The other question of course is what new companies will buy booths for the retail area. Just think of all the companies that supply Sephora and Ulta.

Alas, it anything truly professional anymore? Every brand is sold at Amazon and numerous brands are sold at Sephora and Ulta. They are true merchants. Mass drug retailers are expanding their beauty footprints as well.

Time will tell the future as it always does. For now, Cosmoprof 2015 will be yet another watershed event for professional beauty as we once knew it when it was BBSI.

On a side note it will be very strange indeed to walk into the OPI meeting room without George, Bill or Suzi’s presence. I wonder if they will still have the expresso counter. Life moves forward.

Happy Thursday!

Cosmoprof 2009 Recap


If there was a tell-tale hint of how Cosmoprof Vegas was going to be after Cosmoprof Italy back in March, the results speak for themselves:

Down, down and down.

Exhibit space down at least 25%. Attendance down at least 30%. New suppliers down at least 50%.

In the end I didn’t walk away with a single new item that got me excited. Sure, there were a few items that were unique and will sell here and there but nothing that indicated that this industry is on the verge of turning around.

This suits corporate America and private equity just fine. They just assume book a suite at the Four Seasons and meet in private. This way they don’t have to deal with exposing their products to people that couldn’t buy them anyway. Plus the cost savings are terrific and the food is better.

In the end, this show has become nothing more than the ability to meet several existing suppliers in a couple days, shake hands, comment on the show (always the same comments), have breakfast-lunch-dinner meetings and wonder why the show exists.

One thing Cosmoprof Vegas does well is intimidate those that attend. Once you are pre-registered and receive your confirmation, you have to walk a mile to get your badge. You must present a business card and photo I.D. If you forget either, you have to walk a couple miles to fetch. Then you have to walk to the badge holder booth and present more I.D. Then to get into the show, you have to present your badge and hope that their "Navy Seals" security force armed with barcode readers correctly reads your badge or else. At least in Italy you have to just insert your card into a machine and your free. I guess they don’t have enough attendees to afford that here.

Cost savings were evident virtually everywhere. Gone were the espresso machines, bottled water, sandwiches, snacks and other fun things. I did manage to snag a few M&M’s at the OPI booth.

I felt sorry for the suppliers that had to endure three days of torture. Yes, they signed up for it but you have no idea how painful three days can be sitting on a hard chair for 8 hours. When someone finally recognized me, they were so happy to spend a few minutes off their chair they even offered better discounts!

I can’t wait for next year. . .

Happy Wednesday!