What Happens When Everyone Has Everything? Part One.

Now that both Clinton and Trump are the favorites, who are you voting for as of today?

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I recall starting the company and deciding that I needed a computer to help beat the competition. I worked with a company called Computerland and bought an IBM 386, dot printer, monitor and installation for $5,000. It was amazing. Every invoice was printed on an Okidata 186 printer with pin feed paper. So it took 2 minutes to print, it was a marvel. The rest is history, PC’s could not be made fast enough.

Then in 1989 I decided I had to have the first fax machine to help beat the competition. It was the size of a couch and cost $2000. But who cared, I could now fax orders to vendors instead of calling them in. The only problem was that I had to convince the vendors to buy a fax machine too. The rest is history, fax machines could not be made fast enough.

Then in 1995 I decided I had to be the first to have an Internet website to help beat the competition. Routers, servers, cables, IP address, it cost a fortune. But who cared, I could now sell products to customers without them calling our 800 number. The only problem was that I had to convince our customers to get online. The rest is history, especially the dot.com bust in 2001. Remember modem speed and Internet speed? Now LTE 5 is coming.

Then in 1996 I decided I had to have the first truly cool cell phone to help beat the competition. The Motorola Startak was just the trick. I never liked pagers and now I could call customers and vendors anywhere. It was so cool. The rest is history, cell phones could not be made fast enough.

Then in 2007 I decided I had to have the first Apple iPhone to help beat the competition. My designers were all on Mac’s but I was a Microsoft guy. Now with the new iPhone I could do just about everything anytime. It made the Startak obsolete overnight along with everything else. It was so cool. The rest is history, iPhones could not be made fast enough.

Fast forward to 2016. I haven’t needed to buy a single electronic device to help beat the competition. PC’s are dead. Fax machines are gone. Everyone is online and has a smartphone. Heck even my 4-year old grandson has an iPad and is connected. Everyone has everything. No wonder Apple sales plunged for the first time since 2007 last quarter. I mean really, what is the iPhone 7 going to do for me that the iPhone 6 doesn’t already?

This phenomenon is hitting every industry. It’s no wonder the economy is tepid at best. Where is the innovation to make us buy something? Right now the only electronic device we want to buy is Amazon’s Echo. But that certainly is not going to help anyone in business to be more competitive. At least the device makes it users talk.

It was only six years ago that CND launched Shellac, the first gel polish. I remember the launch well, only six shades. Why only six shades I asked? Formulation issues, bottle design, yadda-yadda-yadda. Plus we need to make sure there is a market for it. OK, I ordered 5000 bottles of each shade. And like innovative products of years past, it sold out. Hmm, this is good. I’ll take 5000 more of each color please.

Then they launched six new shades. I’ll take 7500 of each please.

But then the competition caught on. As more colors were launched, open quantities would diminish to 3000, then 2000 and then 1000 and less. Now there are more than 100 colors plus add the competition to the mix, there are more than 1000 colors. Walk into any nail salon and witness at least 300 colors sitting on the shelf, most collecting dust. What happens when every salon has every color they need?

Nail polish is no different. Oh I can talk about when Essie was $1.00 a bottle and nail techs would go to trade shows and buy 100-200 bottles at a crack. We sold Peau de Peche nail polish at one of our trade shows and sold more than 5,000 bottles in a day. OPI at one time had four booths at the Chicago show to keep up with demand. But now every salon has every color they need. What happens next?

Hair dryers, flat irons, clippers all equal one giant yawn. Dyson thinks they have the answer and are launching their first hair dryer for $399.95 this fall exclusively at Sephora.  Unlike a smartphone, I don’t think this will connect to the Internet and place an order on Amazon. But at least one company is trying to spur innovation and get consumers to buy a new product.

Part Two will focus on where the growth is (are you hungry?) and what the future looks like (sorry but VR is not going to help me beat the competition).

Happy Tuesday!

Out Of My Mind On A Friday Mornin’

Are you shopping online or at stores for holiday gifts?

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STOP THE CLOCKS PLEASE! It cannot be December 6 and Christmas cannot be in less than 3 weeks. 2014 cannot be in less than 4 weeks. It was just Thanksgiving for crying out loud. Wait, it was just Labor Day! It has to slow down to enjoy. But alas, if Amazon.com is sending robots to deliver packages and eBay is using bicyclists in NYC to deliver packages, nothing is going to slow down.

I had my final farewell lunch with George Schaeffer recently in Santa Monica. George is officially retired as CEO of OPI later this month and will stay on in a consulting capacity. He is happy and at the tender age of 60-something, he has a lot going on. But at the same time, it was a quite sad moment as another milestone in the industry has come and sold.

I also had the pleasure to spend time with Max and Essie in NYC for a couple of days and that too was sad as they are mostly gone from the company and like George, serving in a consulting capacity. Essie is as busy as ever doing what she loves to do although she misses the business terribly. Max on the other hand is content designing new toilet brushes and other bathroom accessories for his next business. Bottom line: Two industry icons sold out and global corporations now control the brands. Boy, the photos I could share of everyone at our trade shows back in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

What’s new for 2014? Plenty. We just completed THE BEAUTY BOOK Spring 2014 Edition and all I can say is that we have the most and new exciting products to offer in the past ten years. The catalog hits January 7.

Hot items for Christmas are our bebeautiful makeup palettes, ForPro Aroma Diffusers, and Root candles in regular and holiday scents.

Other than the Kindle series, iPad Mini and iPhone 5S, are there any “must-have” products this holiday season? Gift cards are more popular than ever.

The whole thing about Black Friday and now Black Thursday are so over. Yes there were more consumers who shopped on Thursday, but they spent less money and visit fewer stores on Friday. At what point enough enough?

Big game tomorrow and all eyes are on MSU to complete the task of turning from an under-performer to a high-performer team. Anything less than a V spells disappointment even with their perfect BIG 10 record. My prediction: MSU 27, OSU 21.

The OPI Gel Light promotion with 6 OPI Gel Colors for $199.95 has been one of our top promotions for the year. Already with sales well more than 1000 deals, we are gearing up for the last push. Starting January the lights go to $249.95 so the savings are huge.

Bye-Bye-Gone! Stock up now on China Glaze, Orly and Zoya polishes at up to 50% off.

How ironic is it that Detroit is officially in bankruptcy and both Ford and GM are doing better than ever?

Happy Friday!

Out Of My Mind On A Friday Mornin’

Are you shopping online or at stores for holiday gifts?

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STOP THE CLOCKS PLEASE! It cannot be December 6 and Christmas cannot be in less than 3 weeks. 2014 cannot be in less than 4 weeks. It was just Thanksgiving for crying out loud. Wait, it was just Labor Day! It has to slow down to enjoy. But alas, if Amazon.com is sending robots to deliver packages and eBay is using bicyclists in NYC to deliver packages, nothing is going to slow down.

I had my final farewell lunch with George Schaeffer recently in Santa Monica. George is officially retired as CEO of OPI later this month and will stay on in a consulting capacity. He is happy and at the tender age of 60-something, he has a lot going on. But at the same time, it was a quite sad moment as another milestone in the industry has come and sold.

I also had the pleasure to spend time with Max and Essie in NYC for a couple of days and that too was sad as they are mostly gone from the company and like George, serving in a consulting capacity. Essie is as busy as ever doing what she loves to do although she misses the business terribly. Max on the other hand is content designing new toilet brushes and other bathroom accessories for his next business. Bottom line: Two industry icons sold out and global corporations now control the brands. Boy, the photos I could share of everyone at our trade shows back in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

What’s new for 2014? Plenty. We just completed THE BEAUTY BOOK Spring 2014 Edition and all I can say is that we have the most and new exciting products to offer in the past ten years. The catalog hits January 7.

Hot items for Christmas are our bebeautiful makeup palettes, ForPro Aroma Diffusers, and Root candles in regular and holiday scents.

Other than the Kindle series, iPad Mini and iPhone 5S, are there any “must-have” products this holiday season? Gift cards are more popular than ever.

The whole thing about Black Friday and now Black Thursday are so over. Yes there were more consumers who shopped on Thursday, but they spent less money and visit fewer stores on Friday. At what point enough enough?

Big game tomorrow and all eyes are on MSU to complete the task of turning from an under-performer to a high-performer team. Anything less than a V spells disappointment even with their perfect BIG 10 record. My prediction: MSU 27, OSU 21.

The OPI Gel Light promotion with 6 OPI Gel Colors for $199.95 has been one of our top promotions for the year. Already with sales well more than 1000 deals, we are gearing up for the last push. Starting January the lights go to $249.95 so the savings are huge.

Bye-Bye-Gone! Stock up now on China Glaze, Orly and Zoya polishes at up to 50% off.

How ironic is it that Detroit is officially in bankruptcy and both Ford and GM are doing better than ever?

Happy Friday!

Out Of My Mind On A Tuesday Mornin’

Out Of My Mind On A Tuesday Mornin’

How many paczki's or similar treats will you consumer prior to Lent?

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Today is Paczki Day and if you have never heard of this day, you are lucky. Paczki’s are jumbo crème and jelly filled donuts perfected by Polish bakeries. We are fortunate (or unfortunate) to have some of the best bakeries right here in Hamtramck, just a skip and a beat from downtown Detroit. Each gut-filling creation is about 500 calories and packs a whopping 50% or more of daily fat content. But what the heck, that doesn’t stop most people from consuming two or more in a single day! For donut lovers, they are the ultimate treat. YUM especially when warm!

Of course it’s also Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Can anyone explain to me when it comes to religious holidays why they are revolve around food and drink? And do you know where the term “Fat Tuesday” came from and hence the creation of paczki’s? To use up all the sugar, flour and lard before lent started.

Do you know people (yourself included) that when in conversation with others use the expressions “Always,” “All the time,” and/or “Never” consistently? And it’s not only politicians.

Yesterday was President’s Day, yet another day off for so many people. Worse, schools are closed for 2-5 days this week and then next month is spring break. Is it any wonder that USA students rank 27th in math and 21st in reading worldwide?

Quick question: What percentage of oil consumed in the USA comes from the Middle East?

As NY Fashion Week comes to a close, isn’t it amazing the power of celebrities and prestige brands have that they can get virtually any company to not only donate their products and educators for an entire week or two but also have them pay for the privilege.

The Detroit Red Wings have won 23 straight home games. The MSU Spartans are in first place after clobbering Ohio State, Wisconsin and Purdue. The Tigers start spring ball with World Series aspirations. Even lowly U-M basketball is doing fairly well. It’s a great time to be a sports fan in Michigan.

Salons are looking for that next big thing in 2012 to replace the feather. What will it be?

Looks like Cosmoprof is supporting the upcoming ABS show while Salon Centric is favoring the ISSE show in November. Either way, Chicago wins.

Is Essie going to launch a gel polish line or stay traditional? My guess is no. Besides Essie is having too much fun partying with the celebrities. But I wonder what Max is doing?

Save the date: Sunday, October 7, 2012. It’s the premier of our new signature charity event, Beauty Buzz and it’s going to be quite spectacular.

And the answer to the above question is 16%. You were way off. In fact, 25% of oil comes right from our next door neighbor, Canada. And by 2020, we will be exporting oil to other countries.

Happy Tuesday!

Out Of My Mind On A Tuesday Mornin’

Out Of My Mind On A Tuesday Mornin’

How many paczki's or similar treats will you consumer prior to Lent?

View Results

Today is Paczki Day and if you have never heard of this day, you are lucky. Paczki’s are jumbo crème and jelly filled donuts perfected by Polish bakeries. We are fortunate (or unfortunate) to have some of the best bakeries right here in Hamtramck, just a skip and a beat from downtown Detroit. Each gut-filling creation is about 500 calories and packs a whopping 50% or more of daily fat content. But what the heck, that doesn’t stop most people from consuming two or more in a single day! For donut lovers, they are the ultimate treat. YUM especially when warm!

Of course it’s also Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Can anyone explain to me when it comes to religious holidays why they are revolve around food and drink? And do you know where the term “Fat Tuesday” came from and hence the creation of paczki’s? To use up all the sugar, flour and lard before lent started.

Do you know people (yourself included) that when in conversation with others use the expressions “Always,” “All the time,” and/or “Never” consistently? And it’s not only politicians.

Yesterday was President’s Day, yet another day off for so many people. Worse, schools are closed for 2-5 days this week and then next month is spring break. Is it any wonder that USA students rank 27th in math and 21st in reading worldwide?

Quick question: What percentage of oil consumed in the USA comes from the Middle East?

As NY Fashion Week comes to a close, isn’t it amazing the power of celebrities and prestige brands have that they can get virtually any company to not only donate their products and educators for an entire week or two but also have them pay for the privilege.

The Detroit Red Wings have won 23 straight home games. The MSU Spartans are in first place after clobbering Ohio State, Wisconsin and Purdue. The Tigers start spring ball with World Series aspirations. Even lowly U-M basketball is doing fairly well. It’s a great time to be a sports fan in Michigan.

Salons are looking for that next big thing in 2012 to replace the feather. What will it be?

Looks like Cosmoprof is supporting the upcoming ABS show while Salon Centric is favoring the ISSE show in November. Either way, Chicago wins.

Is Essie going to launch a gel polish line or stay traditional? My guess is no. Besides Essie is having too much fun partying with the celebrities. But I wonder what Max is doing?

Save the date: Sunday, October 7, 2012. It’s the premier of our new signature charity event, Beauty Buzz and it’s going to be quite spectacular.

And the answer to the above question is 16%. You were way off. In fact, 25% of oil comes right from our next door neighbor, Canada. And by 2020, we will be exporting oil to other countries.

Happy Tuesday!

Ballet Slippers Tip Toes to L’Oreal

What is your favorite Essie color?

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Harriet and Buddy Rose were pioneers. Back in 1979, they started Forsythe Cosmetics and introduced the first range of $1 polish in over 100 colors. This was around the same time little known Arnie Miller, Paula Meehan Kent, Jerri Redding and Paul Mitchell were coming out with Matrix, Redken and Paul Mitchell salon lines.

Forsythe had two key salespeople working for them, Janet Greenberg and Essie Weingarten. Both left around the same time in 1981 to start their own companies. Greenberg went on to start Charni and Weingarten went on to start Essie.

Charni and Essie both copied Forsythe’s marketing idea and launched $1 polish in a multitude of shades. Both prospered quickly due to their previous connections and they became natural competitors. However, Greenberg decided motherhood was more important and Charni faded away. Essie on the other hand kept on churning out new shades focused in the French manicure category and came up with names like Ballet Slipper and Waltz to differentiate her brand from the masses like Revlon and L’Oreal.

Eventually the $1 bottle went to $1.25, then $1.50, then $1.75, then $2.00, then $2.50. Mind you, this bottle had no brand name, it was a square bottle with a white top. If you called Essie to order, most of the time after 6PM Essie herself would answer the phone and take the order, no order too small. Her and Max (business partner) sat upstairs in a small open office with four others yelling back and forth while processing orders. One caveat with Essie: she made sure she was paid.

Then Max had the brilliant idea to put the logo on the bottle. Of course the price zoomed to $3.00, then $3.50 and now sits at $4.00, surely ready to go up again once the economy settles in (they always kept pace with OPI).

During the growth stage, you could see Essie and Max behind their booth at the NY, Long Beach and Midwest trade shows. Manicurists would come with lists and buy hundreds of bottles. Essie was there packing up the boxes, tearing apart the boxes, talking and yakking. Max stood behind the booth with his Armani suit and Hermes tie watching the whole time and making sure the money was properly accounted for. Smart man.

Alas, a couple years ago L’Oreal nearly bought Essie but something happened. But not for long. Perhaps as long as 6-9 months ago, Essie signed the dotted line agreeing in principle to sell her company founded back in 1981. Yesterday the press got hold of the news that L’Oreal in fact bought Essie and both Essie and Max signed long term contracts to stay on.

Needless to say, life in Astoria, NY will change quickly as L’Oreal moves production and inventory to its central locations. It will be strange to see Essie and Max walk into 575 Fifth Avenue and sit in an office.

In the end, it’s yet one more entrepreneurial-based company gone in our industry. Snatched up like gold floating in the river. L’Oreal is now in the polish business and God only knows what they will do with the brand. George at OPI is most likely wondering the same thing himself.

I will miss the Essie chapter. There are memories that won’t fade especially when it came to Max’s BS, but all in the love of the business. This was a long chapter, nearly 25 years long.

Good luck Essie and Max. Enjoy your newfound wealth and take time to travel. Be sure to visit Turquoise & Caicos and Playa Del Platinum. After all, you are now living in the Lapis of Luxury.

Happy Thursday!