Out Of My Mind On A Monday Mornin’

Are you a Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopper?

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So happy to be back to work today. One can only take so many consecutive days of eating and drinking anything and everything.

It’s also nice to be back to work today since all the family members left yesterday. They devoured virtually everything in sight and then made a total mess throughout the house. You would not believe the places I found candy wrappers and pistachio nut shells.

OPI is in the news once again. The Wall St. Journal is stating that Coty is the buyer and the price is near $1 Billion. With OPI and Sally Hansen, Coty will own the nail market.

I also heard over the weekend Essie is hitting Walgreen’s the first of the year with a retail price of $8. At this point, any difference in Walgreen’s, Target or even Wal-Mart selling the brand if Ulta does?

MSU 11-1, beats Penn State at Penn State for the first time since 1965 AND is the only team to beat Wisconsin. Our reward? Thumbs down for the BCS games. Enough Mickey Mouse for the Spartan’s.

I was at Somerset Mall on Black Friday (most people don’t know why it’s called that but they know to wake up early to shop) and it was busy but not crazy busy. Except for the Apple store where there was standing room only.

If someone gave you $500 to spend, what would you buy? Girls would opt in for clothes and shoes while boys would opt in for electronics. Unisex choices include designer jeans and fragrance.

Question: If you were at work and your daughter or son called and said they needed you to bring home a red pencil for their homework assignment, would take one from the office or stop at Staples? More than 90% stated they would take one from the office in a major study.

Happy Monday!

Bottle of OPI Lacquer: $4.25; All The Bottles: $1 Billion; Naming Your Own Colors: Priceless

If you could find out how long you will live, would you want to know?

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Paul DeJoria is licking his chops and having a shot of Patron to celebrate. Already worth some $3.5 Billion, he is watching from the sidelines what OPI is going to fetch. DeJoria owns both Paul Mitchell and Patron. Mitchell is the beauty industry’s biggest privately held company.

OPI is the second largest and is on the auction block. Looks like Coty is a lead bidder and a few private equity firms such as Bain are tagging along. Ultimately the selling price could be $1 billion.

That’s a lot of money. We all know Essie sold to L’Oreal earlier this year but that was a $28 million company compared to the mammoth $300 million company OPI is. I wouldn’t be surprised if L’Oreal doesn’t step in later, they know there isn’t another brand like OPI around.

I’ve written my fair share about OPI, George Schaeffer, Suzi-Weiss Fleishmann and for good reason. They created a phenomenon from nothing. They took risks and spent millions in consumer publications. They took risks and put in state-of-the-art filling machines when most people were outsourcing. They took risks in naming lacquers with strange names.

Now the risks are going to pay off and pay off big. They deserve it. But once the deal is over, the bigger questions remain: Will OPI go retail to pay off the investment and will George and Suzi stay on?

Of course there is a small chance that all this talk from today’s Wall St. Journal is gibberish and only rumors. Wouldn’t that be nice. But in today’s global economy and with companies and equity firms flush with cash, this sounds like an opportunity that won’t be passed up.

WOW. What else is there to say?

Happy Wednesday!

CND’s Shellac Creates New Category Overnight

What do you think will be the most popular nail service in two years at the salon?

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TNG has been selling nail products for more than 26 years. For us, it started with a “honey tip” brush. I will never forget a nail tech coming into my store and asking me for this brush. I asked her, “Why would you want honey on the tip of it?” She laughed and told me it was a brush made by Creative Nail Design.

The things you learn in business. Solarnail was the rage and invented by Dr. Nordstrom who was Jan Arnold’s (co-founder) and Jim Nordstrom’s (co-founder) father. Nordstrom was a dentist and figured out dental products could be used on nails. And voila, acrylics and Creative Nail Design were born.

This new category was hot, hot, hot. This spawned new companies overnight including the now infamous Odontorium Products, Inc. known as OPI started by George Schaeffer in 1981. Schaeffer’s family was in the dental supply business and coincidentally, discovered the same thing about dental products being able to be used on nails.

Everyone wanted in. Larry Gaertner went from collecting guns to making No Lift Primer. Jack Sperling rode the wave with Alpha 9 and his trade show had no less than 100 acrylic companies hawking powders and liquids.

Then came odorless acrylics. Frank and Laura DeSantis’s Aqua Nails was the rage. Both CND and OPI came out with their formulas but the stickiness and application issues were too much to overcome.

Fast forward to 2010 and CND has once again invented a new category: Gel polish. President John Heffner claims CND spent over 4 years on product development and wanted it just right. Prior to introduction they did a dog and pony show with their top USA distributors to get opening order ideas and launched internationally.

Based on their data they came up with a plan and then tripled it. Little did they know what was in store. “It totally blindsided us,” quips Jacquie Johnson, VP of Sales. “Not even Larry could predict this overnight sensation.”

OK, I will admit I was hesitant due to the economy, price and prior launches. But in 26 years, I have never seen anything like Shellac.

Now that we have the new category, here is what I don’t get. How did so many companies come up with their own version in less than a couple months when it took CND over 4 years? How does Danny Hale’s Gelish have 48 colors with zero R&D and how does Jessica have 36 colors overnight?

Rick Slack, President of NSI, gave me a call and told me his new line coming out in October has been in R&D for quite a while. At least NSI has R&D. NSI’s line will sport 24 colors in 1/2 oz. bottles for a great price.

American International’s IBD and China Glaze are coming out as well this fall and they certainly have the resources behind them. But I’m seeing companies come out of the woodwork with 24, 36, 48 and even more colors. The question is, none of these companies have a chemist on staff, none have a working lab and all are outsourcing. How can they all be doing this at the same time?

Ah, the acrylic days are back. When Kym Lee, a nail tech in Southern California can launch a line called Galaxy while doing nails at her salon, you know anything is possible. Kym was a great gal and was in the right place at the right time. But now?

I wonder. Shellac has the name, the PR, the formulation. What they don’t have is stock. I was told we will receive some early next week and most orders will be fully caught up by late September. CND’s arch rivals are salivating. But in the end who will survive?

And what will the fate of the nail polish industry be?Women who have been accustomed to choosing from among 300 colors are tickled pink to find any Shellac color and wear it.

But the biggest question is what is George Schaeffer coming up with? OPI owns the color category and the one thing I know about George is this: Not only will he come out with a winning product, he will have plenty of inventory.

Game on. In the end, it will just like 1985 again, CND and OPI.

Happy Thursday!

CND’s Shellac Creates New Category Overnight

What do you think will be the most popular nail service in two years at the salon?

View Results

TNG has been selling nail products for more than 26 years. For us, it started with a “honey tip” brush. I will never forget a nail tech coming into my store and asking me for this brush. I asked her, “Why would you want honey on the tip of it?” She laughed and told me it was a brush made by Creative Nail Design.

The things you learn in business. Solarnail was the rage and invented by Dr. Nordstrom who was Jan Arnold’s (co-founder) and Jim Nordstrom’s (co-founder) father. Nordstrom was a dentist and figured out dental products could be used on nails. And voila, acrylics and Creative Nail Design were born.

This new category was hot, hot, hot. This spawned new companies overnight including the now infamous Odontorium Products, Inc. known as OPI started by George Schaeffer in 1981. Schaeffer’s family was in the dental supply business and coincidentally, discovered the same thing about dental products being able to be used on nails.

Everyone wanted in. Larry Gaertner went from collecting guns to making No Lift Primer. Jack Sperling rode the wave with Alpha 9 and his trade show had no less than 100 acrylic companies hawking powders and liquids.

Then came odorless acrylics. Frank and Laura DeSantis’s Aqua Nails was the rage. Both CND and OPI came out with their formulas but the stickiness and application issues were too much to overcome.

Fast forward to 2010 and CND has once again invented a new category: Gel polish. President John Heffner claims CND spent over 4 years on product development and wanted it just right. Prior to introduction they did a dog and pony show with their top USA distributors to get opening order ideas and launched internationally.

Based on their data they came up with a plan and then tripled it. Little did they know what was in store. “It totally blindsided us,” quips Jacquie Johnson, VP of Sales. “Not even Larry could predict this overnight sensation.”

OK, I will admit I was hesitant due to the economy, price and prior launches. But in 26 years, I have never seen anything like Shellac.

Now that we have the new category, here is what I don’t get. How did so many companies come up with their own version in less than a couple months when it took CND over 4 years? How does Danny Hale’s Gelish have 48 colors with zero R&D and how does Jessica have 36 colors overnight?

Rick Slack, President of NSI, gave me a call and told me his new line coming out in October has been in R&D for quite a while. At least NSI has R&D. NSI’s line will sport 24 colors in 1/2 oz. bottles for a great price.

American International’s IBD and China Glaze are coming out as well this fall and they certainly have the resources behind them. But I’m seeing companies come out of the woodwork with 24, 36, 48 and even more colors. The question is, none of these companies have a chemist on staff, none have a working lab and all are outsourcing. How can they all be doing this at the same time?

Ah, the acrylic days are back. When Kym Lee, a nail tech in Southern California can launch a line called Galaxy while doing nails at her salon, you know anything is possible. Kym was a great gal and was in the right place at the right time. But now?

I wonder. Shellac has the name, the PR, the formulation. What they don’t have is stock. I was told we will receive some early next week and most orders will be fully caught up by late September. CND’s arch rivals are salivating. But in the end who will survive?

And what will the fate of the nail polish industry be?Women who have been accustomed to choosing from among 300 colors are tickled pink to find any Shellac color and wear it.

But the biggest question is what is George Schaeffer coming up with? OPI owns the color category and the one thing I know about George is this: Not only will he come out with a winning product, he will have plenty of inventory.

Game on. In the end, it will just like 1985 again, CND and OPI.

Happy Thursday!

Inside the World of OPI

Who were you rooting for to win the Master's?

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Tucked into a non-descript side street surrounded by dated buildings and razor topped fences one would barely notice that this is where OPI’s headquarters are located. With the exception of a couple OPI signs, you would drive right by. While it may be no Disneyland on the outside, once you get through security, OPI Land is alive and well.

Founded by and still going strong, the affable George Schaeffer appears in his signature suspenders, never wearing a tie. His teddy bear face is for show, he can be a bear when needed. But today, he takes me to his office which hasn’t changed much since my last visit 10 years ago. The peanut M&M’s are still plentiful (we share many things in common).

I’m most excited to see his new filling lines, he’s most excited to show me his Toto electronic toilet. I’ve seen a lot of things in my life, but not this. George always has a step on technology, he loves his gadgets. When you step up to this toilet, the lid automatically opens and if you press another button, the seat lifts up too. There is a master control pad if you can believe and if you sit down, you can have virtually anything done (use your imagination) and when you are done, it self cleans itself and the seats lower. I can only think about that toilet in the middle of the night.

Like Disneyland, OPI consists of several “lands” or buildings. There are buildings for storage, formulation, filling polish, filling lotions, filling liquids, marketing, PR, and shipping. The best of course is watching bottles being filled. There is something fascinating to humans to watch automatic assembly lines. Some 200,000 bottles are filled each day of lacquer and who knows how many more bottles and jars of gels, lotions and potions.

I asked George if he made enough Shrek polish since we sold out of Alice in Wonderland in two days. George assured me yes and thinks it will outsell Alice. I’m not so sure but come next month, we will both find out quickly.

As we stroll from building to building, we pass the hundreds of OPI employees each trained for a specific job function. Some I meet have been with OPI for 20 years or longer. Many have eaten too many M&M’s.

George is proud of his company and the size it has become. He shared with me he no longer remembers “building” the company and now is focused on keeping the stores that depend on him in stock. Today it seems to be no problem, but with no more land to build on, the future could be interesting.

OPI World ended with a OPI tote filled with what else but OPI stuff. Alas I wasn’t checking luggage so I had to leave it behind, but one thing I can say about George, he is always handing out gifts. Now about that toilet. . .

Happy Monday!

Getting Excited About What’s In Front of You

What is your favorite brand of nail polish?

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A couple weeks ago a salesperson came in for a meeting. A common occurrence that happens far too often. In conversation I learned he had a daughter and a wife and was traveling light.

I wanted to give him something to take home to earn some bonus points. I gave him the new mini collections from both Essie and OPI.

The phone call I received the next day was such that you would have thought I gave him a couple sets of Tiffany studs. That’s how happy they were.

Last week I interviewed a candidate wanting to work at TNG. He came in from NY and I learned that he too had a daughter and wife. On his way back to NY, I have him the OPI mini collection to earn some bonus points.

He gave the collection to his soon to be 13 year old daughter and she was giddy with excitement. She soon envisioned her father bringing home boxes of TNG goodies. And his wife wants 50 of them for a big birthday party.

The thing is, we are around beauty products all day long and to many of us, they are as utilitarian and exciting as a cup of morning coffee. We are so used to the products that they don’t excite us and we take them for granted. But when the same products are given or made available to those not around them, they jump up and down with excitement.

I doubt the owners wife of a florist gets excited when her husband brings home flowers. I doubt the owners wife of a jewelry store gets excited when her husband brings home another trinket. We all get jaded.

But I’m telling you. These mini collections are priceless and hot. If you own a salon or spa, put a dozen of them at the cash wrap and see what happens. It’s time to get excited about what others get excited about.

Happy Tuesday!