Amazon Enters Pro Beauty Space

Which FANG company could you not live without?

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It’s official: Today, June 24, 2019, Amazon.com entered the professional beauty space and is now selling to licensed salon professionals through their Amazon Business platform. To get pro pricing, you have to belong to Amazon Business and submit your license. No doubt they will manually verify each and every application and most likely, have already established ties to each state government cosmetology body. No one does business like Amazon.

The good, bad and the ugly.

But before I go there, today’s announcement is years in the making and I predicted this day nearly ten years ago. I recall vividly having my annual vendors charity weekend in 2005 telling everyone they needed to have their goods on Amazon and if not, they would sell  your competitor’s brands. Everyone shook their head like I was on crack cocaine.

Amazon started to enter the pro industry with its Luxury Beauty platform. It signed up plenty of pro beauty companies along with consumer companies. Essie and Zoya were first to sign up for nails. Eventually CND, OPI, Moroccanoil, Redken, Oribe and 100’s of others would join. Interesting enough, Harlan Kirshner was the ring leader for Amazon getting pro beauty companies to sign up or lose out. Ironically, the pro beauty industry’s biggest rep who calls on SBH (Sally Beauty Holdings), Salon Centric and Ulta and makes $$$$ in commissions, played the Amazon side and got many companies to sign up. Harlan is one reason why we don’t see rep groups anymore.

With so many companies part of Luxury Beauty, Professional Beauty was the next step in Amazon’s dominance of all beauty. Today SBH stock is down more than 15% to a new low of $12.47 as I write this. Ulta is down too but that is because Ulta stock sellers don’t understand Ulta’s business strategy. Ulta will continue to best Amazon in beauty for many reasons, none of them part of this blog. But SBH like I have mentioned several times before is vulnerable, especially Cosmoprof because Amazon is focused on their best-selling brands: Redken, Wella and OPI.

OK, here is the GOOD of today’s announcement:

It’s done and now all the players can move on. Salons and spas have been buying on Amazon for years and really the only thing affected are retail and hair color products which will now be available at wholesale costs. Next week we will see what discounts are offered. What is also good is that Amazon is an open book, you can see their strategy right in front of you and you can either ignore it or take advantage of it. One thing is for certain: SBH is the most vulnerable beauty company right now.

The BAD of today’s announcement:

Amazon took the relationships of the pro beauty industry and said good-bye to them. Amazon bet big time the industry doesn’t need sales reps, education, trade shows, stores, sampling and demos. Just think of the savings. And if licensed professionals like it this way, bad news for reps and stores.

The UGLY of today’s announcement:

If you think about it the pro beauty business is only 40 years old and how fitting for Amazon to announce in 2019, nearly 40 years to the day when Matrix and Paul Mitchell started. In retrospect, that is an awfully short time for an industry to come and go and that is ugly. Right now Paul Mitchell is not part of the Amazon story and is arguably the largest pro hair care company left (and still independent). Will it become “us vs. them” mentality? In the end, Amazon wins on convenience and next day shipping (they are testing two hour delivery in Denver and other key cities). Coty went all in and soon we will see what that decision means for the rest of the industry.

Bottom line: Business as usual. Coty and L’Oreal will ship a few more goods to Amazon’s DC’s and fewer goods to SBH’s DC. But in the end, overall usage of pro beauty products doesn’t change and since Amazon Pro Beauty is only good for licensed individuals, Ulta will continue to gain overall market share.

Happy Monday! 

Out Of My Mind On A Monday Mornin’

Out Of My Mind On A Monday Mornin’

How much are you going to spend for Christmas gifts this year?

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OMG! The game of the decade, way more satisfying than beating up U-M the previous week (although that was quite tasty too). Spartans surge to #9 in front of Wisconsin and Nebraska. BIG GAME next Saturday against Nebraska. STATE will win that one too. OMG!

Michigan State edges Wisconsin, 37-31

And then you have the Detroit Lions. How pathetic was that performance? No doubt Stafford has been injured since game 5 and playing injured without letting anyone know. His crushing end in the fourth quarter may be telling. But the Lions are faltering and faltering at the wrong time.

Why can we make a right turn on red but can’t go straight through on red? How many times are we sitting at an intersection with absolutely no cars coming on either side? Just think how many gallons of gas we would save.

Groupon is doing its roadshow over the next two weeks to convince investors that they are worth $11 Billion. Really? Is Groupon going to be around in a year or so?

Amazon.com not content on providing the world with just about everything is testing same day grocery delivery in Seattle.

I broke down and bought the iPhone 4S which replaces my outdated 3. Apple has once again delivered. SIRI which they acquired earlier in the year is one of the star attractions. Once again, a woman’s voice tells us what to do, how to do it and all the information we need to know. Brilliant.

How much longer will Ficano be employed? The bigger question is how can one governmental office investigate another governmental office? It seems like elected officials are only interested in staying in office as long as they possibly can, collect as much money as they possibly can, and collect enough favors so when they leave office they are well off. In regards to the voters who put them in office. . .YIKES!

What are you doing for 11.11.11? It’s going to be a BIG wedding day for sure. For one, we are going to offer the entire Cuccio line Buy 1, Get 1 FREE (limit 3 each)!

Are you into Zumba? Who dreams up these new exercise schemes?

You got to hand it to John DeJoria. Not satisfied with Paul Mitchell, he developed Patron into a powerhouse brand. Now comes the new Patron ultra-premium in a crystal bottle with even bigger margins and here comes Ultimat, the new premium vodka to compete with Grey Goose and Belvedere. And here comes Mitch, his new men’s line that is ultra-chic and targeting Crew big time.

Nostalgia is going to be the next big thing. With social unrest brewing, people will thrive for the fun and frivolity of the 50’s. But here’s the thing, there were no cell phones, texting or Facebook back then.

Happy Monday and GO STATE!

Out Of My Mind On A Monday Mornin’

Out Of My Mind On A Monday Mornin’

How much are you going to spend for Christmas gifts this year?

View Results

OMG! The game of the decade, way more satisfying than beating up U-M the previous week (although that was quite tasty too). Spartans surge to #9 in front of Wisconsin and Nebraska. BIG GAME next Saturday against Nebraska. STATE will win that one too. OMG!

Michigan State edges Wisconsin, 37-31

And then you have the Detroit Lions. How pathetic was that performance? No doubt Stafford has been injured since game 5 and playing injured without letting anyone know. His crushing end in the fourth quarter may be telling. But the Lions are faltering and faltering at the wrong time.

Why can we make a right turn on red but can’t go straight through on red? How many times are we sitting at an intersection with absolutely no cars coming on either side? Just think how many gallons of gas we would save.

Groupon is doing its roadshow over the next two weeks to convince investors that they are worth $11 Billion. Really? Is Groupon going to be around in a year or so?

Amazon.com not content on providing the world with just about everything is testing same day grocery delivery in Seattle.

I broke down and bought the iPhone 4S which replaces my outdated 3. Apple has once again delivered. SIRI which they acquired earlier in the year is one of the star attractions. Once again, a woman’s voice tells us what to do, how to do it and all the information we need to know. Brilliant.

How much longer will Ficano be employed? The bigger question is how can one governmental office investigate another governmental office? It seems like elected officials are only interested in staying in office as long as they possibly can, collect as much money as they possibly can, and collect enough favors so when they leave office they are well off. In regards to the voters who put them in office. . .YIKES!

What are you doing for 11.11.11? It’s going to be a BIG wedding day for sure. For one, we are going to offer the entire Cuccio line Buy 1, Get 1 FREE (limit 3 each)!

Are you into Zumba? Who dreams up these new exercise schemes?

You got to hand it to John DeJoria. Not satisfied with Paul Mitchell, he developed Patron into a powerhouse brand. Now comes the new Patron ultra-premium in a crystal bottle with even bigger margins and here comes Ultimat, the new premium vodka to compete with Grey Goose and Belvedere. And here comes Mitch, his new men’s line that is ultra-chic and targeting Crew big time.

Nostalgia is going to be the next big thing. With social unrest brewing, people will thrive for the fun and frivolity of the 50’s. But here’s the thing, there were no cell phones, texting or Facebook back then.

Happy Monday and GO STATE!

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!

The Influence of Women in the Workforce

Is your hairdresser male or female?

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Flashback to the 1960’s!

Women with college degrees that went to work after graduating: 20%

Top degree sought out by women: Education 45%

Percent of women in the workforce: Less than 30%

Percent of men in the salon industry: Over 75%

Fast forward to today!

Women with college degrees that go to work after graduating: 80%

Top degree sought out by women: Business 40% (Education 12%, no wonder we have no teachers) And more: Percent of women graduating college vs.. men: 67% (tough to find a guy in school these days)

Percent of women in the workforce: Over 65%

Bonus question: Percent of women that make more money than their spouse: 20%

Percent of men in the salon industry: Less than 10%

The numbers are startling. And they are going to skew even higher. As the unemployment rates stays in the high single digits, it’s men that are finding it most difficult to get a job, not women.

For the salon industry, it can’t go much more on the upside. The past few intro classes that we have had for schools were 99% female. It’s like guys decided that being a hairdresser or manicurist wasn’t for them all at once. If you think back to the late 60’s through the early 80’s, do you even remember a female barber? It was Paul Mitchell, Arnie Miller, and Gerry Redding (Redken and Nexxus) that took our industry from barber shops to salons.

The big names on stage for decades have all been men. The biggest salons are run by men. Salon chains are run by men. But with no men coming into the industry, there has been this huge void that hasn’t been filled by women and this void needs to be filled.

I’ve seen plenty of super talented women in the salon industry and yet, I’m still not sure if they get the same respect on stage as a guy. Sure there are the old timers such as Vivienne Mackinder and Beth Minardi that get attention. But we need new blood, new excitement, those in their 20’s to step up and change this industry and get it in tune to the Facebook and Twitter generation.

If you are one of those women that is ready to get to the the next level, let me know who you are. The time is way overdue and we need to start somewhere. We’re not going back to the 60’s and that’s a fact.

Happy Thursday!

Which Multinational Pro Haircare Line Will Be Hot in 2010?

 

As the Unilever’s, Procter & Gamble’s and L’Oreal’s of the world jockey for market position globally, the question is which brand in their arsenal will be hot in 2010.

Here are your choices:

1. TIGI (Bedhead, Catwalk, Rockaholic)

2. MATRIX (Biolage)

3. REDKEN

4. PAUL MITCHELL

5. SEBASTIAN

6. None of the above

Thanks for voting!

Happy Thursday!