14,000 Walkers Descend on Belle Isle for ACS

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Saturday was a glorious day on Belle Isle. No rain. No snow. No bitter cold. No howling winds. No gloom and doom. The sun was out, the temperatures were moderate and people came from all over.

In all, over 14,000 walkers enjoyed the 5-mile walk around the island. The trees were showing off red, yellow and other fall colors while the Detroit River sparkled (if you can imagine that).

Jay Towers from FOX2 was live with microphone in hand and doing another splendid job covering the event. The American Cancer Society (ACS) had a multitude of staff and volunteers on hand to keep the event well organized. Survivors were on hand and well recognized. Families, guys, kids and strollers showed up in mass. Sorry, no pets.

Nearly $800,00 was raised for cancer research, an all-time record. It appears no matter how bad the economy is, people always find ways to reach out and give to charities they deem relevant. That’s one thing that makes living in the USA so great.

TNG was the presenting sponsor once again and had more than 250 walkers donning TNG shirts. Many were newcomers to the event and they had a great time. Lucky them, they didn’t have to deal with the bitter cold like years past.

We are still processing money from the Tiffany event last week plus the money raised for STRIDES. Once again, TNG will be over the $100,000 mark, something all its talent, customers and suppliers can be proud of.

For photos and more info about STRIDES, click here

Happy Tuesday!

TEXAS: Land of Opportunity

TEXAS: Land of Opportunity

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After signing the deal with J.D. Wright, owner of Salon Source, it was a whirlwind tour of Houston, Ft. Worth and Dallas.

Houston is home to Salon Source (SS) where I got to meet most of the SS employees at our inaugural announcement meeting. Cleverly, J.D. had everyone, including himself, don MSU shirts with “Rebels 2010” on the back. In the background Jimmy Buffett was playing “Margaretville.” It was a class act all the way and luckily MSU beat Notre Dame.

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[Good thing JD went into beauty supplies instead of modeling!]

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Afterwards, I took everyone to a celebration dinner at Pappadeux which seems to own the Houston restaurant scene. J.D. even bought a bottle of Dom for the occasion.

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[J.D. was still upset over the $20 corkage fee]

The next day I visited the Houston store and met up with Richard, the store manager. Rich is quite the hoot and knew his stuff. It was then off to Dallas and Ft. Worth (about 5 hours away from Houston, 40 minutes via Southwest).

Ft. Worth is about an hour from Dallas and is quite the impressive city. I met up with Tonya, the Ft. Worth store manager and she shared her insight. Like all of Texas, people are starving for personalized service and she was so happy to be part of TNG.

Dallas is a sprawling city (third largest in Texas) and I visited the one store on the outer edge. The store manager, Will, was on top of his game with over 30 years experience. This location will serve as our Dallas Academy.

I met up with a few salon owners in the stores and they too were geeked about what was coming their way. Texas is the land of opportunity and it was quite evident during my short visit.

J.D. and I are both very excited and look forward to bringing the TNG world to Texas. I may even have to buy me a pickup truck and start eating donuts and barbeque! Or better  yet, bring a little Michigan down to Texas.

Happy Wednesday!

TNG Worldwide Acquires Salon Source

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Someone once said you either move onward or downward. I prefer to move onward and in one of the biggest moves in TNG’s 26 year history, we are moving into TEXAS in a real TEXAN way: Big time.

Here is an excerpt of the press release sent to media and trade publications. Now you know why news is instant these days!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TNG Worldwide announces acquisition of Salon Source, Houston, TX
TNG Worldwide announces opening of new distribution center in Dallas, TX

Farmington Hills, Michigan/USA- September 20, 2010

TNG Worldwide has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Salon Source, a full-service beauty distributor based in Houston, TX. The acquisition will be effective October 26, 2010.

“Texas boasts three of the top ten cities in the USA and continues to attract people. Texas is underserved when it comes to professional beauty distribution and we are excited to do in Texas what we accomplished in Michigan,” states Larry Gaynor, President & CEO, TNG Worldwide.

Texas has approximately 27,000 salons servicing its population of 24 million. Salon Source has store locations in Austin, Dallas, Ft. Worth and Houston. “This is an extremely good fit between companies and I’m excited to continue to grow the Texas marketplace with TNG’s immense resources and dedication to its customers” comments J.D. Wright, Founder of Salon Source, who will stay on as VP of the Texas division.

To accommodate the growth, TNG is opening a new 30,000 sq. ft. distribution center in Coppell, TX, a Dallas suburb. “We will have everything in place for our opening November 1,” states Gaye Wanner, VP Logistics, TNG Worldwide.

In addition to the brands Salon Source sells, TNG will add many of its Michigan brands to the fold. “This is a very exciting time for our employees, our customers and suppliers,” adds Gaynor.

Happy Monday!

Texas Here We Come!

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It’s official: TNG Worldwide is opening up its third distribution center in Coppell, TX, a Dallas suburb.

Gaye Wanner, VP of Logistics, has visited the site and is excited as punch. “It’s perfect for us. The space is already built out, they are adding a couple extra offices and it is located in a great area.”

Opening date is set for November 1. When Ted Eisenhut, VP of Purchasing, was asked if his team was ready for Texas he quipped. “This team is used to ordering for four DC’s so this shouldn’t be an issue. They are ready to provide the same stock levels in Dallas as LA and Detroit.”

Texas boasts four of the top 10 cities in the USA and is the only state to add population growth. The key markets are Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin and San Antonio. Initially, the DC will ship inclusively throughout the state. “As we get inventory and movement under control, we will add a couple more states,” added Wanner.

The Texas DC will stock all thebeautybook products with the exception of Hospitality and furniture. This will help transition the opening.

Shawn Peralta, CFO, added “This will add tremendous growth to TNG and gives our growing customer base in Texas next day service. We are very excited for our customers.”

TNG  will operate the largest distribution center in Texas and offer beauty professionals the largest selection and quantity of products. Both its competitors operate franchise locations and ship from their store locations.

This is going to be fun.

Happy Thursday!

Getting Back To The Gold Standard

June was the hottest month in recorded history. Do you like the hot?

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I admit it. The pace of business, technology and complexity has taken us away from the three basic premises of what we need to do best:
1. Take an order
2. Ship an order
3. Get paid for an order

While the basic premises are so simple, execution is not. We get wrapped up with “solutions” that give us “outs” but more times than not, do not address the core. For instance, let’s take the process of taking an order. Getting put on hold for minutes waiting to speak to a live person has become so common, why focus on expediting the wait period? In fact, we hired a third-party provider to answer our calls after 60 to enhance our service levels. While this alleviated long wait periods, the level of service from our third-party provider was below standards.

Getting back to the gold standard is what TNG  used to do: Answer the phone in 3 rings or less. In an era where customer service continues to decline and more consumers are up in arms over this issue, and companies must control costs to stay in business, this gold standard is difficult to accomplish. But if we are going to deliver on our mission of 100% Customer Success, it’s time to try.

We tossed out our third-party provider and are hiring additional talent. We will achieve our objective and while there will be occasional lapses, the level of service for this basic premise will be world class.

The second premise, ship an order, we do quite well. But it’s not the gold standard. While we invested more than $4 million into SAP since October 2008, only now are we getting to a point where the data is being transformed properly. We still need another 12-18 months. But we now have an effective VP of Purchasing that is closing the gap quickly and positive changes will take place.

If there is one thing every person at TNG knows about me, it’s that I despise being out of stock. Yes, there are times that key suppliers (CND Shellac in this instance) are out of stock and there is nothing we can do. And while we may be in stock 99% of our top 200 items and 97% of everything else, we need to be better. And we will be.

The gold standard is that our customers place an order and that the order ships complete and arrives perfectly intact. This is world class and this is what TNG is known for. We will not disappoint.

The third premise is one that we have refined well and will continue to assist our customers through the “cloud” movement. TNG was first to eliminate shipping C.O.D. (and saving our customers $10.95 per order). TNG was first to use ACH payment (and saving even more fees). TNG was first to send invoices and shipping notifications electronically. When it comes to shipping and payment fees, I can say we are the best in class and will continue to maintain the gold standard and improve yet even more.

I admit it. Our team of over 200 TNG talent admit it too. There is no team more dedicated and focused on achieving the gold standard. The past 25 years has been quite a ride; we are focused like never before on the next 25 years. Thank you for your understanding and partnership as we get back to the gold standard.

TNG and label.m Sign Contract

Early Adopters buy new stuff before it's well known to others. Would you consider yourself an Early Adopter?

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Truth be told, virtually a year ago today we met with label.m in Las Vegas to bring this London-based line to Michigan. The next day Vince Davis (yes, the same Vince Davis that terminated us) told us we could not bring it on and if we did, TIGI would seek another distributor.

They say hindsight is 20/20. It’s fun when bully’s get hurt and this my friends will be as fun as it gets.

Follows is the “pre-press” press release that will be sent out later this week:

TNG Worldwide and label.m have joined forces which is thrilling news for Michigan salons. label.m was founded by none other than Toni Mascolo and his daughter, Sasha Mascolo-Tarbuck. Together along with the label.m Artistic Team, they have developed label.m into a world-class product line with education and trend releases as its main focus.

“This is a very exciting time for us and is reminiscent when we launched TIGI 12 years ago. Toni Mascolo always had his own vision separate from his brothers Anthony and Bruno. Toni is still committed to the hairdresser and we know Toni and his team are thrilled to come to the USA and dazzle our customers,” states Larry Gaynor, President & CEO, TNG Worldwide.

In fact, The Academy at TNG’s World Headquarters will become a major educational center for the label.m brand. “Not only will Toni and Sasha appear, so will many members of the label.m design team including the multi-talented Gary France. Toni and his team continue to develop trends 18 months in advance of fashion so they know what is hot,” comments Gaynor.

The premise of label.m is the 4 C’s: Cleanse, Condition, Create, Complete. Each “C” offers an inclusive family of products composed of exquisite ingredients demanded by today’s hairdressers.

The line is distributed in Michigan by The Industry Source Exclusive sales team. Presently the brand is not available in any of its 20 store locations, but several stores will offer samples and sales support information.

“It’s certainly refreshing to be part of Toni Mascolo’s vision and launching label.m in Michigan. Better yet, launching with TNG will be even more exciting as Larry’s vision fits in perfectly with Toni’s,” states Brian Bennett, VP of Sales for label.m.

The line was launched yesterday with our field sales team and will arrive in our warehouse within two weeks. Oh, I should mention Toni is in his mid-60’s, still cuts hair two days a week, rides the train to work, brown bags his own lunch and is solely interested in building a legacy for his daughter to take over, not sell to a global company. Welcome Toni and Sasha!

Happy Tuesday!