Out Of My Mind On A Tuesday Mornin’

Are you dressing up for Halloween?

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One great thing about getting older is that you have more experience and can react better to certain situations. One thing I learned is that life is about “moments.” How many times do you go to Starbucks and there are 6 people in line but by the time you get to the cashier there is no one behind you? Same for the supermarket, gas station and so on. Most bad stuff is about being in the wrong moment.

Speaking of moments, isn’t it amazing how some days you make every traffic light and some days you don’t make one? And even more phenomenal is that after all these years traffic lights still work: People still stop on RED and go on GREEN. What a concept.

What is going on with beauty companies? Suddenly Wall Street hates them and has knocked down most beauty stocks by a third or more. Analysts blame Amazon once again as more consumers buy online. However the real story is that own brands is taking huge market share and we have only seen the beginning of this. Skin care will be the next frontier and be a game changer. The only category that is relatively safe so far is cosmetics but I am sure that too will come under fire in due time.

TNG just celebrated its 17th year sponsoring American Cancer Society’s STRIDES event in Detroit. It was a beautiful October day and not only did we have a record turnout, we raised more than $140,000, well more than the previous record of $118,000. In fact we were the #1 sponsor raising more than GM, Comerica and Suburban Collection. Thanks to all TNG talent and supporters for the best year yet!

YIKES another birthday is fast approaching. Remember when you were 7, then 7 and half years old and so excited to being closer to 8? I fondly recall the Eric Clapton song, “After Midnight” celebrating in my earlier years. Now after midnight I have been sleeping for more than two hours and that’s during the weekend!

In tune to getting older, Howard Stern commented on how he went to see the Bruce Springsteen Broadway production and had to go pee so bad he actually went to the bathroom. He hates going pee in public and now hates to leave his house because of it. Sleeping through the night is long gone.

Most of Oakland County is without water for at least a few days due to a water main break. Most of the Starbucks were closed today except for a few including the one by our headquarters. It was packed. So many businesses are closed. Just think of Puerto Rico who is still mostly without electricity let alone water.

It’s going to be a huge holiday season for retailers that have the right goods at the right moment. The off-price retailers have their game down as consumers love treasure hunting more than ever. Our customers are loving all the Ginger Lily Farms Botanicals fizzy bombs and Pure Essential Oil Works diffusers and essential oils. And we are just getting started, 2018 is going to be very special.

MSU undefeated in the BIG10 and ranked 18th, who would have thought? But let me say these late games with super long commercials are killing the game.

I showed up at my spinning class this morning and no instructor. One of the girls came to the rescue with her recently downloaded APP, Aaptiv. She opened it up, picked out a spinning class session that lasted 47 minutes and away we were. The instructor was awesome as was the music. In fact, the class was better than the live instructor. Can virtual instructors at gyms be far behind?

Happy Halloween!

Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

Where you celebrating Labor Day holiday weekend this year?

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I just broke in my shorts, flip-flops and Jimmy Buffett t-shirt and now the calendar says September is in two days. Where did summer go? We all say time is flying by and while we watch it fly by, it still amazes me how elusive time is.

I got a chuckle out of this cartoon (one of my favorites). What is really funny is that everyone wants to exploit the men’s personal care category but men make really lousy shoppers.

cartoon

The 10th Anniversary of the iPhone takes place next month. There will be 3 new models, this one being the one everyone is talking about and hitting the $1000 price point (I would have spent $40,000 just a few years ago to get these features and then some). I love the 3D facial recognition system, same thing that CLEAR uses at airports. How great to have inductive charging and not plugging in anymore. And the screen is going to be super cool. Now this is innovation at its best.

 

Why is it when we come to a door and it is locked we try a second time to open it? Like the second try is ever going to happen.

Appears Wall Street is no longer infatuated with beauty companies except Estee Lauder. Coty, Revlon and Sally are in the dumps hitting new lows while Ulta appears to be a screaming buy, more than 100 points off its high. They are opening more than 100 stores in 2017 and growth is still double digits. Truly an amazing story that has many new chapters ahead of it.

Football season is here and that means another year for MSU and everyone wondering what team will show up on the field (we already know too much about off the field). I’m hoping for 6-7 wins with one of them coming in Ann Arbor. I know those smart ass Wolverines are salivating this year. First let’s see if they can beat Florida.

Our new Fizzy Bomb Favorites Gift Kit hasn’t showed up yet but is nearly sold out. I would say this is one of the most exciting products for holiday this year but I’m already finalizing the most exciting product for bath in 2018. It will be like eating Chinese food on Easter Sunday!

 

Can someone explain to me why Detroit sport fans continue to buy tickets to watch their teams lose? I mean serious, the Tigers are as bad as they have ever been yet fans are still buying tickets. Why? Perhaps the same reason Stafford got $135M being a losing QB (51-58 record). I get that the Ford family can pay Stafford when the team valuation continues to skyrocket. The Lions are the second lowest valued team in the NFL but still worth more than $1.5 billion, $200 million increase over last year alone. Perhaps if the fans stop buying tickets, the Ford family might actually have a reason to win because it certainly isn’t about money.

Then again there is Floyd Mayweather who just earned $300M for a single fight. His 50-0 record has earned him more than $1B during his career. Now that is amazing.

Sorry but I have to limit today’s news headlines to three words or less. I have never spent less time reading or listening to news as this year. Trump (enough said). North Korea (over and done). Russia (has anything changed?). Harvey & Houston (terrible, just terrible). Thank God for Sirius XM and channel 24 is all I can say!

The new MSU Business Pavilion broke ground and is scheduled to open in 2019. Very exciting indeed!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Out Of My Mind On A Thursday Mornin’

What company could you not live without?

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Between my last blog and this one, Mike Nave sold his blue rag and is now focused on this next adventure. Can you imagine how much less bullshit there will be at trade shows now?

Is the powder dipping system a fad, trend, craze or here to stay? I remember all too well when Dubanne launched in the 80’s. In fact we had a local nail tech introduce a line called Exquisite Endings which was among the first powder dip systems. It’s really nothing more than acrylic powder and glue. Today’s story involves colors and only one manufacturer makes it for everyone. Apparently they are months in backorder and causing all sorts of issues. But then again a major distributor returned $350,000 of one brand due to low sales. So we will await the answer to my question. My guess: Fad. Women are sold on nail polish and “Shellac” manicures.

Speaking of “Shellac” manicures, you have to give CND credit for creating the category of soak-off gels that last up to two weeks. Every salon I go into women ask for a “Shellac” manicure when what they really want is a gel manicure. Too bad CND couldn’t capitalize on this early on. On another note OPI is relaunching their gel color late Summer, dubbed GC 360. A buck more a bottle with a few more bells and whistles.

It appears everyone wants to get into the beauty business and one concept being tossed around is franchise color express salons. Unlike blowouts, cutting, and updo’s, hair color is a very involved process that only experienced hairdressers can master. The best of them are charging $60 and up for a basic color so finding talent to run these salons is virtually impossible. Now if we could figure out a way to do foolproof color without foils, that could be a game changer.

First we complain about the roads. Then we complain about the road construction when they fix the roads. But perhaps what we complain about most is when they do construction on the roads they detour us to. Only the government can plan like that.

I recently read an article about the top 5 companies and if we could give them up in our daily lives. Here they are: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Starbucks. Rank them in order of importance and see which ones you could not live without. For me, Apple, Google, Amazon, Starbucks, Facebook.

Can you believe it is already Memorial Day weekend? It would be nice for the weather to show up. Either way smoked baby backs are on the menu. YUM!

Remember those pink “While You Were Out” notes that dotted your desk when you were out of the office? We bought tons of them. Then voicemail came and they went away like 8 track tapes. Remember how cool voicemail was? And today, who even uses an office phone let along voicemail. Like the fax machine that was once “can’t live without” the office phone will soon be a relic too.

What’s going on with Detroit sports teams? We build the fanciest and most expensive stadiums and arenas for mediocre teams. What gives?

And finally this weekend TNG is updating to the latest version of Windows/Outlook. You talk about a nightmare job, this is it. Everyone has to change their password to an 8 character creation that most will forget within a day or two. We have to archive anything and everything and our email shuts down at noon on Friday until late Monday. Our tech team is working around the clock to get it done and they will. And all the while Microsoft is whistling all the way to the bank. THANKS MUCH TECH TEAM!

Happy Thursday!

Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

What is your favorite J. Geils song?

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J. Geils died at the age of 71. I remember seeing him at MSU for $5 bucks. 71 is awfully young for a rock and roll star and come to think of it, Jimmy Buffett just turned 70. Yet he is partying and building an empire like he is a pirate at 40. Margaritaville is now worth more than just about any brand name in music history. Even the mighty Rolling Stones never figured out how to merchandise themselves. No one does it like JImmy. And I hope he keeps doing it for another 20 years.

Which brings me to the Chicago beauty show. So many companies elected to skip the show once again this year yet the show keeps going on. So you have to ask yourself the question, “Why?” The answer in part lies in the fact that the old timers remember beauty shows in their glory days and they keep waiting for those days to come back. But with public companies now controlling the pro beauty business, it ain’t going to happen. It appears the few beauty shows left (Long Beach, Vegas rep show, IBS NY, Chicago and Premier) still attract the reps and most importantly, Mike Nave. Sitting in the Conair booth was JB who is now into his 70’s and asked why he was there, he simply replied, “What else am I going to do?” So people like JB come, see, get more and more disappointed at what they see, but come back year after year anyway.

So I’m thinking at the next PBA Cosmoprof show, we should honor all the 70 plus reps and others that still cling to the pro beauty business. Let’s bring them all on stage, give them a standing “O” and a bag of free beauty samples. And the last person that needs to be called on stage has to be Mike Nave. Here is a guy that is not only at every beauty show on earth, but still has the energy to deal with the bullshit. No one smoozes like Mike and even though he charges $49 for his newsletter that comes out 2-3 weeks late each month and $2500 for an inside story, Mike is having fun like no one else and the money is secondary. Mike reminds me of Bob Oppenheimer back in the day although Bob had quite a presence in the industry. Mike is a hustler who feasts on Gibson’s garbage salads whenever he can while keeping fit and trim. Yep, Mike needs to be the last one on stage especially while he can still walk on the stage.

We took our five year old to Orlando and Animal Kingdom. Forget the crowds and strollers, that is a given. What is shocking now are the amount of adults on scooters. I have never seen so many adult scooters in my life. It appears that it is now a privilege to be obese, out of shape and damn everyone else. Heck the scooters get you on the rides quickly and Disney makes a ton of money renting them out. You know those trams in the parking lot that take you to the entrance? At this rate, soon Disney will need trams inside their parks.

Tesla is now the most valuable U.S. automaker. Although GM makes more than 10 million vehicles a year compared to less than 100,000 to Tesla, investors have put their bets on Elon Musk to lead the way for the next century of transportation. By 2025 most cars will be electric and self-driving. The Model T was the first production line car built in the USA from 1908 to 1927. It cost about $300 and commanded 40% of the market. Look how much has changed in less than 100 years.

But one thing never changes: Rock and roll. Thanks J. Geils. What was your favorite song?

Happy Wednesday!

Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

How much TV do you watch on an average day?

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Why do we have mailboxes anymore? Remember as a kid how excited you were to get the mail and perhaps there was a letter for you or even better, something that you sent away for like a Valvoline decal or stamp set? And why do we still rifle through the mail in front of the mailbox?

I was a guest presenter at the MSU Entrepreneurial class. After 90 minutes, either the Z generation has serious issues or Baby Boomers are so old they will never be able to relate. I waved a legal pad in front of the class and asked if they knew what it was. More than 75% of the class did not. Then when I said paper and pen was needed for my class, everyone got out their backpacks and hunted for paper and pen. What I have come to realize is that students now have a tough time reading, writing and talking. One thing they can do well: Texting.

In case you did not know what music genre the Z’s are listening to, after extensive research, I found out it is not rap. That is so passé! The new genre is TRAP, even more vile than rap. Not surprisingly, virtually every student recognized a popular song I played.

Did you save $8.62 today on Amazon?

Can you tell me the #1 brand of laundry detergent, toilet paper, facial tissue, toothpaste, peanut butter and cookies? Now can you tell me what year each brand was introduced? Now you know the power of three TV channels and not even Google can come close to.

I’m loving the new season of Homeland but not too crazy about the premier of Billions. Are you watching HBO’s Westworld?

Did you download Super Mario Run? More than 80 million have already. It’s fun but exhausting and I have yet to pay for the full game version.

Burger King is buying Popeye’s. When was the last time you went to either?

Speaking of buying, KraftHeinz wants to buy Unilever for $55B and change. Of course Unilever owns a bunch of food brands such as Ben & Jerry’s but they also own TIGI, Living Proof and Dermalogica. If the deal gets done, Kraft will spin off the beauty brands to another company. Amazing. And it’s not too farfetched to think Coty might buy them.

Getting behind distracted drivers going under speed limit while they are texting or doing whatever is becoming more and more commonplace. No wonder there are more accidents and deaths on the roads than ever before. And then when you pass them and look at the driver, the driver is clueless.

Spring training games start Friday, spring is right around the corner. With 60’s last weekend and this week, us Michigander’s will take February’s like this each and every year. What a difference weather can make in one’s mood and attitude. It’s no wonder why Midwestern’s are the nicest people around.

Happy Wednesday!

Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

With the first debate over and only 5 weeks away, whom you voting for?

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I was reminded today by one of my long time business pals who happens to be a rep, turned 70, and still “working” since we are his only account. Reps don’t retire, why should they? Speaking of reps, isn’t it amazing they are still around especially with the Internet, Facebook Messenger and texting? The boomer generation still depends on relationships for business while I think Generation Z will be more into social relationships. The two-martini lunch is already history and so will business lunches and dinners.

Did Fall swoon in faster than normal this year? It seems the mornings and evenings got darker quicker than ever this month. And is October 1 this Saturday?

Can MSU beat Indiana in Indy? OMG, I am hoping last week’s game was an anomaly. And can Wisconsin beat U-M at home? Let U-M win all its game so when it comes to Spartan Stadium October 29, our victory will surely mean something. And speaking of MSU, Dan Gilbert happens to be an alumni and a major announcement is coming end of October. Hey, perhaps Spartan Stadium is moving to Detroit!

Coty is being added to the S&P 500, good news for them. And they are in the process of moving to SAP and moving OPI to North Carolina. I’m always happy when we are 10 years ahead. Moving to SAP is worse than 20 dental implants and root canals. But both are surely worth it when done.

OK only 84 million people watched the debate, down from 100 million projected. That leaves 30 million more who would rather watch a football game. Clinton is smart enough to know saying one-liners is enough since Donald will continue to put his foot in his mouth. And sure enough, he did that more than enough times. But really if we are going to have a women in the White House, isn’t Ellen a better choice? And Colbert needs better ratings so he can be her VP.

So what is new in the beauty business? It’s been about as quiet this year as it has ever been. Perhaps the fewest mergers and acquisitions in history but that is true for most industries. The nail category can’t find the next big thing although the Asian community thinks dipping fingers using glue and powder is the coolest thing since Dipping Dots but those at least have some taste. The hair category can’t find the next dry shampoo although everyone thinks instant hair tinting with sprays and powders is the coolest thing since Roux hair crayons. Even L’Oreal is in the business with its retail and professional products. Yep Boomers and preemie’s will do anything to cover gray hair.  To me the industry is very “settled-in” and waiting for the next wave of entrepreneurs to step in. But it is harder than ever to make that first step.

When we have a choice why do we like to eat things out of bags? Just think you sit down to lunch with a bag of chips. Instead of taking some chips out of the bag, we prefer to put our hand into the bag, snag a chip or two and repeat the process. Even when we can pour some of the contents into our palm, we prefer to eat from the bag. And why do we put the bottle cap on the bottle of water each time we take a sip? Speaking of chips,  Ruffles baked Sour Cream and Cheddar are pretty damned good.

Elon Musk has us going to Mars in 40-100 years and it will only be $100K for round-trip tickets (peanuts included). His plan is to colonize Mars. Sounds fantastic but will he be able to deliver a Model 3 on time? BTW, what ever happened to all the flights to the moon? The USA and Russia spent billions.

Jeff Bezos will be the richest person in the world perhaps by the end of the year and for sure in 2017. Amazon remains the most fascinating story of the century. Besides everything they are doing, now they are putting their own delivery network to rival FEDEX and UPS. Amazon really is amazing.

Last thought: No fast food companies are more successful than the pizza joints. Both Domino’s and Papa John’s are at all time highs. Can Bezos make and deliver pizza too?

Thanks again JB for the reminder!

Happy Wednesday!