You would think talking about shaving all the time can get difficult. Not on Oscar night!

We present to you: The Top 8 Best-Groomed Faces of the 2012 Academy Awards

#8: Tom Hanks
Age appropriate. Not trying to hide any gray. Plus, it makes him look a little like Bruce Springsteen.
#7: Tom Cruise
He doesn’t seem to age and I bet his angular face actually looks like it could pose some shaving difficulties. Either way, absurdly clean, close shave.

 

#6: Robert Downey Jr.
Looks scraggly at first glance, but actually some fine facial sculpting.

 

#5: Brad Pitt
A nice one-two punch of tightly cropped goatee and short chops. A bit weird that his goatee looks like one of those heart-shaped rocks my daughters pick up along the beach, but it works.

 

#4: Christopher Plummer

82-years-old. Old-school, classic mustache, perfectly groomed. Von Tropp-tastic.

 

#3: James Earl Jones

Who doesn’t love James Earl Jones? Sporting a perfectly-groomed mouth eyebrow.
#2: Jonah Hill

A) Jonah Hill rocks.
B) He was a great sport during Billy Crystal’s dumb weight joke.
C) He clearly had the cleanest, closest shave by far. His face may have even be waxed.

 

#1: Bradley Cooper
The mustache seems to be making a comeback judging by tonight’s Oscars and Bradley Cooper’s pornstar-chic, lip-tickler legitimately worked. You can’t play it safe and expect to win our best-groomed face award – gotta take some risks. And for that, this year’s Best-Groomed award goes to Bradley Cooper. Congratulations Bradley! Please contact us so we can send you your lifetime supply of Pacific Shaving Products!
– Stan

I recently read this Natural Foods Merchandiser article on how four different retailers are managing to not only survive, but thrive, in a challenging economy.

To me, it boiled down to three distinct strategies:
•    Variety in price points
•    Variety in selection
•    Manage greed

Tough economy aside, all of these business tactics bode well for consumers as well as independent businesses like Pacific Shaving that are attempting to bring new ideas and improved products to market. My thoughts on these three approaches and why they work:

Variety in price points:
From my experience, when retailers see diminishing sales in a category, the knee-jerk reaction is that it’s got to be the price. Lower it. Fast.

I don’t think it’s that simple. Retailers like City Market/Onion City Co-op realize that their shoppers cross all lines of spending across the value sale-to-quality product spectrum. Even Whole Foods understands that people are more likely to splurge on some items if they feel they are able to get others at a discount.

This is not to put the full burden of selling on the retailer. Their role in the supply chain is distribution. It is the brand/marketer’s job to do the heavy lifting and demonstrate to the right consumer why the right product is worth paying more for. This isn’t just using price as proof of efficacy – it’s the opposite.]

Variety in selection:
This one is really easy: If a retailer doesn’t offer variety, it’s a matter of time until its customers will find another, more exciting store to shop in. Native Roots Market co-owner Matt Runkle nailed it when he said, “I kicked out Kettle Chips completely, except for the party-size salted chips, because if you can find them everywhere, they’re not going to bring someone here. And worse, customers will go to Target, see it for a $1.50 less, and be like, ‘Wow, Native Roots is expensive!’”

Personally, nothing frustrates me more than seeing a store that feels like it needs to carry three full shelves of Edge or Fusion shaving cream and allocates only six inches of space (or less) for brands like Pacific Shaving Company. Argh.

Yawn...

Taking that idea to a whole different level is Grocery Outlet Bargain Market stores, a retailer that sells close-outs at a discounted price. As a result, their selection is always changing. Hard work for the buyer, but an awesome treasure hunt for the shopper at every visit. Plus, there’s the pressure of ‘better stock up if you find a product you love – who knows if they will carry it again!’

Manage greed
Sunflower Markets was one of the retailers that really seemed to get the idea that to make retail work, the whole supply chain needs to act as a unified front – not with competing interests and all looking to squeeze as much margin as possible out of every register ring. Kudos to Sunflower for realizing sometimes it is in all of our best interest to sharpen our own pencils. If no one budges, it ultimately comes at the expense of the independent manufacturers, or the consumers. And both will ultimately move on.

Overall, it’s nice to see these trend-forward retailers demonstrating that customer-centric business sense and transparency can be drivers of growth within their stores. They deserve it.

-Stan

Bruuuce.

February 3, 2012

The bumper sticker on my car.

Let’s take a break from shaving to talk about something way more important:

Bruce Springsteen tickets went on sale today for San Jose, CA!

For me, the moment I became a fan was when I was 13. (Long before I had shaving on my mind.) A counselor at a summer camp popped in a cassette of Greetings from Asbury Park and I heard the first few bars of “Blinded by the Light.” That was all it took.

After 28 years, dozens of Springsteen shows, (and unfortunately the passing of two original E Streeters), this show is going to be different for me. It is now officially time to show my kids what it’s all about. That’s right. My wife and I are taking the whole tribe to the show, including our three kids, ages 5-10.

Yes, there is definitely the “fan” in me who wants to be able to brag (and hopes his kids will do the same someday) that their first concert was Bruce Springsteen. But there is another part of me that wants my kids to experience true passionate rock musicianship. Not a manufactured, teen-pop star-of-the-month show, or a last-hurrah tour by a once great band trying to squeeze every last dollar from a 90-minute set of its greatest hits. No. A real performer; someone who didn’t do it for the paycheck when he started – and doesn’t need to do it for the paycheck now. As far as I can tell, Bruce’s fortune and success (and hopefully happiness) all appear to be a bi-products of simply following his passion for music and lots and lots of hard work. There’s got to be a teaching moment in there somewhere for the kids. After the show. From a very hoarse-sounding dad.

PS: I read once that Bruce used to perform 5+ hour shows because he would just keep playing until he was just physically too tired to go on. I believe it. It’s in his blood. Watch this early video and you can begin to get a sense of the pull he hadhas. (Among the stream of girls who continually crash the stage throughout the song to get a piece of the Boss, I love the 2:35 mark when one simply just wants to touch his hand and then quietly gets shuffled back into the crowd.) Classic.

-Stan

PPS: One small rant: TicketMaster is a bunch of criminals. Can some Sean Parker Napster-wannabee please come and put them out of business?

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