Tag, you’re rich

February 25, 2020

So is it actually illegal to remove your mattress tags? Turns out, tags that say “Do not remove under penalty of law” apply only to mattress sellers, not buyers. Created to prevent shady salespeople from stuffing mattresses and swindling customers, those lil labels instead confused generations of customers. And they’re not the only tags with stories to tell… Today:

  • A titan of the tag industry goes up for sale
  • Bee thieves think the (metaphorical) honey is worth the time in jail
  • Branson bets party boats are the coolest thing since kale

Speaking of shady salespeople, here’s one way to bulletproof yourself against scammers: Listen to a recent episode of “My First Million,” where Sam & Shaan discuss an anti-spam app that they predict will have a “WhatsApp-sized exit.”

Tags to Riches

The company that makes the tags on your T-shirts is worth ~$500m. How?

SML Group, a Hong Kong-based company that makes many of the little labels that go on retail clothes, is up for sale

And, according to Bloomberg News, a number of private equity buyers are considering buying the business for $400m to $500m. This is because the label-making biz is actually a surprisingly important — and therefore valuable — piece of the product-selling puzzle for many retailers.

So, how did the tag biz get so big?

SML launched in a warehouse office in southern China in 1985 and initially focused on woven labels for clothes.

The company entered the US in 1997, and over the next decade SML expanded to India, Central America, Southeast Asia, and Europe. 

Today, the company has operations in 30 different countries and offers a wide variety of products including printed labels, RFID tags, buttons, software systems, and other label-related products.

Tags are more important than you might think

Tags and labels may just seem like another piece of packaging to consumers (who typically throw them away immediately, anyway).

But to retailers, tags can be crucial to successful sales because they can be used to more efficiently manage inventory.

Still skeptical? Some specific ways tags can boost the bottom line:

  • Electronic article surveillance (EAS) capability: Prevents shoplifting
  • Software integration: Prevents popular items from going out of stock
  • Anti-counterfeit technology: Prevents brand damage from knockoffs
  • RFID-enablement: Enables brands to manage their supply chains in real time to avoid wasting money and resources

And the label biz is only getting bigger

According to analyst reports, RFID tags alone are expected to grow from an $8.2B industry in 2018 to $17B in 2024.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️“Straight fuego” – brendanJshort on iTunes

Got a commute to kill? Listen to our podcast. Today’s highlights… 

   🔥NSFW Business Ideas (“Playboy for the Snapchat Generation”) 

   💀Why HQ Trivia failed (and how we would bring it back)

   💰The big business of collectables/auctions

   🚀Career advice if I was 21 years old again

Listen here: Apple / Spotify / Google

Bad Buzz

An almond extravaganza fuels a swarm of honeybee heists

The humble honeybee is facing an especially unnatural enemy — the pollen-pushing gangster.

The Guardian reports that loosely organized criminals are stealing hives in raids on unsuspecting California beekeepers.

There were just 101 hive thefts in California in 2015, but they shot up to 1k+ in 2016. So what the heck is all the buzz about???

The real money isn’t in the honey…

… it’s in your bag of almonds. (Hey, they call ’em Blue Diamond for a reason.)

There are 1m+ acres of almonds that require pollination in California. They need about 2 hives per acre — that’s a LOT of bees.

Our insatiable almond appetite has turned the little pollinators into precious commodities. Hives used to go for $35, and now they go for $200+.

One beekeeper almost lost it all

Lloyd Cunniff was forced to get into the almond game when his hives were decimated by colony collapse disorder. On his trip to California’s Central Valley, thieves made off with all 488 of his boxes o’ bees.

The police found them at a crime scene that was buzzing with ~2.5k hives from different owners.

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Less than 23% of chefs & head cooks in the U.S. are female 

But chef Becky Rosenthal is part of a movement to change that. How? By turning her bite-sized idea into a booming business.

See, Becky realized she might be onto something big when one of her late-night cravings led her to whip up a crazy good batch of chocolate-dipped cream cheese bites.

So, she put on her chef’s hat, cooked up Becky’s Bites, and started slinging treats — then, she worked with Cater2.me to scale up her biz and bring her treats to hundreds of hungry offices and employees.

Four years later, she has a brick-and-mortar shop and has become an inspiration to female chefs everywhere. As part of Women’s History Month, take a stand and support women-owned businesses like Becky’s on Cater2.me

Cater2.me makes great chefs accessible to your office (and vice versa)

From full service caterers to restaurants and food specialists like Becky, Cater2.me helps you get amazing meals from the best chefs in your city delivered right to your office. Their unique variety of food partners and menus is revolutionizing corporate catering… and it tastes damn good. 

Cater2.me handles the budgeting, menu selection, and vendor communication from SF to NYC and 10+ cities in between.

So… hungry yet?

Let’s eat →
Cruise Control

Richard Branson is betting big on… party boats?

Last week, British billionaire Richard Branson introduced the world to his newest business venture: the booze cruise (adults only, of course).

It’s called ‘Virgin Voyages’…

And the fleet’s flagship (yep, an actual flag-SHIP) is a swanky sea-liner named Scarlet Lady.

The first of a planned lineup of at least 3 cruise ships to roll out in the next 3 years, the Scarlet Lady features 1.4k cabins, including 78 ultra-luxury “RockStar Suites” and 15 “Mega RockStar Suites.”

Prices range from $1.6k for the cheapest 3-4 day tours to $19k for the full “Mega RockStar” experience.

Scarlet Lady’s 20+ eating and drinking options do not include that old cruise classic, the buffet (because, you know… buffets are LAME when you’re a rockstar!).

For an even better idea of the boat’s signature style: Scarlet Lady may not have a buffet, but it DOES have a tattoo parlor named Squid Ink… and a vinyl records store (no, we’re not joking).

But the biggest luxury of all is… NO KIDS ON BOARD

Branson’s new, buoyant baby caters to booze-cruisers instead of stroller-users in an effort to attract younger travelers who might not otherwise have considered cruising.

Branson’s business ventures are flying high: The value of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s space company, has increased 200% since its IPO last October.

Despite his galactic ambitions, Branson seems no less focused on the seven seas. A recent Tweet from Virgin Voyages shows the Bran Man himself posing in “the most grammable spot on board Scarlet Lady.”

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Inflection Points

A fading startup boom, in 5 numbers

The gold rush in startupland is starting to lose its shine.

So declares The New York Times in a new piece about all the young companies that have fallen on hard times lately. From misguided investments to sweeping layoffs, the numbers ain’t pretty:

1️⃣ $763B: That’s about how much money poured into startups over the last decade. But the tide turned last year.

2️⃣ 2,215 startups raised money in the last 3 months of 2019 — the fewest since late 2016. It was also a bad quarter for some high-flying investors.

3️⃣ $2B: That’s the operating loss that SoftBank reported for its Vision Fund and other investments for the final quarter of last year.

4️⃣ 8k+: That’s about how many jobs have been slashed over the last 4 months, at 30+ startups.

5️⃣ 350: That’s how few orders a scooter startup, Unicorn, received after raking in $150k from investors last year. How did it burn through all that money before it imploded? Spending on online ads.

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The Hustle Says

Move over, LaCroix — The Hustle has a new favorite seltzer. I might be murdered for saying that, but I’ll gladly go to my grave claiming Waterloo sparkling water blows LaCroix out of the, well, water.

If you “swear you’ve been meaning to” get life insurance, there’s no time like now to get it done with Ladder. With their easy, efficient online application you can finally have this major to-do checked off your list. Now, go get a life…insurance policy!*

*This is a sponsored post.

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