FALLING ON (ED)HARD(Y) TIMES
Last Saturday Perfumania Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, announcing it will close 64 of its 226 stores. Although Perfumania already closed 103 stores in the past three years, the company was still losing money. CEO Michael Katz cited the declining popularity of brick-and-mortar stores, but he has plans to restructure.
As part of the reorganization, the company is going private. Katz hopes to put more emphasis on online shopping, renegotiate leases, and focus on high performing stores. In a prepared statement, he said there will be no changes in licensing agreements, employees “will continue to receive their salaries and benefits,” and “retail customers will not see any interruption in the flow of merchandise.”
BURBERRY MY HEART
My first real job was at a perfume store in an outlet mall. Fun fact: if you work the Black Friday 2AM shift, your lips will get chapped from spraying so many samples. Our rival Perfumania was situated in the desirable area in front of the food court. We were tucked between a tween jewelry outlet and cookie store people avoided because it was dangerously good.
Despite the number of people that came in asking for the most expensive perfume— even though it smelled like cotton candy body spray—it was hard to make the sales goals each month.
And I just worked for a relatively unknown, not very creatively named chain.
Although Perfumania definitely got more foot traffic, consumer patterns have changed to favor ecommerce over malls.
VIVA LA JUICY DETAILS
In 1980, Perfumania came into existence. Since then, in purchased Model Reorg Inc. in 2008, and outstanding common stock of Paralux in 2012. As its empire grew, the company gained exclusive rights to Trump-branded fragrances, as well as a slew of other celebrities like Rihanna and Jay Z.
Now Perfumania is once again getting a loan from Wells Fargo…to pay off their other loan from Wells Fargo. The $83.75 million bankruptcy loan will be used to repay the $18.78 million pre-bankruptcy loan.
Unsecured creditors will be reinstated or paid in cash.
The company stresses wholesale brand Paralux, who owns the rights to Trump’s fragrances, and Five Star Fragrance are not included in the Chapter 11 filings.
ETERNITY ISN’T FOREVER
While many companies filing for Chapter 11 have outright closed, I applaud Perfumania for hanging in there. Maybe they’ll make a miraculous turnaround and dominate the ecommerce fragrance market.
If not, I will leave you with this wisdom: perfume and cologne can last up to seven years if kept in a cool, dry place. So stockpile your favorite wholesale fragrances and hold tight just in case Perfumania goes under.
Will House Democrats pass the new Senate stimulus package?
(BUSINESS NEWS) A new stimulus package for the COVID-19 pandemic has come from the senate, the question now is will the House Democrats accept and pass it?
Congress can’t seem to agree about COVID-19 relief. Yesterday, the Senate and the White House came to an agreement on a $2 trillion economic stimulus package. The Democrats are now the hold-up. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has publicly stated that the House will be reviewing the bill, but there is no commitment as to whether the bill will pass or not. The Hill reported that some House Democrats are concerned that they have not provided any input.
What’s in the measure?
According to CBS News, the actual text of the measure hasn’t been released, but they did get information from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer about some of the contents:
• Expanded unemployment benefits to boost the maximum benefit and to give laid-off workers full pay for four months
• Direct payments to individuals making less than $99,000
• $130 billion for hospitals
• $367 billion in loans for small business
• $150 billion for state and local governments
• $500 billion for large businesses
• Creates an oversight board to govern large loans
• Prohibitions to prevent President Trump and family from getting federal relief
Will the measure pass?
Pelosi has said that this measure is a big improvement over the Republican’s first proposal. It seems as if she is working hard to move the measure through the House, but given the current state of politics, it’s hard to believe that anything will be done without some debate. Many Democrats have pushed for a food stamp increase, which is not in the current measure. However, the Democrats did win on the oversight board that protects the employees of the companies who are getting loans. Money for states was another Democrat victory in the current measure.
If the bill can pass the House unanimously, lawmakers won’t have to vote on the floor. If the House can’t agree, the House will need to reconvene and amend the Senate measure or pass their own measure. Under the COVID-19 travel restrictions and quarantine issues, it might be difficult to get anything done quickly. The urgency is real, but so is the responsibility. The Democrats want the money to do what Congress intends, not for CEO compensation or stock buyouts.
MLMs under investigation for claiming they have a COVID-19 miracle cure
(BUSINESS NEWS) Guys, there is currently no cure for COVID-19 and it’s definitely not being sold by your friend in an MLM or whatever their company calls themselves.
It should go without saying that essential oils are NOT a cure for COVID-19, but unfortunately, the MLMs are at it again. Yes, that’s right, there are people trying to market their oils, pills…etc. as a way to stave off the pandemic that is currently upon us. So before we go any further, may I remind y’all that there is no miracle cure to treat or prevent the virus.
Do not use MLM products as a replacement for the actions laid out by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), like social distancing and vigorous hand washing.
Don’t get me wrong, if you or your friends or relatives want to use MLM products on top of the advice given by doctors and scientists, go ahead. But advertising that these products can cure a disease that’s currently spreading across the world isn’t just irresponsible, it’s dangerous. Even if you don’t catch it, you’re still at risk of spreading the virus.
As of right now, the FTC is investigating seven companies over COVID-19 related claims, but you should be suspicious of anyone claiming they have something that will help. Do your homework. Sources like the CDC and WHO (World Health Organization) are great places to start if you’re unsure about information that you see on social media or hear from a friend. Disinformation is everywhere, so it’s vital to keep track of sources.
If you do stumble across a friend or family member trying to slip in MLM sales during this global crisis, be civil in your rebuttals. Many people join MLMs because they’ve been struggling to make money elsewhere. MLMs are notorious for targeting immigrants and stay-at-home moms. With COVID-19 bringing a slew of job loss, financial circumstances for many are more precarious than ever, which could very well put pressure on people in MLMs.
In short: MLM corporations that advertise a miracle cure? I didn’t think these companies could be more evil, but I was wrong. Your friend on Facebook touting their essential oil as a miracle cure? Definitely not great, but there might be more going on than meets the eye, so be honest with them, but also be kind.
It’s no magic cure, but a drop of kindness could go a long way right now.
COVID-19: Should I even bother applying for jobs right now?
(BUSINESS NEWS) COVID-19 has sent shockwaves through the business world, and many are asking if they should even TRY to get a job right now. It’s… it’s complicated.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, most people are either working from home, or nervously in an office setting right now, or are already unemployed, and there is a collective anxiety that rolled in like a fog overnight. Many are wondering if they’ll have a job tomorrow, and worse, folks already unemployed are wondering if there is any hope in sight.
I won’t sugar coat this – it sucks.
This whole thing sucks. For some sectors, despite the government working toward relief efforts, this is devastating. Truly. For other sectors particularly those in tech or corporate life (which is where our focus is for this story), there is a recovery in the future.
It’s universally awful, but it’s not an impossible situation.
In fact, this could turn out to be a major advantage for you if approached properly.
Before I tell you the bad news, then the good news, and then offer advice, let me first assert that employment is a topic close to our hearts here at AG. Although you’re reading this on the pages of an entrepreneur news site, you may also know that for nearly a decade, we’ve operated the Austin Digital Jobs group on Facebook (and hosted quarterly recruiting mixers that average 450 attendees (which are obviously on pause right now)), but you might not know that we also launched the Remote Digital Jobs group on Facebook.
We’re in the trenches with job seekers, employers, career coaches and the like. Every day. Which means we’re having hundreds of conversations about how COVID-19 is impacting employers and job seekers.
So… let’s start with the bad news first.
It’s no secret that there is an air of uncertainty right now. We’re collectively holding our breath, prepared for the worst but hoping for the best. The universal virus we’re all infected with right now is anxiety – employer and employee alike.
Some employers are moving forward as normal because their industry is thriving in this time, others are hard hit and looking at their reserves and hitting pause on hiring.
Many companies have a hiring freeze in place right now, but they’re not public about that in any way, so as a job seeker, you’ll never know which are in this situation.
Others are following bad advice from venture capitalists and are considering blindly axing people. Some already have.
Layoffs are here. Not en masse yet, but if a company has no money, it can’t pay employees, and smaller companies are currently facing that reality.
But here is the good news. For YOU, anyways.
In this time where an entire workforce has been sent home to work, some folks are going to shine as they are reliable, communicative, and think creatively. Unfortunately, others are going to struggle and sink.
Sinkers open up critical spots on the team that need to be filled to keep operations moving. That could be a spot free up for you!
Further, employers are reconsidering their roster right now. They may be trimming some figurative fat.
For example, one small software development company in Austin told us they would make it through the storm if they made the hard decision to let go of two senior developers they had hired who had negotiated extremely high salaries. With those two salaries cut, two people have lost their jobs, but the company will now hire one senior developer and pay them an Austin salary, not a California salary they had originally paid to attract that tippity top talent.
That could be good news for you. And there are plenty of companies doing just this.
Additionally, companies are looking at their future hiring needs for “when this all ends,” and we’re being told that many companies are currently hiring for the summer, which sounds far away, but is about as long as the hiring process often takes anyhow.
While not a total win, we’re hearing news that implies companies don’t expect COVID-19 to wipe out their business, or hold them back indefinitely.
So should you even bother applying for jobs right now?
The answer is: Yes, absolutely, but you’re going to have to change your approach.
Job interviews are going virtual, so get ready. You’re going to have to test out all of your video platforms with Zoom being the most common, followed by Skype – don’t wait until you’ve landed an interview to test your tech. You’ll have to test your lighting and sound (and probably wear in-ear headphones with a standard mic). Do that today if you can, even if it’s just a friend you’re video chatting with as a test. Here are some quick tips.
You’re going to be tempted to apply to as many jobs as possible and play the numbers game.
That feels good because you’re seeking to control something in this time of uncertainty, but you’re working against yourself and missing opportunities. Plus, it’s lazy. Sorry, it’s true.
Take the time to groom your resume and cover letter. Send it to everyone you know and ask if they’ll pretend to be an employer and opine when they have time, that you’re looking for criticism, not praise.
If you have savings and can afford a professional resume writing service to help you, make that investment right now. If you have comfortable savings, hire a reputable career coach to speed up the process and work with you on your strengths and weaknesses.
Every application you submit should be refined for that specific employer. Before applying, read the job posting three times in a row. Then, read the company’s Career page, their About page, and see what they tweet. This will all tell you what’s important to them (plus, the keywords you’ll need to use to get past the applicant tracking system robots and into the hands of a humans are IN THE JOB LISTING, so use them). This will help you to tell your story in a way that answers their needs.
Take the time to get to know each company before introducing yourself, it’ll make an immediate difference. This is why you can’t really apply to 100 places in one day, it’s unrealistic and puts you at a disadvantage.
Aside from transitioning to video interviews and customizing every application for quality, these times call for some things I’m scared to ask you for, but this pandemic demands grit and patience.
And that’s so much easier said than done.
You’ll have to keep pressing forward, even when you don’t feel like it, and even when it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning. And you’ll have to really wrap your mind around the fact that employers aren’t moving as quickly as they were just a month ago. Response times are slower, so landing an interview takes more time, and post-interview decisions will take even longer.
And that doesn’t sound appealing when you’re worried about paying rent in a few days. It’s not appealing, and we are by no means minimizing that fact or your feelings about it. These are the cold realities of these COVID-19 times.
In these desperate times, your only choice is to take a deep breath and approach job hunting the right way, knowing that companies are shuffling the deck right now. It won’t be in fast motion, but there’s a chair for you about to open up, and you should be pushing your hardest to be the one to fill it.
From the depths of our hearts – know that we’re pulling for you.
Business Entrepreneur2 weeks ago
11 productivity tools for entrepreneurs that work from home
Tech News2 days ago
Ultimate list of Austin women who can speak at your tech event (or podcast)
Business News2 weeks ago
COVID-19: List of Austin tech companies not sending workers home
Opinion Editorials1 week ago
Sequoia ‘Black Swan’ memo could steer companies off of the COVID-19 cliff
Business Finance1 week ago
COVID-19: Self employed Texans get some relief benefits
Business News2 weeks ago
COVID-19: Open letter to employers struggling with sending staff home or not
Business News5 days ago
COVID-19: Should I even bother applying for jobs right now?
Tech News2 weeks ago
7 ways AI will transform health care