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A Hairy Business


Mullets and money are even more intertwined than you may have imagined.


First Research, Inc. reports that there are about 80,000 hair care salons (75,000 beauty salons; 5,000 barber shops) in the United States, generating combined annual sales of $16 billion.

According to First Research's studies, sales of hair care products account for 5% to 40% of revenues, as gross margins are far higher for hair care products than for services.

Packaged Facts, a division of, says the total hair care market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 2.4% through 2010 reaching $8.5 billion. Conditioner, gels, mousses, and hair spray are expected to lead the charge, estimating that "mousse and gel sales will rise more than 7% to nearly $989 million and sales of sprays and spritzes will jump more than 4% more to $618 million."

They also claim that "Americans are more style-conscious than ever before; greying baby boomers-of both sexes-are trying a range of hair care products to help them look and feel younger. Generations X and Y are even more adventurous than their parents, as they condition, mousse, bleach and perm at will."

The facts don't lie. Take a look at Sun Microsystems (SUNW) CEO Jonathan Schwartz (not to be confused with Minyanville Managing Editor Jonathan Schwartz):

Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz goin' all "Skynyrd" at a conference

Here's Indian beverage mogul Vijay Mallya, flaunting what many refer to as a "modified mullet."

All business up front, partying HARD in back

A proud, yet slightly less "in your face" mullet, belongs to Ford EVP, President of the Americas, Mark Fields-a conservative 20/80 well-suited to the boardrooms of Detroit.

Might the hair have somehow contributed to last year's $12.7 billion loss?

Thanks to the Photoshop wizards at, we can enjoy an artist's rendering of a mullet that should, but may never, be:

The $53 billion mullet

Check out Dean J. Mullet, President of Millersburg, Ohio's Mullet Cabinet, Inc.:

When you're a Mullet, the world is your oyster…

Mullet actually wearing a mullet might be seen as overkill. That said, it's entirely likely that Mullet's innate knack for subtlety is what got him elected to the Board of Directors of Killbuck Bancshares. Let's face it-what self-respecting company wouldn't want the prestige of a Mullet in their executive suite?

Mullet insiders trace the term back to the 1967 Paul Newman classic "Cool Hand Luke" in which George Kennedy's character, Dragline, refers to Southern men with long hair as "Mullet Heads."

A mullet (and confident owner) enjoying stratospheric gains in the market…

…and one simply for your enjoyment.

During the course of my research, I found that mullets and money are even more intertwined than you may have imagined.

The first coin to feature a mullet bore an image of Roman Emperor Tiberius:

A "mulletino"

In 1846, President James K. Polk approved a law restoring the Independent Treasury System, under which government funds were held in the Treasury rather than in banks or other financial institutions. This established independent treasury deposit offices, separate from private or state banks, to receive all government funds.

Polk was also the only U.S. President to fearlessly rock a mullet:

11th President of the United States, James K. Polk

What about the non-tonsorial mullet? As it turns out, mullet (the fish) can be incredibly lucrative-if processed properly.

Mullet fishermen on Mobile Bay, Alabama get $1 to $2 a pound. On the international market, Mobile Bay mullet meat goes for as little as 19 cents a pound. However, mullet roe, called bottarga, is sold in Italy, France, Taiwan, Japan and Brazil for up to $300 a pound.


Christian Katopodis, a Brazilian bottarga producer and purveyor says, "Families that harvest these fish could make a tremendous living. Instead of selling the whole fish with the roe still inside, where they get almost nothing for the fish, they could start handling the roe themselves. If they could use their wives or other family members to extract the roe, oh my, they could make so much more money."


The Mobile Press-Register explains that "11,000 pounds of roe shipped to Italy in 2005 at $10.50 a pound was worth $116,000 to the seafood processor who sold the shipment. A single pair of mullet roe lobes from that shipment was probably worth $1 to local fishermen, and about $3 to the processor who cut the eggs from the belly of the fish. Ultimately, that roe weighing about 7 ounces was probably sold for between $50 and $100. At those prices, the 11,000 pounds of roe shipped to Italy ended up being worth more than $2 million, or about 20 times more than when they left the United States."

So, while the mullet fishermen in Alabama are losing out, there's at least one fellow beating the system handily-by way of his hair:

Good ol' American productivity

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