Yeti’s Brand Museum Opens In Austin This Week

Yeti’s Brand Museum Opens In Austin This Week
Cooler maker Yeti is finally going to have a real-life presence, but it will be far from a traditional retail store. The company is opening a “brand museum” in their hometown of Austin, Texas, this week. Customers will be able to buy coolers and other Yeti gear there, but the main goal of the space is to be an “immersive Yeti experience”, according to Marketing VP Corey Maynard. “It’s our version of Disneyland,” says Maynard, explaining that they want visitors to have fun with the Yeti brand and see it brought to life in the three-dimensional world. The Yeti spot is located in a historic building that has it’s own interesting story about surviving the elements – it is the only building on the block to survive a 1935 flood and even has the high-water line marked throughout the store. Instead of having shelves stuffed with Yeti products, though, the space is filled with displays and exhibits. For instance, the boating exhibit features a skiff built by angler fisherman Flip Pallot to navigate the shallow waters of Florida’s Hells Bay. It sits in a body of water made from resin and has taxidermy fish, shrimp, crabs and other creatures of the everglades. One of the displays that sounds like a lot of fun is called “Yeti Vs.” which includes video clips of various catastrophes that Yeti coolers have survived. They get dropped from cliffs, blown up and even set on fire. The flagship store also has a bar, which is dubbed The Barrr, which features a music stage, and several decorative live sharks and tarpons suspended from the ceiling. Customers will also be able to customize their Yeti schwag while at the store. For those not familiar with the company, Yeti is best known for its insanely popular coolers and insulated travel mugs. Two brothers launched the company in 2006 with their “Sherpa” coolers, which were priced at between $250 to $300 a pop, or about 10x what an average Coleman cooler would run you. Current models can run as high as $1,000 depending on the size. They latched on to a pretty brilliant marketing plan – the coolers are grizzly-proof, and are even certified as such by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. What they are really selling though is a lifestyle, a love of all things outdoors. The brand really caught fire with the so-called hook and bullet crowd – fishermen and hunters. The brothers initially set out to design a high-end fishing rod and came up with the coolers because they wanted something that could withstand some of their own personal exploits. Primarily, one they could stand while sight-casting for redfish. Sales hit about $29 million by 2011 with the primary marketing tool being word of mouth between other outdoor sporting fans. That spread to other markets soon enough, including oil workers and the hardcore barbecue circuit. The company last reported sales figures from 2015, which were nearly $500 million. Yeti is expected to go public sometime this year and is privately estimated to have a valuation of around $5 billion. (Source: Inc., CoCreate)

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Secrets To Picking The Perfect Chocolate

Chocolate has always been a favorite among the sweets-lovers out there, but it is showing up in the U.S. in ever more sophisticated forms. In fact, foodies are calling it “the new wine,” with high-end bars usually listing their country of origin, blend of cacao (the seeds from which cocoa powder is derived), and information about the terroir (farming environment and practices). These gourmet bars can cost as much as a good bottle of wine, too, with price tags of as high as $20 or more. Some of the increasing popularity stems from a large body of research that shows dark chocolate has some real health benefits, like lowering blood pressure and fighting inflammation. But how much better is a $20 chocolate bar compared to a regular old Hershey’s bar? That’s where the labels can tell you a lot, but they don’t make much sense if you don’t speak “chocolate.” The primary thing you will find on dark chocolate bars is the percentage of cacao. This tells you how sweet the chocolate will be. For example, 70% means that 70% of the bar is pure cacao while the rest is primarily sugar and some binders. That would be a pretty sweet chocolate bar. In contrast, a 95% bar will be quite bitter. This percentage tells you nothing about the quality of the cacao beans, however. This is where things can get pretty subjective, though, as of course what one person considers delicious does not necessarily hold true for someone else. Cacao is grown around the globe, primarily in warm, wet climates. Different countries claim their cocoa beans possess distinct traits. Some chocolate connoisseurs tout Ecuador’s chocolate as superior in flavor and quality, while others claim Venezuela grows the best beans. Regardless of personal preference, there are a few things that experts say are indicative of the overall quality. First is smell – it should have a strong chocolate smell, which some also would describe as fruity (raspberry is a common description), nutty, smoky and buttery. The second clue is how the bar looks – it should be shiny, not dull or scuffed up. And the final indication is how it sounds – when you break a bar, it should make a crisp snapping sound. (Source: GMA, BBC)

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Evel Knievel and Olga Korbut Headline Fantastic Sports Auction

Heritage Auctions of Dallas Texas will host an impressive Online Sports Memorabilia Auction Feb 25-26. Heritage Auctions is a leading purveyor of direct-from-the-source sports collectibles and will put its reputation on the line again during their Platinum Night Auction featuring personal keepsakes from Evel Knievel and Olga Korbut. Items being auctioned off from their estates are expected to realize six-figure returns while the event itself should see over $10 million in sales. For those in the sports collectibles community this event has become the most anticipated semi-annual sale. “Hobbyists have been waiting 40 years for the chance to own Knievel and Korbut treasures,” Heritage Sports Collectibles Director Chris Ivy said. “We are thrilled to be the venue to present them to the collecting world.” I’m certain everyone above the age of 50 has a memory of Evel and Olga performing in the 70’s. Evel’s attempt to clear the Snake River in Colorado in a custom made rocket and Olga’s performance at the 1972 Olympic games where she won three gold medals will be lasting memories for that generation. Highlights from Evel’s collection include th e ” Motorcycle Leathers ” Knievel wore in 1972-73 and his Famous Diamond-Studded Walking Stick with a hidden liquor compartment. The current bid for those items are $32,000 and $26,000 respectively. Korbut’s 5 Olympic Medals – 3 gold and 2 silver – were personally consigned by the gymnast and are expected to gross over $100,000. The balance of the sale will feature an array of top-end trading cards and memorabilia. Let’s take a look at some other key pieces and their current bids:

Cards

  • Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps – $500,000

  • Jim Brown PSA Mint 9 rookie card – $190,000

  • Bart Starr PSA Mint 9 rookie card – $140,000

  • Bart Starr PSA Mint 9 rookie card – $30,000

  • Ty Cobb/Cobb Back T206 -$180,000

Memorabilia

  • Mickey Mantle Jersey worn hitting homer #535 – $280,000

  • Ted Williams bat – definitely used in historic 1947 Triple Crown season -$80,000

  • Piedmont Tobacco Tri-fold baseball advertising sign – $20,000

Other Top Lots

  • Christy Mathewson Portrait T206 Piedmont PSA NM-MT+ 8.5: est. $80,000

  • USA Olympic Team Blazer Worn in 1960 in Rome by Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali): est. $100,000 A 1916 Standard Biscuit D350 Babe Ruth #151 Rookie PSA VG-EX 4: est. $250,000

  • Jackie Robinson 1948 Leaf #79 PSA NM-MT 8: $100,000

  • Babe Ruth-Signed New York Yankees Player’s Contract which inspired a reporter to ask Ruth about the idea of making more money than then-president Herbert Hoover, prompting one of the most famous quotes of his career: “Why not? I had a better year than he did.” Est. $500,000

  • Lou Gehrig MVP Sheets and a Handwritten Letter Signed in 1939 from The Thomas Jacob Archive: est. $40,000

This is just a small excerpt of the full Van Trump Report that I send out every day. To find out what you’re missing, sign up for a FREE 30-day trial.

Earnings Season Looks Like It’s Headed To A Strong Finish

So far this earnings season, 65% of companies that have reported have beaten consensus analyst earnings per share estimates.  As shown in the first chart below, 65% would be the strongest reading seen since Q3 2010 if it holds through the end of earnings season on February 21st (2/21 is when Wal-Mart reports, which marks the unofficial end to earnings season). For top-line revenues, 57% of companies have beaten estimates this season.  While not as strong as the bottom-line EPS beat rate, a revenue beat rate of 57% would be good enough for the strongest reading since Q4 2014. (Source: Bespoke Investment Group)

USDA Long-Term Projection Highlights for Soybeans

Soybean Acres Stay Large – Slowly increasing prices and higher producer returns provide incentives to increase plantings, and producers are expected to plant roughly 85 million acres through the projection period. Rising domestic use and export demand support a continuation of a large soybean area.

Yield – The USDA is using a 47.9 bushel per acre average yield for 2017, which is well below last years average yield of 52.5 bushels per acre. Somewhat surprisingly they never have the “average yield” exceeding last years record over the next 10-years. It’s extremely hard for me to believe that last years record average yield will hold for the next 10-years, especially when considering how rapidly new-technology is coming into the space?

Strong Demand but Losing Market Share – Strong global demand for soybeans, particularly in China boosts U.S. soybean trade over the projection period. While soybean exports are projected to rise, competition from South America—primarily Brazil—will lead to a reduced U.S. share of global trade. 

Soybean Meal – U.S. soybean meal use is projected to increase about 1 percent per year over the baseline period. Domestic soybean meal consumption, which accounts for roughly 75 percent of total disappearance, is projected to increase at just over 1 percent per year. Soybean meal exports are projected to remain flat as competition from South America, especially Argentina, limits opportunities for U.S. export growth.

Soybean Oil – U.S. soybean oil use is also projected to rise about 1 percent per year over the projection period. Gains will be led by increased food and non-methyl-ester use, which accounts for about 65 percent of total use. Soybean oil exports are projected to rise only modestly with strong competition from Argentina, where global share of exports rises from 48 to 54 percent over the projection period. Soybean oil used to produce biodiesel (methyl esters) in the United States is projected to increase to almost 6.4 billion pounds by 2021/22 and later years, supporting the annual production of nearly 900 million gallons of biodiesel in the second half of the projection period. 

Average Farm Price – The average soybean farm price is projected in the range of between $9.35 to $9.55 per bushel over the next 10-years. I’m personally NOT in agreement with this number, especially when they show ending stock at one point dipping below 300 million bushels. I think the “farm price” is underestimating the power of the funds and their ability to drive prices much higher than traditional fundamentals might dictate.

 USDA’s full report is available HERE

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