Cautiously Optimistic

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | November 8, 2011

The lunatic fringe, be it Tea Partier or Occupy Wall Streeter, holds sway in the US these days. While neither side can offer a reasonable solution to debt crisis or class warfare, both sides have managed to grab media attention (“journalists” love an easy story), and nightly news reports and Sunday talk shows are filled with the back and forth of“he said, she said” that ultimately leads to nowhere.

But business folk, no not the guys in the corner office mind you, but the people doing the actual work, creating new products, visiting customers and the like, don’t see the world in black and white. For them, there are no clear-cut winners and losers. Instead, they measure their responses with phrases such as “cautiously optimistic,” an ambiguity that can drive reporters mad, but in these uncertain times seems so apropos.

In late October, we got a dose of that optimism, when the European debt crisis seemed to be easing, US unemployment levels appeared to be falling, economic growth was revised upward and pundits began suggesting that maybe Christmas wouldn’t be so bad after all. There was plenty of reason to be cautiously optimistic, indeed, and the Happi staff found that optimism at trade shows such as the Society of Cosmetic Chemists’ Suppliers’ Day, sponsored by the California Chapter and Interclean 2011, which is put on by the International Sanitary Supply Association. Suppliers’ Day, for example, set a record in both the number of attendees and exhibitors. Meanwhile, most Interclean exhibitors noted that resilience is the word that best describes the industrial and institutional cleaning market.

To find out how what’s new in I&I, turn to our coverage that starts on p. 79. Also this month, we report on the similarly stable personal cleanser category (p 67). In contrast, the fine fragrance category has experienced more ups and downs than a roller-coaster enthusiast. To find out what’s in store for the market during the all-important holiday selling season, turn to p. 55.

And if IP and R&D is more your thing, check out Robert Lochhead’s insightful look at advances in hair care polymers (p. 89) or read more about Croda’s new rheology modifier (p. 92).

We hope you enjoy this edition of Happi, as always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.


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