Category Archives: News

Famed Marilyn Monroe Portrait Sets New Record

In a record-breaking sale, the famous 1964 Andy Warhol portrait of Marilyn Monroe has sold for $195 million. The sale took place at Christie’s auction house in New York.

While estimates before the event had the artwork priced at $200 million, this auction has set new records for 20th century American art. It is the most expensive piece of American artwork ever sold at an auction. It is also the second priciest auctioned piece of art, after Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” sold for $450 million in 2017.

The sale of the iconic silk-screen portrait was encouraging for many art dealers. Andrew Fabricant, COO of Gagosian Gallery and a top art dealer, explained: “This shows that quality and scarcity are always going to push the market forward. It will give a bump psychologically to everyone’s thinking.”

The artwork, entitled Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, was painted by Warhol two years after Monroe’s death in 1964. It is one in a series of five versions of the portrait, each featuring a different color scheme. After a woman entered Warhol’s studio and fired gunshots at a stack of the paintings, the portraits inherited their titles.

Since the 1980s, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn had been owned by a Swiss art dealer. Proceeds of this memorable sale will go to charity in support of education and health programming for children.

A Reason to Raise Your Spirits

Beam Suntory, one of the largest producers of distilled beverages in the world, has been working to shift its image to higher-end spirits. Its popular Knob Creek bourbon has sported a new look for the past three years, with an updated label design that has brought back its nine-year age statement, and a new line of 12-year and 15-year versions of the whisky. While prices once ranged from $25 to $50 per bottle, prices are now anywhere from $36 to $200. Following the company’s conscious efforts to step into the higher-end market, international sales reportedly rose 11% in 2021.

CEO Albert Baladi said in an interview: “Two years ago, in 2020, we weren’t as affected as a lot of companies, so the bounce back isn’t as strong as some of the other numbers that you’re still seeing, but still I think double-digits against 2019 is quite powerful.” Baladi continued to explain that the spirits industry generally does well even in times of economic crisis, and that raising prices encourages the company to continue upgrading its beverages. An advantage has been that customers are less sensitive to price hikes made to counterbalance inflation, as they’re pleased to pay more for higher-end drinks.

Ready to tap into another beverage line, Beam Suntory has announced plans to expand its ready-to-drink cocktail line and has partnered with Sam Adams brewer Boston Beer. Although unexpected, this trendy market line has proven lucrative and ranked as the fasting growing of any spirit category, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. Beam Suntory’s premixed brands Sauza and Truly Vodka will be released this spring.

Banking for Small Business Owners

When you start a new business, accessing capital is often the first – and biggest – hurdle.  But there are some tried and tested ways of working this out.  Here, we take a look at some of the steps to follow that can help this.

Mozes Konig – a businessman who some years ago had some problems with Interpol which he then resolved – has worked with many startups and small businesses securing loans.  He has gone through a lot of the obstacles with them and is thus able to advise others on avoiding these pitfalls.

“I think one of the most important things to do – before anything else – is making a clear separation between private and business funds. The way you do this is by creating a brand new business checking account,” Konig said.  “It just makes things simpler and all monies become more easily manageable. You get a far clearer picture on your monthly expenses, incomings and outgoings as well as a clear visual on payment processes.”

The next thing to do is to choose which type of financing will work best for your needs.  There are so many around.  Probably the most popular is a term loan  (whereby you get all the money in the beginning and then pay back with interest over a set time) but that isn’t best for everyone. For example, some of these require a guarantee like some asset.  Sometimes the interest rates are extremely high, especially those with online lenders.  It is however a pretty good option for businesses that are not so new to everything and are just looking to expand, not to get off the ground. Obviously it’s important but always good to remind, read the fine print!

Some other options include: commercial mortgage, unsecured business loan, Small Business Administration (SBAs) loans, invoice factoring and merchant cash advances.

What if Technology Could Cure the Healthcare System?

The healthcare system in America has – for way too many years – exceeded its GDP.  Currently it has gone over by a staggering 18 percent.  Such financial distress on the system results in all kinds of problems, many of which were seen during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.

Mozes Konig believes in making substantial investments – via technology – in the healthcare industry as that could result in some relief.  “Given that whatever healthcare financial mess America is in has a trickle down effect globally, it is high time the issue was dealt with,” he said.

Healthcare in America is indeed a business, being the nation’s largest employer. But it is oppressively expensive and thus needs to be transformed into a marketplace not dissimilar to how Amazon is set up. This way people will get services they can choose from vis-à-vis physicians, insurance, treatments and more.   There is a very real technological challenge involved in achieving this due to the country’s uncodified medical databases, but if the technology is developed it could be a game changer.

Mozes Konig – who in the past had to work out some issues with Interpol – believes that this kind of medical technology could be one of the best investments anyone could make right now.

Paper Magazine, Tom Florio & Pop Culture

The latest issue of Paper Magazine covers topics ranging from Billie Eilish and Kelsy Karter to Chrissy Teigen’s opinion of Ben Affleck and Matthew Perry videos. There is something for everyone here at the popular magazine owned by ENTtech Media Group LLC co-founder Tom Florio.

Paper Magazine was founded in 1984 by Kim Hastreiter and David Hershkovits and became the go-to location to learn about pop culture and fashion. In 2017, they sold the company to ENTtech Media Group with Tom Florio and Drew Elliot. As Tom Florio said at the time, “I like Paper because of [its] cultural legitimacy… the reference points [come] from people who understand pop culture, who understand art, who understand music, who understand food, and it’s not just algorithmically based content.”

One of the recent pieces covered by Paper Magazine includes an announcement that Charli and Dixie D’Amelio are launching a clothing line under the Abercrombie & Fitch portfolio. It will be sold only at Hollister and will be sold with the Social Tourist name. Look for Social Tourist around May 20, which will include gender inclusive items and the trendiest of pieces. New products will continue to drop monthly.

Another announcement includes that Stacey Abrams, along with her political might, is apparently the author of some romance novels. She has written three such novels under the pen name Selena Montgomery and they will be reissued next month by Penguin Random House imprint, Berkley. The books were first published about twenty years ago and focus on a spy agency.

And, of course, turning to the fashion world, which Paper Magazine and Tom Florio do best, there is a featured article about thrifting. As the article points out, second hand clothes have become all the rage. The author points out, however, that being thrifty has become a buzz word and that not everyone is actually being thrifty with their clothing when they talk about the idea. Certainly, thrifting is a great idea and one that, hopefully, will be here to stay.