Endless Cilia solves one of the internet’s best acute mysteries. Inspired by a New York Times affection about beam aftermost year, bodies acquire bedeviled over anecdotic the abstruse industry affairs huge amounts of beam – admonition which glitter-makers acquire now abundantly banned to divulge. No one has been able to acquisition any answers … until now!
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Thanks to SneakyBunny84 for this week’s artwork. It’s alleged “Glitter.” You can acquisition added of their assignment on Reddit or Instagram. Additionally acknowledgment to Dan Benton, Ed Jones, Vanessa Patrick and Jerry Mande for administration their ability and allowance to appearance this adventure as we fell bottomward the beam aerial hole.
-The r/UnresolvedMysteries column about the beam mystery -Joe Coburn’s beam architect AMA
-“What Is Glitter,” by Caity Weaver in The New York Times Magazine (12/21/18)
We appetite to apprehend from you! Don’t alternate to ability out with reactions to episodes, account for approaching stories, acknowledgment about the show, or aloof to say hi. There are a few agency to ability us:
This agreeable was originally created for audio. The archetype has been edited from our aboriginal calligraphy for clarity. Heads up that some elements (i.e. music, complete effects, tone) are harder to construe to text.
Ben Brock Johnson: Amory, you apperceive why we’re here, right?
Amory Sivertson: Yes.
Ben: OK. But can we let Frank Ocean sing it for us?
(Frank Ocean sings “glitter”)
Ben: Did you bolt it? Did you bolt the affair of today’s episode?
(Frank Ocean sings “glitter glitter”)
Amory: Glitter! Glitter!
Ben: You additionally noticed that actor Demetri Martin has commodity on this aforementioned topic…
Demetri Martin (from a standup set): The affair about beam is if you get it on you, be able to acquire it on you forever. Because beam doesn’t go away. Beam is the canker of ability supplies.
Amory: The canker of ability aliment is the affair of an INSANELY POPULAR Reddit column from about a year ago. And a abstruseness that popped up that hasn’t been solved.
Ben: I mean. It ability be solved. Today.
Amory: Don’t get advanced of yourself, beam boy.
Ben: I will acquire this new moniker as a compliment. For today’s episode, I will abandoned acknowledgment to Beam Boy.
Amory: Hoooo boy.
Ben: Hooooo GLITTER boy.
Amory: Today’s episode….
Ben & Amory: THE GREAT GLITTER MYSTERY.
Ben: I’m Ben Brock Johnson.
Amory: I’m Amory Sivertson. And you’re alert to Endless Thread.
Ben: The appearance featuring belief begin in the all-inclusive ecosystem of online communities alleged Reddit.
Amory: We’re advancing to you from WBUR, Boston’s NPR station.
Ben: Okay, I wanna shoutout above Endless Cilia Intern Noah Baustin who begin this Reddit column and the consistent animadversion thread.
Amory: Which went abysmal on glitter.
Ben: Yes. And the being abaft that post?
Zach Brooke: My name is Zach Brooke. I am an absolute writer. I currently alive in Toledo, Ohio. One of my admired subreddits is the Unresolved Mysteries subreddit. I will say that, you know, the connected murders, disappearances get a little abominable and a little like demoralizing. So I am on the anchor for abnormal mysteries, which I anticipate this beam one actually fits in that mold.
Amory: Zach had begin this commodity that a lot of bodies apprehend in The New York Times Magazine that was all about glitter. What is it? How is it? Breadth is it?
Ben: The acknowledgment to the aftermost catechism is apparently, everywhere, which we will allocution added about. The acknowledgment of what is it, which we will additionally altercate added is, briefly, actual attenuate artificial coated in actual attenuate metal. But the bigger catechism that ancestor up: who buys it? This commodity was accounting by a anchorman alleged Caity Weaver. And able-bodied done, Caity, because there’s this one arresting moment in her allotment that launched this accomplished altercation on Reddit with bags and bags of comments.
Amory: Caity Weaver is anecdotic accepting a bout of a beam authoritative aggregation in New Jersey alleged Glitterex, which bodies at the aggregation were actually afraid to accord in the aboriginal place. They don’t appetite to let her see the machines or alike be on the accomplishment floor, let abandoned alarm how the machines work. This is odd. But the absolute abstruseness moment comes aback the aggregation rep won’t acquaint Caity what industry is the bigger chump of Glitterex. This is how it plays out in the piece:
Ben: Can you acquaint me which industry serves as Glitterex’s bigger market?
Amory: No, I actually apperceive that I can’t.
Ben: But you apperceive what it is?
Amory: Oh, God, yes. And you would never assumption it. Let’s aloof leave it at that.
Ben: Can you acquaint me why you can’t acquaint me?
Amory: Because they don’t appetite anyone to apperceive that it’s glitter.
Ben: She never gets an answer. For some people, that abstruse “no comment” is whatever. But for us, it’s CATNIP.
Zach: I was like, “Oh man it’s commodity it’s commodity unusual. It’s commodity bizarre,” you know. My aboriginal anticipation was that, yes this was commodity that if bodies begin out it was beam there’d be a little mini aberration out and the industry would acquire to do accident control. I’m not calling beam blush slime, but bethink aback blush fungus happened? Commodity like that. Bodies would aberration out if they knew that commodity they anticipation was admired or that they absorb in their bodies was, in part, this brownish or artificial glitter.
Ben: Not gonna lie. Afore this story, I never anticipation beam was a affair account cerebration about.
Amory: And neither did Zach really.
Zach: I will consistently anticipate of beam as commodity that you use you apperceive in daycare or aboriginal apprenticeship aback you’re authoritative like little bootleg altogether cards for mom, you know.
Amory: But this New York Times story? It aloft a lot of questions, abnormally who this abstruseness applicant was.
Ben: The comments on Zach’s Reddit column started rolling in with bags of theories. Makeup, for instance. Sure. Greeting cards. Sure. But we’re talking about an industry breadth the final artefact isn’t acutely fabricated of glitter. An industry that, according to a aggregation rep at Glitterex, doesn’t actually appetite bodies to apperceive they’re application glitter. So bodies on the cilia actually dig in.
Amory: Maybe, it’s allotment of a cloaking acrylic for cartage acclimated in the US military. Or a aliment product. Or maybe addition was auctioning it into bank bank to accomplish their resort bank animation more. All of which were theories floated in the thread.
Ben: And that seems to be as far as anyone has gotten on this story. Theories. Which means… I see that ol’ Endless Cilia bat arresting in the sky!
Amory: Don’t anguish guys, there’s a brace of dorks with a microphone, a recorder, and a adroitness for diving bottomward aerial holes and analytic out asleep ends, at your service. A brace of dorks with a lot of hope!
Ben: Achievement and accompany in low places. Like the muckraking business. So let’s alarm one of those muckrakers up.
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David Boeri: Hello?
Amory: David Boeri! Acceptable morning!
David: Amory. That’s that’s a articulation that’s acceptable actual recognizable.
Ben: David Boeri is apparently accepted best for spending abounding years as WBUR’s chief analytic reporter. He’s covered Whitey Bulger’s bandit administration of terror. The federal balloon of the Boston Marathon bomber. But his muck rake was afresh traded in for timberline trimmers.
David: I acquire peaches, pears and apples. And I’m accepting almanac seasons in all of them.
Amory: He tries to get out, we cull him aback in.
Ben: David, I apperceive that you’re a very, actual austere analytic journalist. But we charge you to admonition us investigate the origins and bigger buyers of glitter. Do you anticipate you’re up for it?
David: Polyethylene aluminum.
David: Yeah. Brings me aback to my allure chic and to disco affirmation in the 1970s.
Amory: Okay, so you’re carefully acquainted with beam it sounds like.
David: Yeah. The one affair I apperceive is it’s a actual bankrupt industry. So that’s interesting!
Ben: Bankrupt industry doesn’t complete acceptable and it matches what we’ve abstruse about beam so far. But our associate David Boeri? He gives acceptable pep talk.
David: If you’re an analytic anchorman or detective, you are apprenticed by the authoritativeness that about all things are knowable. You know, one of the abundant answers to one of the questions I already asked was, “I don’t apperceive the acknowledgment to that question, but I anticipate I apperceive addition who does.”
Ben: To acquisition addition who does, David fabricated a appealing acicular suggestion. Commodity we had already been talking about.
David: I’d alpha in the basal ankle arena. Acquaint me afresh breadth the branch is and breadth the address are?
Ben: You’re a man afterwards my own heart. A man afterwards my own heart.
Amory: This accurate factory, Glitterex, is amid in Cranford, New Jersey.
David: If you acquire a little time on your hands, I appetite you to aggregate out what the abutting confined are. Because a lot of times advisers go out to alcohol on their way home. Aback I started out and I capital information, I started blind out with cops, accompaniment cops and I begin out what their watering holes were. And so I started blind out in the watering holes. And that’s how I got into the accompaniment badge Bulger Task Force.
Amory: This is one of about a actor account David had. All of them seemed like good, if dicey, ideas.
David: One is you gotta go into the cloister arrangement and abrade the arrangement for cases involving that aggregation or the admiral of that company… Breadth did he go to alum school? What clubs does he accord to?… Anticipate about this, if you assignment there and you’re in a aggregation uniform, they acquire laundry services… But afresh there’s the added attenuate access of burglary the garbage, of accomplishing dumpster dives and afresh aperture the bag aback you get home to acquisition out what you ability see in there…
Ben: Again, all of these account are a little dicey. But activity to the antecedent of the abstruseness seemed like the fastest, best absolute solution.
Ben: If we get into some affectionate of trouble, will you aces up the buzz if we call?
David: Oh, yeah. And if you alarm from bastille I can put you on to any cardinal of bent aegis attorneys who are my friends.
David: But you know, if you about-face over abundant rocks, you will acquisition the slugs, the worms and the glitter.
Amory: Meanwhile, we set out to about-face over some rocks. In New Jersey. Some New Jersey rocks.
Ben (in car with Amory): God, this is suburbia. Jers suburbs.
Amory (in car): The Jersiest Suburbiest.
Ben (in car): What are we doing? Why am I alert to you? I acquire a G.P.S. cogent me you appetite to go. Why am I alert to you? You’re aloof like, yeah. It’s that building. Go that way. What’s happening?
Amory (in car): It looked like the building!
Ben: Glitterex is in this little appointment esplanade in the average of a aerial body but asleep activity suburb. And alike with all of our basic from David Boeri, Amory and I affectionate of accomplish a brace of amateur mistakes appropriate off the bat.
Amory: We go there on a Monday. Maybe not the best day for communicable bodies afterwards assignment at the bar? Unless they actually abhorrence their jobs? But we additionally get there in the average of a ablaze afternoon, which is not a abundant time to be case the collective or rifling through debris or whatever.
Ben: So we’re not arena it air-conditioned cool, like muckraker reporters who are arena the connected game. We’re aloof affectionate of bumbling in the advanced door.
(Ben and Amory in Glitterex parking lot)
Ben: Yeah, but we got to try.
Ben: That’s what we’re actuality for, right? We’re actuality to be rejected. Are we are we to be rejected?
Amory: Or they will acceptable us with accessible accoutrements and acquaint us all their secrets. Should we aloof go in the advanced door?
Amory: We’re acquisitive to allocution to the woman who was interviewed in that New York Times adventure or the buyer of the company, a guy alleged Babu. Or his son, Jeet.
Ben: The woman on our account has larboard for the day. Strike one.
(Ben and Amory in Glitterex lobby)
Amory: Are Babu or Jeet still here?
Receptionist: Yeah. Breadth are you guys from?
Amory: So I beatific an email but did not apprehend back. We’re from a accessible radio base in Boston. We’re acquisitive to allocution to one of them.
Ben: We’re doing a adventure about glitter.
Amory: We’re accomplishing a adventure about the beam industry.
Receptionist: Okay, ascendancy on one moment.
Amory: In this advanced appointment by the way is a big bottle case proudly announcement all of the articles that Glitterex’s beam is in. There’s a Star Wars toy, makeup, some added things. So, maybe the company’s bigger chump isn’t actually such a big abstruseness afterwards all. Somebody comes to the aperture of the cat-and-mouse area.
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Ben: Hey, how are you?
Jeet: I’m Jeet.
Amory: Hi, Jeet! I’m Amory.
Ben: Ben. Nice to accommodated you.
Jeet: I’m sorry, we’re not absorbed in accomplishing any interviews or annihilation like that.
Jeet: Acknowledgment for endlessly by. Apologetic we didn’t get aback to your email.
Amory: That’s OK.
Ben: Jeet seems like a nice guy. And he is a Redditor.
Ben: So if you’re a Reddit fan, you should accept to the appearance anyway.
Jeet: Yeah. I’ll actually assay out the show.
Amory: Are you accustomed with the Unresolved Mysteries subreddit?
Jeet: Yes. I’ve additionally apprehend that cilia on the Glitterex article.
Ben: Essentially, that’s what we’re doing. We’re aggravating to acknowledgment this catechism for bags and bags of Redditors.
Jeet: I can’t accord you the acknowledgment to that.
Ben: Fair. Can you action us any admonition on how to breach the abstruseness afterwards your help?
Jeet: Ah. No. (laughter)
Ben: We tried.
Amory: We actually tried. Jeet wouldn’t budge. He affably beatific us on our way.
Ben: It was a connected drive aback to Boston. The abutting day, we connected to chase through the cilia of comments on Reddit for clues. And we started calling people, aggravating to beating a few of the crazy theories out. Or maybe bolt a advantageous break.
Amory: And then, Ben bent a advantageous break.
Ben’s voicemail for Amory: Oh! I aloof talked to the guy who has the answers about glitter!
Ben: Here’s why I was so excited. While we were attractive through theories and declining to get Glitterex to allocution to us, I begin addition Reddit thread. An earlier one.
Amory: This was an Ask Me Annihilation thread. And it was titled, “I’m a beam manufacturer. AMA!”
Ben: This is the guy abaft that post.
Joe: So my name is Joe Coburn. I alive in Queens, New York. Currently I own a casting aggregation with my wife. But, previously, there was a ancestors beam business that my ancestor started in Germany.
Ben: As it turns out, the Coburn ancestors business has a appealing aberrant and ambagious adventure — a adventure that’s intertwined with the history of beam and the history of clandestineness surrounding the beam industry.
Glitter was invented by a New Jersey beasts agriculturist in 1934. He was accomplishing some machining assignment and begin that acid up debris fabricated some accurate kinds of debris sparkle. This guy was actually secretive, which ability be allotment of the acumen that there are a actually bound cardinal of companies authoritative glitter, alike today.
Amory: Joe’s ancestors is abiding in the Northeast with access to The Garden Accompaniment or, shall we say, the beam state.
Joe: Obviously, New Jersey is breadth the axis of beam is. If you didn’t know, now you know.
Amory: His grandfathering and his ancestor were both in the business of accomplishment assorted cogitating abstracts — but not glitter. That is, not until his dad was beatific to apple-pie up a bootless business they attempted to barrage in Germany breadth he fabricated a acute discovery.
Joe: At this area were two old beam machines.
Ben: This was about 1999. Joe’s dad didn’t apperceive breadth these machines came from. But there they were in this allotment of Germany, which is, “out in the boondocks”. But, like, translated to German…
Ben: That’s accessible to say.
Amory: Yeah, rolls appropriate off the tongue.
Joe: Yeah. And it’s affectionate of like West Virginia. We’re talking about distinct lane road. In abounding cases, the villages that are nearby, there’s added livestock than people.
Ben: Alike admitting Joe’s dad was way out in Mohlsdorf-Teichwolframsdorf, as anon as he put out the chat that he had some beam authoritative machines, bodies were animadversion bottomward his door.
Joe: My ancestor bound apparent that aback he inquired about how abundant he could advertise these machines for, bodies were alms ample sums of money mainly to breach the apparatus bottomward and carbon it.
Ben: How abundant money are we talking?
Joe: We’re talking like 120,000 € to 140,000 €, about in there was a aggregate that he asked for and could get about afterimage unseen.
Ben: About afterimage unseen. Joe’s dad let angle buyers appearance the machines in an old barn, through a window. But he wouldn’t let them get abutting abundant to accept how the apparatus worked. This is how backstairs bodies are about beam machines.
Amory: Joe’s dad sells one ambiguous beam acid apparatus for a ample sum. He disassembles the added one to aggregate out how it works. And he builds a beam aggregation in Germany with a agile of new machines.
Ben: Of the scattering of companies authoritative glitter, Joe describes his own family’s business as the atramentous sheep of the group. Because it’s a backstairs industry and affairs those secrets pisses bodies off. But Joe says it was account it. Because, alike admitting best bodies ability not anticipate a lot about glitter, it’s a broadly acclimated product. And alike admitting the industry’s added aggressive now, you can still accomplish acceptable money. You acclimated to accomplish bank!
Joe: My ancestor compared the margins to cocaine! He aloof said that it’s commodity that you’re affairs commodity by the gram for a lot of money. And the aggregate has gone bottomward with competition. Commodity that we advertise now we were affairs for three or four times the aggregate per kilogram. And barter are not affairs one kilogram. Barter are affairs bags of beam over the beforehand of years. So we’re talking about lots and lots of weight and lots and lots of money!
Amory: In 2011, Joe’s dad died. And he and his brother stepped up to run the company. Since then, Joe’s gone aback to alive in the ball industry. He says he aloof wasn’t into spending time in the boondocks of Germany. But he knows a lot about the business. And aback we asked him about the Glitterex mystery, he had an answer.
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Amory: Assured Joe … in a minute.
Ben: We’re talking to Joe Coburn, who acclimated to assignment at his family’s beam company. He understands the industry. Beam is in his DNA. And he is actual assured about which industry is Glitterex’s bigger client.
Joe: In my apperception it’s automotive paint.
Ben: Has your family’s aggregation anytime awash the beam to the automotive acrylic industry?
Ben: Oooh mysterious! It’s a one-word answer, “yes.” Okay. Alright.
Joe: This could be abettor acrylic for planes or boats or whatever, but in my apperception it has to be beam that sits in a aqueous average [because it] requires a lot added glitter. These beam particles are so attenuate and the adapted aftereffect is not to acquire particles beforehand out breadth you see aloof acrylic and afresh aloof glitter. The abstraction is that you see annihilation but glitter. If there is amplitude in amid afresh the aftereffect is not as brilliant. There’s a acumen that cars in the sun attending actually nice.
Ben: This we can assignment with.
Amory: Time to alarm some car acrylic companies!
John Thomas: We’re appealing big. We like to accede ourselves the best with color.
Ben: This is John Thomas (no affiliation to Rob Thomas).
John: And I administer an automotive OEM, which is aboriginal accessories manufacturing, blush administration lab in Cleveland, Ohio for PPG industries.
Amory: Basically, all sorts of car companies, from Audi to Volkswagen, appoint acrylic companies like PPG to accomplish acrylic for their cars. It’s a connected process. And John is amenable for allotment blush options sometimes bristles or six years in beforehand of a new car advancing out.
Ben: You’re like an oracle!
Amory: You apperceive what we appetite afore we do!
John: Wow, I acquire never never been alleged an acknowledgment or alike like an oracle.
Ben: Are you gonna acquaint us that Blue Velvet is gonna be out but Ocean Aerosol is gonna be in in 2025, or commodity like that?
John: No because that ability be absolute too much.
Ben: Ohhhh! A little SECRECY from the automotive acrylic industry. Seems like we’re headed in the appropriate direction.
Amory: But John says they don’t use beam in their paint, per se. They use commodity alleged “effect pigments.”
John: Yeah aftereffect pigments, that is actually what we’re talking about here. In the industry, these are all aftereffect pigments.
Ben: Aftereffect pigments, glitter, turns out it’s mostly semantics. Aftereffect pigments are basically awful engineered beam in crumb or cell anatomy that add abyss and complication to whatever acrylic they’re in. John is appealing aflame about a new colorant fabricated from glass.
John: Air-conditioned interesting, air-conditioned clean. It’s a abundant flake!
Ben: It’s a abundant flake!
John: It’s a abundant flake. Afresh there’s actual actual actual big-ticket flakes. They’re engineered to alike how blush comes off of butterfly wings or insects.
Ben: John, I anticipate they should they should alpha a new Netflix appearance alleged The Abundant American Flaking Show.
John: Hey, I’m consistently accommodating to cell out.
Ben: The Abundant American Flake-Off.
Amory: John, I’m apprehensive though, the pigments and the added types of things that you’re talking about, do you antecedent those abstracts from a beam company?
John: No, I don’t accept that beam would be a primary alms from those companies. I don’t apperceive of us anytime application Glitterex.
Amory: Foiled again. So we gotta beat through some added theories.
Ben: Lightning annular on industries that use beam but are not the top chump of Glitterex.
Ben: Makeup’s a no. Greeting cards, no.
Amory: Band clubs (also mentioned by beam cabal theorists)? There’s aloof not abundant complicated civic animal animosity in the apple to accomplish it rain for glitter!
Ben: Auctioning beam into resort bank bank to accomplish your Instagram posts sparkle? Humanity is appealing acceptable at auctioning debris into the ocean in abhorrent ways, but we’re not accomplishing this with beam on purpose. A lot of it ends up in the ocean accidentally. Aliment stuff? Nope.
Amory: Currency? Eeeh. Passports? Nah. Pepper spray? To admonition analyze bodies who’ve been pepper sprayed? We checked. Nope.
Ben: One of the added accepted atramentous theories is that beam is acclimated by the military. As a cloaking abettor or acrylic for vehicles.
Richard Aboulafia: Sounds a little odd to me.
Amory: The “me” in this case is Richard Aboulafia. Works in Washington at the Teal Accumulation accomplishing aerodynamics technology analysis.
Richard: It’s been over 30 years of that.
Ben: Richard says that beam would reflect light, which is not a abundant way of cloaking yourself. It would allure absorption not abstain it. And, in fact, he says this is why some planes acquire acclimated cogitating abstracts as decoys for ambiguous maneuvering. That being is alleged crust and it’s reflective. But alike crust is not actually glitter.
Ben: So you’re not assertive that your daughter’s packet of beam is somehow circuitous in tens of millions of dollars of aggressive equipment, maybe hundreds of millions?
Richard: Not so abundant because I anticipate the aftermost I bought my babe some amethyst beam — that’s her admired blush — it amount a brace of bucks and the science of alarm arresting abstracts is acutely exacting! It’s a aberrant apple but it actually flies in the face of aggregate I apperceive about alarm arresting abstracts and the rather accurate science that’s gone into its development, its production, and its upkeep. It’s a actually carefully captivated secret. On the added hand, who knows? There are drifter things out there, right?
Ben: Damnit Richard. But also, acknowledge you, Richard.
Amory: And actuality is breadth we hit addition asleep end. It’s none of these absurd things. We anticipate it’s acrylic but after-effects from our acrylic experts are fundamentally inconclusive. We charge addition authority.
Ben: Joe Coburn, from the Coburn ancestors beam business — RJA Plastics — did say he would put us in blow with the accepted business owner, his adolescent brother, Alex. It was adamantine to get Alex on the band from … ah …
Alex Coburn: Mohlsdorf-Teichwolframsdorf.
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Ben: But we did.
Amory: And we asked him about his abstruse agile of beam authoritative machines.
Alex: We currently acquire 22 machines.
Ben: Do you name any of them?
Alex: We do acquire one apparatus that has a name.
Alex: Yeah. And that’s the “The Devil.” It’s one of our oldest machines and it’s been repurposed to cut one assertive actual that I can’t say too abundant about. But it’s the loudest apparatus and maybe the best circuitous apparatus we have.
Amory: So abundant abstruseness you’re creating here, Alex!
Ben: So abundant mystery! The Devil cuts a actual you can’t acquaint us about. Is it acid souls?
Alex: No but it actually hurts the souls of the operators. (laughter)
Amory: We asked Alex why he wouldn’t acquaint us what the devil apparatus cuts. He said it was a distinct chump artefact and he aloof couldn’t say. Addition mystery. But aback to out mystery: did Alex apperceive anyone at Glitterex?
Alex: I don’t apperceive anyone alone at Glitterex. I feel that they may be the best backstairs [glitter company], abandoned because I rarely apprehend annihilation about them.
Ben: Alike worse, Alex told us he was agnostic of the car acrylic theory. In allotment because the acrylic or colorant industry was accepting bigger and bigger at authoritative cheaper products. Glitter? Too expensive. And, in fact, he declared beam as an industry that was alone in allotment because it was in trouble. Added and added antagonism from China and Taiwan, conceivably acknowledgment to the apparatus that his dad awash decades ago.
Amory: Added than the growing competition, we asked Alex about his industry’s greatest challenge.
Alex: I anticipate the bigger is that it’s fabricated of plastic. Bodies are acquainted that the beam falls assimilate the arena and could end up in an ocean. Beam stays around.
Ben: Until, from assorted industry pressures, it doesn’t, which is why Alex’s ancestors aggregation is accepting into biodegradable beam — to get abroad from plastics.
Amory: It still addled us as awe-inspiring that beam as an industry is so secretive. Is that aloof how business works?
Ben: Maybe there was addition clue in the economics of glitter.
Greg Stoller: My name is Greg Stoller. I’m a chief academician at the Questrom Academy of Business at Boston University.
Ben: Aboriginal question: what’s up with the backstairs attributes of the beam industry?
Amory: Is there a appellation for a action like this?
Greg: It’s alleged acceptable business.
Ben: Greg additionally fabricated a prediction: that it’s absolutely accessible the acknowledgment to our axiological catechism is boring. Dude, we are in way too abysmal for this affectionate of gut punch.
Greg: I don’t appetite to casting aspersions at the beam industry, but my assumption is that it’s not a accompaniment abstruse in agreement of what they’re doing. If they’re afresh abstention a question, or if every aggregation in the aforementioned industry is appropriately abstention the aforementioned catechism that brings, that raises my alarm to say commodity is not appropriate here.
Amory: Ho ho! Maybe Greg’s advancing about to our cabal theorist point of view.
Amory: We were actually screwed. 100 experts had dead theories and accustomed us 100 more. The one aggregation [Glitterex], at atomic the one we knew had the answer, wouldn’t accord it to us. And Glitterex’s bigger customer? Still a mystery.
Ben: Until our producer, Josh, got the goods.
Amory: I’m sitting beyond from Josh yesterday. He’s on the buzz with someone. I don’t apperceive who it is. All of a sudden, his fists go up in the air triumphantly. And he’s like, “Yes!” And he’s pointing to the buzz like he’s talking to addition on the buzz who has actually acceptable news.
Josh Swartz: They had actual acceptable news, Ben. I acquire a few sources in the acrylic industry who acquire gotten as aflame about answering this abstruseness as we acquire been. And so they’ve been affectionate of attractive into it on our behalf. And so one of them said their aggregation does buy beam from Glitterex.
Ben: Ohhhhh. Okay.
Josh: But it’s not aerial volume. They were like, there’s no way we are their bigger client. But because they are a Glitterex client, this antecedent had a aide who went to Glitterex for a accustomed supplier affair and they poked into it on our behalf.
Ben: Oh my God! We got addition on the inside! Josh, able-bodied done.
Josh: So my antecedent says that their aide did get acceptance from addition at Glitterex that the bigger purchasers of Glitterex beam are baiter manufacturers.
Ben: Baiter manufacturers. Of course!
Amory: Boaty McBoatface!
Ben: Boaty McBoatface! For the aforementioned reason, right? For beam paint?
Josh: Beam paint. You can brainstorm that fishing boats, jet skis, all that blazon of stuff, are actual shiny.
Ben: Actual shiny. Delay delay delay — this brings up questions.
Ben: Why does the baiter industry affliction whether or not we apperceive it’s the baiter industry?
Josh: I don’t apperceive for sure, but my assumption is that it’s beneath that the baiter industry cares and it’s added that Glitterex aloof doesn’t appetite to go absolute their audience to any old being on the artery … any old podcast on the street.
Josh: I anticipate the abutting footfall is apparently aloof to alarm up as abounding baiter manufacturers as humanly possible.
Amory: Bring it on!
Ben: Alright, I adulation this. Let’s go acquisition some boat, some baiter people.
Amory: And we did! Or, rather, we tried.
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Ben: Eventually, we did acquisition addition who best up and would absolutely allocution to us.
Brannon Pittman: My name is Brannon Pittman. I’m a abstruse director, chemist, for a aggregation alleged HK Research Corporation who makes polyester gel coats for the abyssal and fiberglass, casting polymer industries.
Ben: What is gel coat?
Brannon: Anticipate of it like a acrylic almost. It was originally advised in the 50s to aloof assure the fiberglass from baptize and that array of thing.
Ben: And is it both now, is it corrective and protective?
Ben: Acquire you anytime affected gel coat?
Brannon: Affected it?
Brannon: Absolutely. Got some on my easily this morning.
Ben: What does it feel like?
Brannon: So in the aqueous anatomy it’s a adhesive acrylic about the bendability of a ketchup, if you will. In the convalescent form, it’s a adamantine shell-like accoutrement on the alfresco of fiberglass. I mean, you can tap it and it’s acutely hard.
Ben: What does it attending like? Is it sparkly or…
Brannon: Annihilation that you want. We accomplish solid colors and we additionally accomplish clears that they can mix altered things into to accord altered effects, whether it’s beam or an automotive metallic.
Amory: So baiter manufacturers are affairs this gel accoutrement actuality from Brannon’s company, HK Research, and bond it with beam they’ve bought anon from beam companies.
Ben: And, folks, these baiter companies are application a lot of glitter.
Brannon: I apperceive how abundant baiter manufacturers use, abnormally the bass baiter manufacturers. And aback I say I apperceive how abundant they use, I don’t apperceive the exact volumes, but I’ve been in their plants and I’ve apparent the drums of material. And compared to added uses of beam or greeting cards and Christmas ornaments and the corrective industry, the aggregate is way added that goes into a boat. So I acclimated to assignment for a bass baiter architect aback in the 90s and we bought it in 30-gallon drums, apparently 10 of those drums a week.
Amory: Woahhh. Okay.
Ben: 10 30-gallon drums of beam per week!
Ben: 300 gallons of beam every week, or 15,600 gallons every year, is actually affairs in bulk. And that could aloof be for one baiter company. Industry-wide, we’re talking glitter-palooza.
Amory: Alike Brannon’s aggregation buys beam for some of its gel accoutrement products.
Brannon: There’s two capital manufacturers of beam in the United States. One is alleged Glitterex. The added one is Meadowbrook Inventions.
Brannon: Glitterex. And we buy from their distributors.
Amory: Okay. And who’s the distributor?
Brannon: I accept their name is Polycryl. They’re alfresco of Memphis, Tennessee.
Ben: Brannon says about all the barter he deals with buy beam from Polycryl. And Polycryl gets its artefact from Gliterex.
Amory: Pewwww! You apperceive what that is?
Ben: Glitter, glitter, glitter, glitter, glitter.
Amory: Yes! That’s a beam bomb activity off appropriate now.
Ben: Yes! Yes!
Amory: Not bank sand, not aggressive technology, not band clubs — you know, I was actually acquisitive it was activity to be commodity else.
Ben: Like commodity added crazy? Me too. I was acquisitive it was activity to be in our food, maybe.
Amory: Ugh, why?
Ben: I don’t know. It’s aloof funny? But instead, it’s commodity mundane. So Amory, what acquire we learned?
Amory: We’ve abstruse that, yet again, sometimes the adventure is abundant added arresting than the destination. I mean, baiter paint?
Ben: Baiter Paint.
Amory: Baiter paint. Aloof aggravating it out. Accepting acclimated to it. Baiter paint.
Ben: Baiter paint.
Amory: Baiter paint.
Ben: The added you say it the weirder it gets! It gets added acceptable of an acknowledgment the added you say it.
Amory: Baiter paint.
Ben: Baiter Paint.
Amory: Baiter … you’re declared to say paint.
Ben: Paint. But we did breach it right? You gotta admit. Our email to Jeet. It’s activity to feel good. And afterwards all our work, if he sits bottomward aloft a abundance of beam with his dad, Babu, and they accept to the episode, I’d like to achievement they wouldn’t alike be mad at us.
Amory: Don’t ascendancy your animation on that one. One affair I did learn, though: beam is not good! Not acceptable for anybody. You can’t spell beam afterwards litter.
Ben: So true, grandma. Can you canyon the milk and cookies?
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Amory: Abiding thing.
Ben: By the way, we offered Glitterex the adventitious to affirm or abjure our findings. They beneath to comment.
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