This month’s Salon of Distinction comes from America’s Heartland: North Dakota. I had the pleasure of meeting Christine Nelson at Heartland Tanning’s event last summer and again at the Four Seasons salon training class in Missouri last month. Hey, she’s all in on learning more about her business! I wanted to interview her before the snow and cold hits North Dakota, so read on!
IST: We always start from the beginning. How did you get started in the tan biz?
CN: I started tanning as a teenager. When you grow up in northeast Montana, you don’t always get time to work on that sunkissed look. The summers are short and winters are long and brutal, and when our tiny town got a tanning bed, it was great! Then, I moved to western Montana to attend cosmetology school and learned more about indoor UV and sunless tanning. I always knew I wanted to stay in the beauty industry and purchased my salon in August of 2019. Unbeknownst to me, we were headed right into the slow season! Then when the busy season hit, we went right into a COVID shutdown for seven weeks, which at the time, felt like seven years! But we got through it, and even did some remodeling and came out stronger.
IST: You just took the Sun is Life classroom training. How important is the training element to your salon?
CN: We take ALL the training we can find. The pandemic kept us mostly doing online learning. We love the Devoted Creations 5 Star Diamond training program. In June 2021, I was finally able to attend my first live session hosted by Heartland Tanning. It was super fun, I learned so much and I got to meet you! I was hooked on industry events and this October, I attended the super-informative retreat hosted by Four Seasons, in St. Charles, MO. I took the Sun is Life classroom training even though I had already taken it online. Online is good, but in person is SO much better! I learned so much great information, and came out of there really understanding many of the things that I questioned before. Eventually, I want all my staff to get Sun is Life certified!
IST: What is your most popular service package?
CN: We keep it simple and offer three different monthly unlimited packages and a point system for our seasonal tanners. These work really well, but we’re considering an EFT membership for the future.
IST: Tell me about your goals for 1-3 years.
CN: Well, as for now, I am out of room to expand my business! But a goal of mine is to open another salon, maybe even two more. We are proud to have recently won the award for Best Spa in our area. We have a lot of salons and spas in this area, so this really was a great honor! I am really proud of myself and my staff for making recognition like that possible. So, another goal is to continue earning that award!
IST: All the best to you and your team to make those goals happen!
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