Teresa, how did you get your start in the industry?
My father, Bill Ledford, wanted to open a family business – it started as a video store with two Suntana Wolff System sunbeds – some salon operators out there will remember them! We did very well with that, and in 1986, we moved into a 1,200 square-foot location in a new shopping center. We maxed out with 12 Sun Industries Sundash 20-minute units. In 1997, a bigger space came available in the same center, so we moved again and quickly maxed out that location with 18 units. As we grew, so did the industry; with newer, stronger lamps that provided shorter tanning times. So, the journey began to get rid of the old and go with the new. In 2002, we installed two Ergoline Avantgarde 600s, and an Ergoline Classic 650. We simply kept replacing and adding the new higher-end units. In 2011, we added another 1,600 square feet and 12 more high-end Ergoline units. But, the jewel arrived in 2009: our first Ergoline Sun Angel! Joe, as you remember, you came to our salon to do our training on it. Our tanners love this bed so much, that I now have three. As for our start, we had a concrete floor! Daddy built up from there and has provided all of our build-outs, except the electrical work.
(L-R) TANNING CONSULTANT HANNAH MEADOWS & CO-OWNER TERESA LEDFORD
You just completed Sun is Life® Salon Operator Training. How important is having a trained staff?
When we first began, there was no training other than from the manufacturer of equipment we purchased, and no valuable tradeshows to speak of. It was all “self-taught” on lotions and skin care products. As training became available, I knew that in order for our business to succeed, we had to be trained. Through the years, with the FDA, state and local regulations, you really have to be on top of it. Owners need to soak up all of the education and advanced training that is available, and then, properly train their tanning consultants. Training is absolutely vital to salons and to this industry!
What would say has been your biggest obstacle to overcome?
Losing my mother nine years ago was hard – she was a big part of this business. We are a true “mom & pop” salon, which I’m very proud of. Her unexpected death also affected a few of our dear friends in this industry.
LE’TAN FOUNDER BILL LEDFORD & GAVIN BROWN OF FOREVER TAN
A 26-year industry veteran, Joe has taught certified salon operator training for the last 15 years, as well as advocating indoor tanning in many capacities. Joe is a sought-after speaker and presenter at both national & regional trade events, also interacting with the FDA, state & local regulatory agencies. During his most recent tenure with the ITA, he served as director of membership.
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