Succeeding as a tanning salon in a sunny place like the beautiful SoCal area must be challenging! Salon of Distinction Owner Kandis Langdon chatted with IST about doing business through the pandemic, her plans for the future and of course, her experience with Sun is Life® Training & Certification. Read on!
KL: My background is in restaurant management, but the hours required of that job didn’t suit my life as a single mom. I thought operating a tanning salon would be a great fit for me, and it sure has been!
KL: Yes – tanning therapy is a REAL thing! Studio K customers make a choice to support my establishment. Everyone chooses how they spend their discretionary income and I just try to offer a place of normalcy where people feel comfortable in such uncertain times. Everyone seems to leave my salon in a much better mood than when they arrived and that’s a great feeling!
IST: You’ve taken Sun is Life Training and also make sure that your staff does. How important is it to have a fully trained staff?
KL: It’s extremely important, because in order to gain a guest’s trust, you need to have knowledge of the process and the business. Operating a salon without knowledge of the “why” behind a product or a certain level of tanning system does a disservice to not only our customers, but also the entire tanning industry. Taking the time to explain the science behind indoor tanning, how to tan responsibly and in moderation is so crucial to maintaining a professional reputation of our industry. I know that my guests feel more confident about indoor tanning when my staff and I can answer their questions factually and confidently.
IST: Many small businesses were impacted significantly by the tight COVID restrictions in California, tanning salons included. How did you survive the last year?
KL: Joe, it was a crazy time, for sure! I drove my golf cart around my community delivering sanitizers and bed cleaners (as they are a multi-purpose hospital grade disinfectant)! I was able to still get my hands on items that not everybody could, because the tanning industry was so on top of fulfilling the needs of salons for that stuff – it was great. Sometimes, my salon was the pick-up location for those items and it became another exposure opportunity for Studio K, that we exist and where we are located. I made the most of it and tried to have fun doing it. I’m still standing and have had my busiest year yet. So, I think I made the most of a really challenging time.
IST: What is the key to selling your products and services?
KL: Most people don’t like being “sold to” – I focus on being real. It sounds like a cliche, but that’s it. People want “realness” and that’s what I give them. But that also means having a strong knowledge base as I pointed out earlier. Thank you, Sun is Life Certification!
IST: What are your goals for the next 1-3 years?
KL: I plan to focus on being the best tanning option in my area and changing the way people view indoor tanning. The “look good, feel good” psychology of a moderate tan is really true. I see the way that people carry themselves more confidently when they have a nice tan. I think offering the professional indoor tanning option that minimizes the risk of overexposure and sunburn is so beneficial – so many more benefits than people realize. I really want to help people to see that tanning is more than just color!
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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