Big things – such as increased sales of high-end lotions and combatting produce diversion on the Internet – can come in small packages.
Mike Blore, CEO of the California Sun chain, has come up with an ingenious way to sell more lotion at his salons. He created a sticker that offers a $10 discount on any lotion purchase, and it’s placed on every tanning product bottle sold in his stores. “This appeals to a very basic element of human nature – most of us spend beyond our means, and we’re more likely to make bigger purchases when there’s a discount involved,” said Mike. “This has done wonders for our lotion sales, and most of our tanners use the discount to purchase a higher-quality product.” Mike says it also works with California Sun’s $10 gift certificate offered to VIP club members. “In one month, fewer than two percent of our clients spent less than $10 while 18 percent spent $10-$20 and another 55 percent spent $30-$40,” he said. “The rest spent $40 or more.”
The discount stickers are California Sun’s way of fighting tanning product diversion on the Internet. “No matter how much we dislike it, it’s never going to go away because the majority of people who sell lotions on the Internet are salon owners,” Mike commented. “Although we can’t control it as a whole, we can educate our customers about why it’s not good to buy lotions from Internet sources.” The stickers feature the phrase, “Do not purchase from Internet, this product is NOT tamper resistant” in bright red ribbons, which opens the door for California Sun staff to educate their tanners. “Telling tanners that anyone can fill an empty bottle with anything and then sell it is usually enough to get them to think twice,” Mike said.
Mike says he’s happy to share his “discount sticker concept” with as many salon owners as he can in hopes that it will inspire them to do something similar. “It’s very easy,” he commented. “Our Media Director, Jeremy McCain, and I came up with the idea and it didn’t take long to design it. Many companies print custom-made stickers at low cost, so there’s not a huge investment involved.” Mike added that the stickers have helped brand his California Sun salon chain – he’s heard from at least one competitor that tanners have come to their salons with lotion bottles bearing his stickers.
After researching the tanning industry for two years, Mike Blore opened his first California Sun in 1993 in Rocklin, CA. “Between 1993 and 1997, we grew at a fairly steady rate of one to two stores per year,” he said. “In 1997, my advertising agency had also grown to the point where I was on the road too much, so I decided to sell that business to spend more time with my family and the salons. As a result, we’ve seen our biggest growth in 2000 and beyond.” Today, California Sun has 30 stores in and around Sacramento, with five more on the way.
“Our Media Director, Jeremy McCain, and I came up with the idea and it didn’t take long to design it. Many companies print custom-made stickers at low cost, so there’s not a huge investment involved.”
Mike Blore, CEO —California Sun Salons
A 14-year industry veteran, John "Ribby" Ribner has written hundreds of
articles for IST Magazine and, as Director of Editorial Content, has also
helped guide the publication's evolution. Ribby is a graduate of Central
Michigan University's journalism program and has brought many years of newspaper reporting experience to his position of Head Writer. He is also the author of three novels, "Legacy of the Bear," "Prophecy of the Bear" and "World So Dark."
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