The toughest economy we’ve experienced in decades, politicians interfering in matters they shouldn’t be, rife banking and corporate corruption and youth riots on our streets. These are just a few of the issues we Brits have had to contend with during the past year, plus for those of us in tanning, trying to run a business in an industry that is constantly under scrutiny and attack. So why, you may ask, am I just so proud to be British?
Well, during those same 12 months, we have also had many wonderful opportunities to celebrate: a Royal wedding, our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and, of course, the Olympic and Paralympic Games. To my mind, these events have showcased to the world on so many levels, what is just so great about Britain. The “feel good” factor generated on the backs of these major events has created such a swell of national pride that for the first time in a long time, I can honestly say I am truly proud to be British.
Feeling good about life is something we all aspire to & once we have it, we want to hold onto it.
Over the course of a number of years, our Union flag had become associated with extremism, used by the far right as a symbol to represent their warped interpretation of “Britishness”. Well, no longer, my friends! In the space of just a few months, we have rightly re-taken ownership of our national flag as a symbol of pride. The retail industry, for one, will truly have benefitted from this wave of patriotism as the shelves and rails have been filled with everything from mugs to ball gowns all sporting the Union flag. I would hazard a guess that if not every individual, then most households will now own something with a Union flag on it.
It’s really quite amazing to see how attitudes have changed in the space of just a few months. And borne of these events is a cheerful optimism about the future. Surely, this can only be a good thing from a neighbourly and community level through to the business and even political levels. As such, we all need to do what we can, indeed, must do to keep this long overdue wave of success ebbing and flowing.
It’s a fact of life that success, generally, breeds success. And who would have anticipated that the recent Olympic Games would have a positive impact on the tanning industry. Well, it certainly appears to have done so on more than one front. Firstly, the appetite for all things “Olympics” resulted in an ill-timed (from the author’s perspective) launch of a negative story attempting to link melanoma with tanning beds, achieving about zero coverage. (Ordinarily, this would have secured many column inches and countless demands for me and my colleagues to try and defend our industry on TV and radio).
Secondly, the uber-healthy Olympic athletes who all sported toned and tanned bodies have inspired a nation of wannabes into the gyms and salons and, finally, for those who traded in their holidays for two weeks of being glued in front of their TV sets watching sport from dawn ‘til dusk, they now crave some sunshine and as our weather simply doesn’t deliver, it’s off to the tanning beds they go!
Feeling good about life is something we all aspire to and once we have it, we want to hold onto it. Is it really any wonder that the nation’s desire to hang onto the feel good factor generated by such events as the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics is seeing people turning and returning to what they know best? I don’t think it’s any coincidence that salon operators are telling me how busy they are at the moment – so here’s three cheers and long may it last!
In the tanning industry since 1982, Gary is Managing Director of the UK subsidiary of Ergoline, and runs Ergoline Plus, the exclusive distributor for a wide range of sunless products and spray systems. He is also Chairman of the Media Committee for the UK’s Sunbed Association & a European Sunlight Association member.
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