This month’s Salon of Distinction subject is a relatively new business owner, with just over a year under her belt. With that said, Cabana Salon Owner Erin Edwards hit the ground running and has her future business goals in sight. Let’s find out more about this Chicago tanning facility.
IST: How did you get started in the tanning business?
EE: I developed an obsession for tanning at a very young age. Cabana Salon was always the staple salon in my neighborhood where I spent a great deal of time. The 10-15 minute UV sessions became more than just an upkeep for me. I took the time to familiarize myself with all aspects of the business, such as the bed levels and tan-enhancing products. After years of tanning and learning about the industry, it became a dream of mine to one day own this tanning salon. In September of 2022, my dream became a reality!
IST: What challenges have you faced as a salon owner? How did you overcome them?
EE: Being a first-time business owner was my greatest challenge. Learning the tanning industry regulations, daily operations, salon software, retail inventory, equipment maintenance and sanitation procedures required much research and dedication. Fortunately, two staff members (Ali and Liz) also helped in overcoming my challenges. They’ve worked at Cabana Salon for many years and provided insight on daily operations. I am forever appreciative for their knowledge, dedication and loyalty.
In the next 1-3 years, I hope to expand Cabana Salon into a full-service wellness facility.”
Erin Edwards, Owner
IST: What do you feel sets you apart from your competitors?
EE: Unlike our chain facility competitors in Chicago, Cabana Salon is a family-owned-and-operated business. We’re extremely close with our community and prioritize building connections with each guest to provide an elevated tanning experience. Offering an immaculately clean salon is one of our top priorities that keep customers coming back. The addition of the VersaSpa spray booth provides customers privacy that many competitors are unable to offer with airbrush tanning.
IST: How would you describe the atmosphere at Cabana Salon?
EE: We offer a sparkling clean, cozy and friendly atmosphere. Our staff demonstrates professionalism while deepening relationships with new and existing guests. From day one, I had a vision of how I could make the salon more modern and welcoming. I repainted, purchased new furniture/décor, and updated all tanning rooms and the waiting area. I strive to offer an at-home feeling, just as Cabana Salon once provided me as a customer. Receiving positive customer feedback has given me a sense of accomplishment.
IST: What are your business goals for the next 1-3 years?
EE: I hope to expand Cabana Salon into a full-service wellness facility. This would include offering the newest LED UV systems and red-light therapy sessions. I would also incorporate the VersaSpa WellFit™ skincare solutions to provide our guests with a whole-body-enhancing treatment.
IST: What was your biggest takeaway from the Sun is Life® Salon Operator Training?
EE: The biggest takeaway was learning how to be successful and create an ever-growing business in the tanning industry. Being knowledgeable and providing factual information (understanding of UV light, skin-typing, federal and state regulations, equipment and products) will set your business apart in this industry. My staff has a new level of professionalism, knowledge and confidence when assisting our guests. I am extremely grateful for Sun is Life Salon Operator Training!
Since 1997, IST Magazine (formerly known as Island Sun Times) has been committed to the success of salon professionals, while promoting the growth of the tanning industry as a whole.
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