I can’t believe that by the time you read this it will be August, and summer’s nearly over! I hope you’ve been able to take some time for R & R.
When I first got into the tan biz over three decades ago, Memorial Day signaled the end of busy season and brought a sharp decline in tanners. Today, the season starts for most in early November and doesn’t begin to taper off until after July 4th. Even then, my salon chain remains busy through the summer and only in the months of September and October do we see significant decline in tanner traffic. So much has changed in 30 years!
As I travel the country talking to salon operators and visiting their facilities, it’s exciting to see that most have upgraded equipment, professionally trained staff, and make me proud to be in this business. I believe that our industry has reached a level of maturity that will sustain us, and that our services can be considered a trade. On that note, I’m very proud that our Sun is Life® program has met the criteria for licensing as a trade school in the state of Michigan … something that our industry has needed for a long time.
Our industry has matured, and our customers, the media and governmental bodies expect our business to be conducted in a professional manner. So, if you are not investing in your trade by upgrading your equipment, your décor and your staff’s level of professionalism, then you’re not representing the industry in a way that will foster continued growth.
As IST has grown, we’ve created close relationships with thousands of loyal readers. The staff and I receive several hundred emails weekly from salons coast-to-coast, several from Europe and beyond. Those relationships, along with several hundred-salon companies gladly sharing their financial data, allow us to keep you posted on the economic state of our industry. With their input, I can tell you that the season started (November – March) at a slow pace, with most salons reporting a downward trend of 8-12% in service sales and 4-10% in tanner traffic; however, salons are reporting that both improved significantly for April-June, with the majority up anywhere from 2-7% compared to 2012. For most salons reporting, product sales were flat or trending downward; however, those numbers seemed to follow their service sales with product totals moving up in April and going forward. If you’d like to be part of the select group of salon operators willing to share their info on a macro level, please email email@example.com.
You should be aware by now that in early May, the FDA issued an Administrative Order to reclassify ultraviolet lamps for tanning to a Class II medical device. If this order is approved, it could have a significant negative impact on your business. The ITA is planning a comprehensive response; but their efforts cost money; a good reason why you should support the ITA. For more info, see “ITA Update” on pg. 32.
As always, this issue is packed full of articles to help you grow your business. Ribby did a nice “Industry Close-up” on Heidi Palmer from Ultraviolet Resources International: you only find these stories in IST. I also have to mention all the content provided by our contributing writers. My staff and I are honored to have the support of these outstanding individuals who are vested in our industry and dedicated to its survival. They take time each month to offer their expertise and are part of the reason IST Magazine continues to be No. 1.
Of course, we’ve got big coverage of the 6th Annual West Coast Tanning Expo which I attended with Team IST and Sun is Life®. It was a great show – certainly securing its place as our industry’s premiere event.
Speaking of events – if you want to know where the successful salon pros will be on October 11-15, the answer is St. Louis, MO – the FS Expo 2013 is expected to take tanning trade events to another level! It will definitely be this fall’s “can’t miss” event for those who want to receive professional training, benefit from quality networking and be ready for a profitable season.
Hope you’ve enjoyed your summer!
is the Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of ist Magazine.
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