Our Salon of Distinction subjects are selected from a mix of salons with staff who have passed the Sun is Life® Training & Certification program either online, or the classroom version at an industry event. It’s always enjoyable for me to interview folks I have trained in the face-to-face format. Since joining the tanning industry as salon operators just a couple of years ago, Snoop Harris and Christine Walz have attended several industry events. I got to meet them in Missouri when they took advantage of the classroom session offered earlier this year at a Heartland Tanning expo. They have a hearty appetite for training and knowledge about the business they love. Here’s the “scoop” from Snoop (and Christine!)
IST: How did you get started in the tan biz?
SH: We were tanners at the salon and Christine always told Tammy (the previous owner) that if she was ever ready to sell the business, we would buy it. Well, she did and in February 2020, WE DID!
IST: The COVID pandemic certainly impacted many small businesses. How did you survive that challenge?
SH: Having just purchased the salon when COVID hit, we really just barely survived it. However, our local Chamber of Commerce helped us out a ton and then, we pushed back against the new health department COVID regulations to be able to be open for business.
IST: Has your salon sanitizing protocol changed? If so, how?
SH: Really, it didn’t change too much as we were already doing a high level of sanitizing to our beds, the rooms and the entire salon.
IST: Snoop, you and Christine completed the classroom version of our Sun is Life Training & Certification program. What insights did you gain? How important is it to have your staff fully trained with Sun is Life?
SH: Joe, the Sun Is Life course was amazing and very much needed for Christine and me. We have learned so much about the business – from daily operations to tanning regulations – and we highly recommend the program. You made the class really enjoyable and our team is much more informed about the business and how to assist the customers in a professional manner.
IST: You have a really nice social media page highlighting your services. Do you plan to add to your menu? What are your goals for Desert Tan in the next 1-3 years?
SH: We plan to pursue more growth as we work to move forward in this post-COVID economic environment. Currently, we offer tanning (UV & spray) services exclusively, as well as lotions and apparel. However, we intend to diversify by offering teeth-whitening and will consider adding additional services later this year. We believe that offering more gives us an opportunity to be a “one-stop shop.” Customers appreciate that, especially considering the price at the pump these days!
Team Desert Tan includes (L-R) Brooke, Jerzie, Christine, Madie, Jordanne, Kelsey
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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