Eclipse Tanning represents one couple’s success at tanning salon operation the way it should be done – responsibly and professionally.
Ryan Stedem is a firefighter who had the perfect opportunity to become a tanning salon owner. “A friend of mine owned the salon where my wife, Becky, worked,” Ryan said. “He wanted to get out of the business and told us we would have the first opportunity to purchase it, if we were interested. We talked it over and agreed that it was a great idea.” The couple opened the salon in July 2012, renamed it Eclipse Tanning and immediately replaced the sunlamps in all the units. To refresh the salon’s interior décor, the couple chose cheerful, brightly-lit colors and some new shelves for displaying tanning products. “We thought we were ready for business,” Ryan added.
“Our first year in business started out well,” Ryan said, “but things got a little scary during the off-peak months. While it was good that Becky had experience working at the salon, there was still so much we didn’t know.” One of the biggest aspects of the Stedem’s learning curve, Ryan says, was encouraging former customers to give Eclipse a try. “We’ve done all sorts of marketing to generate word-of-mouth,” he added, “and our referral program has worked very well.” Eclipse tanners who successfully refer two new tanners receive half-off a month of tanning and a 15 percent discount on their next lotion purchase. This program and the Stedems’ other marketing and promotions efforts have helped build the salon’s reputation in and around Marshall.
Ryan and Becky recently earned Sun Is Life® certification, which they believe continues to help their business. “This is something we definitely needed,” he commented, “because we’ve had to learn all of this on our own. It taught us so many key things, such as the science of tanning and UV light and the art of selling lotions and so much more.” Ryan says one of the most important things he learned was the need to avoid making health claims when marketing his salon’s equipment and services. “We’re not doctors, so it’s not worth the possible negative effect on our business,” he said.
Looking forward, Ryan is all about continued improvement at Eclipse Tanning. He wants to earn sunless spray-tanning certification, since this service at his salon has been picking up lately. “We also love using Facebook to advertise our business because it helps us connect with many people in our area,” Ryan explained. “We post new specials each month and our clients love it because none of the previous owners did that. As our business continues to grow, we plan to upgrade our tanning units and one day, expand our business!”
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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