For years, ist Magazine has highlighted the efforts of hard-working salon owners across the country; but, there’s more than one way to get a tan. Currently, there are many “sunless-only” salons whose owners are doing their part to help keep America bronzed and beautiful. In this occasional series, we endeavor to see how “the other half” lives… and goes about the business of delivering tanned skin to those who seek it.
After working at a tanning salon in Panama City, FL for four years, Melissa Drees returned to Louisville, KY to be close to her family. Not wanting to let her spray-tanning skills go to waste, she opened SunSpray Airbrush Tanning as a mobile spray-tanning business. “When a client came to my house at midnight for a spray-tan, I realized I needed to have a salon!” she said. Today, Melissa uses both referral and loyalty programs to build her client base; she also incorporates a unique social media marketing strategy to attract new tanners. “We encourage our clients to take a picture of themselves with their tan, post it on their Facebook page and tag us in it,” she said. “This continues to be a great way to increase awareness of SunSpray with people who aren’t clients yet. One of our tanners recently did this on a Thursday afternoon and we booked 30 new clients that day!”
Melissa’s plans for the future of SunSpray Airbrush Tanning are big … really big. “My dream is to find a larger facility with room for UV tanning units,” she said. “We get a lot of calls asking if we offer UV tanning, so I would like to provide that option, as well. It would definitely give us some excellent opportunities to market a ‘tanning cocktail’ – a back-to-back spray-tan and UV session for a special price – and I see this all coming together in the next five years, or so.”
Thanks for taking the time to meet Melissa Drees. In the months to come, we’ll introduce many more sunless-only entrepreneurs and highlight their unique takes on the tanning biz. After all, we’re all in this together!
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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