Opened nearly six years ago by a mother-daughter team, Tanlines Salon has evolved into a Springfield, OH business success story.
After being her own boss for more than 20 years, Lisa Markel seized the opportunity to do it again when she opened Tanlines Salon. She purchased the business from its former owner, and not only remodeled and expanded it, but also created a career opportunity for her daughter, Kylie Bumgarner. Together, they’ve made Tanlines a success by offering three levels of tanning, assorted spa services and a staff that’s friendly, knowledgeable and ready to help their clients. As Lisa plans for more improvements to better serve her clientele, business is booming at the small salon.
“Guess What, Mom?”
There was a time in Lisa Markel’s life when she thought that she’d teach dance until her retirement. While this didn’t happen, she did make dance her career for 24 years, until a broken foot and other injuries caused her to reevaluate her plans. “I had finally decided to give up my career as a dance instructor and took a job as the manager of a large hair salon,” said Lisa. “One day, my daughter came home and told me that a friend was moving away, and her parents would have to sell their tanning salon. This got me thinking about buying the business, so I decided to give the owner a call.” After agreeing upon a price, Lisa reached out to her family to help raise the capital needed to buy the small business, which she did on November 1, 2006.
The Fun Begins!
Once she took ownership of Tanlines Salon, Lisa had her work cut out for her. “It was a good little salon, but it definitely needed some cleaning and remodeling, especially if I was going to be happy owning and operating it,” she said. “With the help of my family, we begin the remodeling process while we remained open, and it took us about four months to finish. When we were done, the salon was definitely much improved, and we even added many new tanning units and a few spa services.” These days, the staff at Tanlines serves between 200-230 tanners each day during peak season, which pleases both Lisa and Kylie, the salon’s manager.
Tanlines’ modern décor features lime green and gray walls, a cherry-tone hardwood floor and uniquely-decorated tanning rooms. The salon features 10 UV tanning units – three SunDash 332 Pro 1 sunbeds, three SunDash 332, two SunDash Competition 226, a SunDash Radius 252 booth and one uwe Silver Bullet – and a Norvell Skin Solutions Z3000 airbrush system. Operated with TanTrack software, the salon sells lotions by Australian Gold, Designer Skin, Devoted Creations, Ed Hardy Tanning and Supre Tan, and also offers Twilight Teeth teeth-whitening products.
Super Sales Skills
Lisa and Kylie have discovered a fundamental truth about the retail side of salon ownership – the better trained her staff, the better salespeople they become. Recommending the right tanning product for each client’s needs is part of Lisa’s overall plan to keep her tanners happy, and her monthly sales meetings help further that goal. “We hold monthly meetings on Sundays, after we close, and one thing we always focus on is retail sales,” Lisa explained. “To teach them how to handle different customers and situations, I have our staff do improvisations with all types of sales questions, and it’s definitely helped. After all, they can’t sell the products if they don’t know what they’re selling and how to sell it!”
Lisa recently added Norvell’s Z3000 spray-tanning system to her menu, and says it’s become a big hit with her clients. While the service initially appealed to “event tanners” – people who want a quick, sunless tan for a wedding, graduation or other special occasion – she’s found a way to convert many of those folks into regulars. “One of our most successful promotions has been the ‘Spray-Tan Tuesday’, when we offer $10 off the regular airbrush session,” she said. “Many clients who came in for a one-time tan loved the results they got, so they’re now coming back every Tuesday for a spray-tan or touch-up. Now, we’re easily doing 10-12 spray-tans each Tuesday, while most other days, we usually do four or five.”
This November, Lisa will celebrate her sixth successful year as a tanning salon owner, and she’s planning for the years ahead to be even better. “I would like to replace a couple of our older UV units with some newer equipment,” she said. “I’m sure that many of our tanners will be eager to try them, and will be excited by the results they develop. We also have one empty room and I’m leaning toward adding red-light therapy or body wraps. Our clients love that we offer teeth-whitening and custom airbrushing, so we believe that another spa-type service is the way to go.”
Lisa Markel opened Tanlines Salon to be her own boss, yet she discovered so much more to enjoy. “In the course of doing business, I’ve developed solid relationships with many of our clients,” she said. “We also follow each other on Facebook and Twitter so we know what’s going on in each other’s lives, and all this combines to create a family atmosphere. I love it!”
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."
Copyright 2020 ist Magazine