This month’s Salon of Distinction subject is getting ready to celebrate one year in business next month. IST talked with young salon co-owner Brandi Hampton about her tan biz journey thus far, and her plans going forward.
IST: How did you get started in the tanning business?
BC: When I was 19, I started working at another tanning salon in the area and they told me I “wasn’t good enough to work in a tanning salon.” (Keep in mind I had left a job at the local hospital working as a CNA taking great care of patients.) How can you not be good enough to work in a tanning salon? When the salon I now own became available for purchase, I jumped right on it! I’m one to never let people tell me I can’t do something, so I was ready to show up and show out! I bought The Bronzing Beauty in August of 2022 after just turning 20 years old.
IST: What challenges have you faced as a salon owner?
BC: The first significant challenge was the remodeling of the space – it was very outdated and dirty. The previous owner smoked in the store, so we also had to get all the “smoke smell” out. We spent about $20,000 on renovations just painting, adding lights, new flooring, repairing bathrooms, etc. We also had to take all the tanning beds apart, clean them and replace all the lamps. I have had many days when I just want to give up, because I feel like it’s never-ending remodeling; but I have a vision of what I want and I will get there.
IST: What do you feel sets your salon apart from your competitors?
BC: A few things we’re proud of include our great customer service, Beauty Bar, updated décor and just the welcoming environment we create. Customer service is big at our salon and we always want our guests to be 100% satisfied with everything. Our Beauty Bar offers spray deodorant, makeup-remover wipes, dry shampoo, perfume/cologne, tan-extending lotion and gloves for applying bronzer lotion. Most salons do not offer these amenities. We also have a nice guest waiting area with a mini-fridge with refreshments. Each room is furnished with a table with a plant, a jewelry holder, baby wipes, a cute sign, a rug, full-length mirror, a chair and a hook for clothing! Our guests appreciate all these special touches.
IST: How would you describe the atmosphere at your salon?
BC: The atmosphere is very welcoming and relaxing. I chose a more mid-century modern theme, rather than the tropical beach décor most salons have. We have a lot of green plants, which everyone loves!
IST: What was your biggest takeaway from the Sun is Life® Salon Operator Training?
BC: The program has so much great information, but I would say the most significant takeaways would definitely be the knowledge our staff now has for accurately and confidently explaining to our guests the differences in UVA/UVB rays, how the different types of lotion formulas work and which one is appropriate for a guest’s tanning goals, and how to identify skin types so that our session times are correct for each individual tanner.
IST: What are your goals for The Bronzing Beauty in the next 1-3 years?
BC: The goal for this year is to get one more newer bed and keep increasing our clientele. In 2024, I am hoping to get several newer beds and add another stand-up system to the service menu. We also want to open a second salon in a neighboring county!
Brandi, thanks for choosing Sun is Life Salon Operator Training and for taking the time to share your story. All the best!
As ist Magazine’s managing editor, Sherron edits all articles written by staff writers and the publication’s illustrious group of editorial contributors, as well as writing occasional content. She has been with the magazine since its inception in 1997.
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