Co-owners Jordan Brimacomb & Kelly Weisenborn (top)
At the recent National Tanning Expo in Nashville, TN I had the opportunity to meet a very enthusiastic new salon Co-owner, Kelly Weisenborn of Fairmont, WV who took the Sun is Life® Certification class. During our interview for this Salon of Distinction feature, I broached the topic of service diversification.
Tanning salons have been open to some unique ways to diversify their offerings. On the day we had our chat, The Sol Haven had partnered for an event with a local company that provides IV infusions – a service that has been around for a bit but is unfamiliar to many. Kelly invited RevIVU Health Spa to “set up shop” at the salon for a day to allow customers to ask questions and experience the program. Based locally in Bridgeport, WV RevIVU offers treatments and infusions delivered intravenously that have benefits for immunity, hydration, energy and detox (among others) and one called “Myers Cocktail” which contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – a concoction created to address many ailments. With her nursing background, Kelly sees this health and beauty service as an exciting possibility. Let’s dig in!
IST: Kelly, let’s begin with the basics. Many owners get their start in the tan biz by purchasing a facility where they were once a customer. How did you and Jordan get your start?
KW: You nailed it! Our entire family tanned in the salon previously known as Lion In The Sun. As the former owners announced their retirement, my sister Jordan saw an opportunity to continue a business that plays a large part in our small community. After our parents passed away, we knew that we wanted to pursue an investment together in some way. After the first conversation with the previous salon owners, we all agreed that it was meant to be. From a mother-daughter duo to a “sister act” – we cannot wait to continue this business’s legacy in our hometown.
IST: Your salon is fairly close to Fairmont State and West Virginia University. What is the demographic makeup of your clientele? I’d suspect young college women represent the majority, yes?
KW: Surprisingly, that is a smaller percentage of our current clientele. The largest demographic is currently held by our locals – mothers, daughters, fathers and even sons who come to tan with us … hopefully year after year! Our biggest goal in the coming year is to continue to grow with the younger population at our local universities. We would love to create some partnership opportunities in the future.
IST: Interesting. I would not have thought that, but it sure leaves you room to grow. Let’s move on. The Sun is Life course covers salon sanitization in depth. How would you describe your salon cleaning standards?
(L-R) Team Sol Haven includes David, Jordan, Julia, Kelly and Courtney.
KW: We truly pride ourselves on the integrity of our team when it comes to day-in/day-out cleanliness. Attention to detail is critical to us and we are very fortunate to all be on the same page with this. We take time out of each part of the day to ensure that our guests are getting the best and cleanest experience possible. From folding each towel in our unique way, to daily maintenance of each piece of equipment – no task that helps us make a difference is too small. When it comes to cleanliness in our salons, it is truly a competition between all of us as to who is more “OCD.”
IST: As you passed the Sun is Life class with flying colors, you received your Sun Is Life Graduate Certificate which I trust is now framed on your wall! What insights can you share about the class itself, the training you received and the importance of salon operator certification?
KW: For Jordan and me, training is a key component to this new journey we are on – from cleaning protocols, to basic understanding of how the skin tans, to proper equipment maintenance. We took so much away from this education program! We are committed to soaking up as much knowledge as we can to ensure that we can continue educating our team and our guests on a variety of platforms. Knowledge is power!
IST: Salon operations were also covered in the SIL training, including how to handle the unruly or dissatisfied salon guest. Give our readers an example of an unhappy tanner (no names, please!) and how you resolved the situation.
KW: In our first few months of operation, we have truly been fortunate to have encountered no issues we felt we couldn’t handle. In our books, it’s all about communication. We take the time to understand what our guest feels the issue is, and we work together to find a solution. Our tanners have provided us with an overall understanding that we are in uncharted territory right now, and we will continue to do our best to grow this amazing business and provide all that they are looking for.
IST: Well, certainly communication that focuses on listening is key to problem resolution. Time for the wrap-up. What are the 3-5 year goals for The Sol Haven?
KW: We have so many amazing goals for the next few years, we can’t spoil all the fun by telling everyone ahead of time! But, in the next year, we plan to expand our service menu into the wellness world. We are currently working with our distributor (Heartland Tanning) as well as a few other companies to bring in new equipment as early as March 2023. The best way to keep up with us is on Facebook. We like to post “behind the scenes” and teasers as to what we are currently doing, as well as what is coming next!
Kelly, I truly enjoyed our interview and wish you and Jordan all the best!
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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