The recent FS Expo held in St. Louis, MO and hosted by Four Seasons Sales & Service was likely the best tanning trade show I’ve attended. Not only were the presentations educational, the positive energy of the salon operators and their staff was amazing. I very quickly noticed a trend, in that I heard the same comments and was asked the same questions over and over again.
Not only during the Sun is Life Certification class, but also during my time at the Sun is Life exhibit booth, the salon pros in attendance at the FS Expo repeatedly asked me about the relationship between vitamin D and tanning, and its role in our industry. The recurring question was “Why did people in our industry ask salon operators to promote vitamin D if it just gets us into trouble with the Feds?” This is a good question.
It was encouraging to hear that these folks on the front lines in tanning facilities have recognized that making claims about health benefits of vitamin D has been damaging to tanning businesses across the country. My response was simple: We’ve done the WRONG thing. Repeatedly, the salon operators I spoke to acknowledge the effects of being kept in the media spotlight, under the regulatory microscope and in the cross hairs of politicians. Yes, it’s an unfortunate situation. Yes it is happening. Yes, it has hurt us. Yes, it was definitely because some of us have followed the wrong road.
That being said, other questions I was asked were along this line: “What do we do now to recover?” My response: “Times are changing. We can no longer rely on ‘fluffy’ advertising campaigns that promote health claims. To survive, we have to elevate our level of professionalism and communicate it to the public.”
Next month, ist Magazine will examine the history and impact of the negative attention our industry has endured, what we did wrong and how to overcome it. The only way to change the future is to take a hard look at the past and not continue making the same mistakes.
joined Sun is Life in January, 2013. As the educational program’s director, Brown brought a vast wealth of academic, industrial and political experience to his position. His goal was to help spread the program’s message of moderate tanning and salon operator professionalism, a standpoint that he – like ist Magazine – believes the indoor tanning industry must embrace in order to remain strong.
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