Wow! Another year bites the dust! Is it cliché to say that “every year seems to go by faster than the last”? Well, whether it is or not, that’s exactly how I feel about 2013. Just where did the last 12 months go? A definite cliché is “time goes fast when you’re having fun!” and certainly from pretty much every perspective, 2013 was better than 2012 – and 2012 in the UK was a top-notch year!
Highlights of 2013 for me were many, both on a professional and on a personal level. Working in the tanning industry guarantees one thing, there is never a dull moment – and on that front, 2013 certainly didn’t disappoint.
We have slowly started to emerge, bruised but not broken, from a gut-wrenching recession that, unfortunately, saw many businesses go to the wall. The green shoots of recovery appear to have firmly taken root and the buzz in the salons has shifted from one of nervous despondency to one of quiet but bubbly optimism. Fueled by positive fiscal forecasts and increasing consumer spending, optimism has been further buoyed by the launch of some truly exciting and innovative products across all areas of our industry. Smart salon operators have been enticing customers and increasing salon footfall with a display of all that is new and exciting, and there are plenty of examples of where that investment has already started to pay dividends.
Whilst our “friends” in the media haven’t shown many signs of making progress in 2013, in so far as wanting to listen to the truth about sensible UV exposure, great strides have been taken by many local authorities and lobbying groups regarding consumer safety and maximum UV emission levels for tanning beds. For the UK, as indeed for the whole of Europe, this is, in my opinion, essential progress to securing the future success of the indoor tanning industry.
In review, there have been more than just economic green shoots in the last 12 months. A number of prominent industry issues are gaining positive momentum and there appears to be, to a greater extent than previously, a willingness from all parties to come to the table for full and frank discussion. This is progress. Surprisingly, on occasions there is more common ground than might have been expected, and this augurs well for finding a way forward to take the “sensationalism” out of the concept of responsible indoor tanning. I think on this front alone, 2014 will prove to be very interesting!
So let’s move on to my personal highlight of the year. In November, I completed my final six-day grueling, and at times dangerous, trek across a desert, in aid of an amazing charity called One to One, which supports families, and children in particular, who are in real need. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my U.S. tanning industry friends and colleagues who very kindly supported me with their generous donations and encouraging words. It means a lot; thank you.
Finally, Happy New Year to you all and here’s to a spectacular 2014 in every regard!
In the tanning industry since 1982, Gary is Managing Director of the UK subsidiary of Ergoline, and runs Ergoline Plus, the exclusive distributor for a wide range of sunless products and spray systems. He is also Chairman of the Media Committee for the UK’s Sunbed Association & a European Sunlight Association member.
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