By Tara Sanders, Touchable Tan
As of late, I am seeing more and more tanning salons in despair about sales and client numbers dropping. Though this is a never ending battle for all of us, there are affordable and creative ways to put your salon back on top in your town! My salon’s most effective strategy for staying popular is the way we work the community and surrounding areas.
I make it a point to always stay very involves and active in the local schools. By sponsoring or donating to school events or teacher appreciation week, we have maintained a large, loyal group of the schools’ staff members as yearlong clients. In addition, our spray tan sales have boosted by providing sunless tans to sports and dance teams. This past year alone, we have more than tripled our spray tan numbers because of our presence in the schools.
But the best thing I have ever done for my tanning salon has been to purchase a booth in the local festivals and craft shows. I started with a small booth in our local school’s yearly two-day festival in 2013. We broke even for that festival the first year after expenses, but within the following two weeks we had signed up eight, new clients from that festival. I was hooked! We have gotten better and better each year. Now our booth is located in the best spot of the festival. We have grown into two booths, and our profit is three times what our expenses are. We donate a basket of tanning lotions and other goodies to the festival’s live auction and that always gets great feedback. Best of all, I continue to see the new client numbers rising every year after these events.
But not all festivals are a hit. A church in our town tried starting a festival once. I got a small booth in it to try it out. It was a total flop. We were in the negative after it was over. Granted, there were a number of negative factors, but the key thing is that I didn’t give up. I simply learned from my lesson and didn’t do that particular event again. You won’t know what events are right for your business unless you try.
The biggest event in our parish is the Antique Village Arts and Crafts Festival. This event is held twice a year, once in the fall and again in the spring. This event has always attracted hundreds of people. It actually has a waiting list for vendors. After waiting for over a year, I finally got a booth in the 2015 fall festival and it was amazing. We profited over $1,000! All we did was bring a bunch of the merchandise that we have for sale every day in the tanning salon. The difference is that we were being seen by a whole new crowd of people who never would have thought to check us out before. We sold our WoodWick candles like crazy, fashion tote bags, bath bombs, beach gear and tanning shirts. It’s all about putting yourself out there and being seen.
Another great outcome from the event was the connections I made with other small businesses and local officials. These things can’t be taken for granted. It is crucial to make friends with your fellow business owners and stay in touch. You never know when you can help one another out and it benefit the both of you. For example, two to three other businesses and I are working on teaming up to offer a monthly basket giveaway. Each of us will donate something that represents our store to go into the basket that is being given away. Each month, the basket giveaway will be held at a different location. One month I’ll give it away at my salon, and the next month it will be given away at one of the other stores. This way it helps to cross promote our business and potentially trade clientele between one another. To best advertise your business and garner success, it’s crucial that you make connections and work the community.
Tara Sanders began operating her first indoor tanning salon at the age of 22. She currently operates Touchable Tan in Denham Springs, Louisiana. Tara is always searching for the latest information and leading research in the tanning industry.