It’s certainly not every day that you’ll have the opportunity to learn from somebody who has achieved as much success in tanning as Dennis Ligon. Over nearly 30 years in the industry, Dennis and his wife, Sue, have built a Virginia tanning empire of 21 Sundays Sun Spa locations where they’re proud to provide 200 employees with not just jobs but the opportunity to make careers.
Dennis has never been shy about discussing the approach that has helped the business reach this point. He’s been a fixture at industry events for years and has always been willing to participate in Smart Tan articles and other educational efforts. His involved suggests a true passion for the industry in which he’s gained so much. The tanning industry led him to connect with his wife, and it’s where he’s built a lasting legacy for his family and impacted so many others along the way
“When I met Sue, she was running a tanning salon, and I encouraged her to come to a tanning show in Nashville. That’s where we went on our first date, so our marriage can be connected to the tanning industry. Today, I have my daughter and son working in the business as well,” he says.
Dennis is grateful for other industry leaders who have shared valuable insight with him in the past and appreciates the opportunity to help support the long-term success of the industry as a whole. But, his willingness to share his knowledge even with potential direct competitors also speaks to his confidence and drive to keep moving his business forward. As much as he’s willing to help others, Dennis certainly isn’t planning to slow down and let anyone beat him at his own game.
“When you believe in yourself and are constantly innovating, it’s not hard to share what has worked up to that point. I know I still have to keep innovating,” Dennis says. “I’ve had so many other people share information with me with nothing to gain back, and I’ve found if you do that it helps the whole industry, and trust me, you want the whole industry to stay strong. I’ve taken ideas from the people I respect and have seen do far better than I’ve done. That’s what’s so great about this industry.”
Most recently, Dennis has been gracious enough to lend his expertise to this year’s Smart Tan Virtual Educational Conference, headlining a group of presenters who represent successful tanning businesses from around North America. There’s so much you can learn from somebody with the pedigree Dennis has in this industry, but one important lesson to start is just how much potential for success there really is in tanning today.