Tanning businesses span from coast to coast, in the biggest cities and the smallest towns, serving not just as providers of valuable services, but also as centers for self-care, confidence, and connection. In communities around the country, that experience is driven by a predominantly female workforce. The American Suntanning Association estimates that 70 percent of tanning business are female-owned, and there are currently about 54,000 U.S tanning retail workers, 95 percent of whom are women.
Every day, tens of thousands of women from all walks of life bring these businesses to life with their diverse perspectives, personalities, and abilities.
That’s the story Velvet Evans wants to tell. Rather than talk about herself, she wants to put the focus on the more than 100 women who, over the years, have helped her make Sun Dazed Tanning what it is today.
“The staff is the heartbeat of our business. Not a day goes by that we don’t get a compliment on how knowledgeable, courteous, friendly, and welcoming our girls are,” Velvet says.
Part of the story is about how important Velvet’s staff members are to her and her business. The other side is about how much she values being in a position to play a role in the personal and professional development of so many local women, some of whom are now becoming pillars of the community in their own rights.
Tanning businesses can stand as beacons of opportunity, offering valuable job prospects that have a profound impact on the lives of women. Moreover, the flexibility they often offer enables women to strike a harmonious work-life balance, empowering them to pursue personal goals while excelling in their roles within the business.
As Velvet puts it, “tanning is so much more than just a job.” For many of the women who have worked for her, and so many thousands of women around the country, tanning has provided a greater opportunity than they might have ever expected, in a variety of ways.
“Some of our employees come looking for a summer job or something to supplement some income, but they walk away with so much more. It can provide a place to escape the stresses of everyday life, and a place to learn all kinds of new skills, whether it be marketing or people and communication skills. For some women, it provides flexibility so they can finish their college classes or clinicals. We make sure we find a way to work around school schedules or other jobs so single moms trying to get back on their feet or young women trying to find their footing have the opportunity to do so here at Sun Dazed,” Velvet says.
“In the past 15 years, we have had so many amazing young women come through the doors of our salon. We’ve had women who have gone on to be entrepreneurs and start their own successful businesses. We’ve had young women who’ve gone on to be nurses, lab techs, law enforcement, supervisors, dental assistants, Watermelon Queens, and so much more. Almost all who have come through the doors of our salon have built lifelong friendships, something they may not have been expecting out of just a tanning salon job.”