How would you improve the tanning industry? Two Sun Biz Weekly contributors share the 10 things we’d like to change about indoor tanning.

So, I was chatting with tanning salon owner and Sun Biz Weekly contributor Jasa Wolfrey. We eventually started talking about the things about this industry that we wished we could change. The more we went back and forth with this, the more I thought this would make a great Tanning Top 10 for this tanning business magazine. I mentioned this to Jasa and she promptly send me her top 10 tanning industry low points. This served as a catalyst for a few of my own, as well. What do you think, tanning salon owners and spray tan technicians?

Here are the 10 things that Jasa Wolfrey of 2Suns Salon & Wellness would like to change:

  1. This industry is world-wide, thus very difficult to compare salon client count, demographics, and prices. Because of our vastness, new tanning salon owners might feel lost, and many feel competition even within ourselves.
  2. When it was booming, I think the industry grew too fast and oversaturated the market. This problem caused many salons to close due to the decreasing demand.
  3. When it comes to online tanning lotion sales, it’s so hard to know who to trust. And when suggested to give away our only commodity (UV tanning) to sell a lotion, we devalue our own tanning salon, service, and future in business.
  4. I’m in it, I enjoy what I do and the results my clients gets, but I know I won’t survive on UV tanning alone.
  5. Private labeling can be expensive and a really long and confusing process. This can be intimidating to any tanning salon owner who doesn’t understand how the process works.
  6. The insurance companies, pharmaceutical corporations, and our own government seem as though they’re out to destroy the tanning industry.
  7. Gyms that offer tanning services for less than we do seem to be growing in numbers.
  8. Training and valuable information is not readily available or accessible. Only a few companies, such as tanning lotion manufacturers, have just started updating their educational programs.
  9. Equipment to have IN our salon, point-of-sale systems, and other added services tend to be more expensive than most aimed for spa services. For example, some new UV tanning beds can cost as much as a brand new car!
  10. Spray tan competition continues to grow.

Jasa brought up some great points. To piggyback off of her observations, here are 10 things about this industry that I’d like to change.

  1. The deeper you go down the indoor tanning rabbit hole, the more some people begin to seem like sleazy used car salesmen. Not a good look.
  2. Tanning professionals continue to support companies that don’t support them in return. When you continue to do business with these companies, there’s absolutely no reason for them to change their business practices.
  3. The existence of factions and cliques. Look, I realize there’s always going to be in-crowds. I only see a problem with these cabals when they exert their influence to the detriment of everyone not in the club.
  4. A real lack of leadership. At one time, we had two industry organizations. Now we have just one, but they don’t  use every industry platform to share information about what the group is doing. Hopefully, this situation changes in the future.
  5. Nothing is being done to “make tanning great again,” so to speak. Indoor tanning was huge in the 1980s and 1990s, but then things started to plummet after that. This industry has done nothing to market or promote tanning to the masses. As a result, we’ve become reliant upon Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, who are aging out of tanning. Where’s the consumer outreach, industry leaders?
  6. Every time I turn around, it seems like another tanning salon owner is closing up shop. This is sad, to say the least. I only hope that this industry has an influx of new people coming in to hang their shingles.
  7. Spray tan technicians still being treated like second-class citizens by UV tanning elitists. Really, guys? Really?
  8. Tanning salon owners who buy some type of spa service unit only to stick it in a back room to let it gather dust. Instead of complaining that these things “don’t earn revenue,” try marketing and promoting these services. Your tanners won’t try it if they don’t know it’s there!
  9. Tanning professionals who believe that word-of-mouth advertising is enough to build their business. Obviously these folks aren’t aware that a customers has to see/hear a marketing message five to seven times before they act on it. No matter how great your tanning business is, no one’s talking about it that much. All the more reason to step up your marketing, advertising, and promotions game. Time to loosen the purse strings, Scrooge!
  10. Tanning lotions being sold in major retail outlets bothers me. I get that the manufacturers can do it, but it doesn’t mean that they should. This potentially takes one of the biggest profit centers out of the tanning salon owners hands. Talk about cutting your customers off at the knees!

Where Does Indoor Tanning Go From Here?

These are mine and Jasa’s concerns. I’m willing to bet that these issues are on the minds of other tanning salon owners and spray tan technicians. Granted, we don’t have all the answers. These issues have been entrenched in this industry for more than a decade. The solutions to can only come from frank and open discussion, which we hope to start here. We encourage you to leave your opinions in the comments section below or email them us at The door at this tanning business magazine is always open to tanning professionals.