Prom time for Prince County. A few more than last year, a few cancellations due to other commitments, fear of orange, no money etc. etc. But I am getting more bookings from queens and kings county it seems, so it all evens out. Proms more spread out this year so able to relax a little. Had one issue that I felt bad about not exactly my fault but I knew better. Sometimes I have to learn to say "NO" when asked to do something against my better judgment. I broke my own rule about spray tanning peeling skin.
Apparently there is another "mobile spray tanner" in Charlottetown. A hairstylist, started about a month ago. Will be interesting to hear reviews. Not worried. I've got a good thing going here.
Got all my fresh solution in a couple weeks ago, free shipping on some of it so yay. $650 worth should keep me going for awhile. Got to spend money to make money :). This years profits going to paying down the credit card -- I know boring but the kiddies have expensive hobbies so someone's got to pay for it.
Overall, very happy with the BUZZ that has been created. People are seeking me out cause they hear I'm the best. I must say I have to agree. :) Almost 3 years in -- over 400 tans and I can count the ones who had issues on one hand so that's pretty darn good.
READY SET GO! Last Spring Summer soooo busy beyond my expectations. Did more than double the year before. Prom week was unreal. This year same thing on the way maybe more.... looks like website is getting about double the hits daily as it did a year ago this time of year. Mostly word of mouth and Google are my big advertisers. I am still on the first page if you Google spray tan PEI, which is exactly where I plan to stay.
So, UV tanning booths now illegal for under 18 since last August so yay me and yay for those young folks who won't be baking. Got a backup system in place and awaiting April to put in my new solution order so I have the freshest solution possible for when summers heat hits. Complaints are still at a minimum, less than 1%.... they Feeling really good about how things are going -- interestingly am getting lots of quizzes from gals wanting to do the same thing. sigh. Oh well I have a good rep and an excellent product so they can't match that. And a little competition never hurt anyone.
Last year saved up the money from this business and took the family to Disney .... what an amazing reward for all of us! Summer promises to be busy with the kiddies and spray tanning and day job so I will have to manage my time wisely. Also planning to do more running and triathlon activities so hopefully this summer will also bring a healthier and fitter me!
Here's to a happier healthier spray tanning Spring!
.... but that's okay! Since it has been quiet on the spray tan front since September, I have had time to do other things and since I work full-time as a nurse I am not dependant on this as a living. Now December has picked up a bit, with a few special occassions etc. that folks want a tan for, but I am quite certain things won't pick up much til May. Fitness competitions are in March I believe so I am thinking I could bark up that tree soon. I was originally going to secure a second gym-type location in Charlottetown this fall but considering there are a half-dozen or so places in Charlottetown to get a spray tan, I think I will concentrate on Prince County for this year instead. Having a spot in Ch'town would increase costs as I am normally not in town except on Saturdays and would need gas and a babysitter, whereas when I am doing them after work in SUmmerside, I am losing nothing. SOOO.... I will keep on the path as it is going fine. Sales for my first complete year (2012) are more than 2 and a half times what I thought so I'm happy with that. Lots of people still hitting the website so thats good. All is well in Rose Valley, Happy Christmas and New Year!
IT's SUMMER on the best little Island in the whole world! I wasn't sure what exactly would take place once the sun shone on the bodies of the pasty Island population, maybe they would not need or want a spray tan as they could get a "real" one for free! But no! I get calls and texts steadily, mostly from people who can't tan (skin is so sensitive) or they do not want to! So, there you go. I am busier than I expected and it started happening rather abruptly in May, amped up in June, and now holding steady in July. My goal for client numbers for the whole year was surpassed before the end on June, pretty cool since I did hardly any till May as I was injured.
I am sort of on vacation myself, and continuing regular twice weekly acupuncture on my formerly broken ankle, and still working at my "regular" job 3 days a week because I wanted to draw out my vacay as long as possible -- long weekends all summer long. So, it has made it a little harder to fit in appointments. And it seems, some of my customers are finding it hard to fit in appoinments as well; I never had a no-show or cancellation til mid June, and now, I have probably 40% cancel on short notice -- mind you I was really really ill earlier this week and had to cancel a couple myself so there you go, stuff happens. But, because of that I make darn sure I am efficient with my time and not doing unnecessary travel. I try to book a bunch of appointments in a row so if one does not show it is not a huge deal. If I can't get people in when it is doable for both of us, well it just can't be done. The wedding tans I've done recently really looked fabulous and I mean freakin' fabulous! They make me a little nervous though as I DO NOT WANT TO MAKE A MISTAKE! but alas, complaints so far have been extremely low, less than 1% of clients (I was aiming for 0% but that was maybe a little unrealistic). Something interesting happened, a former client is now also doing spray tanning for clients, a very very short drive away. Annoying, yes but a little healthy competition never hurt anyone. And, I've already got a good rep, so I'm not hurting! What is also annoying is I can't get this keyboard off italics and it looks like I'm whispering everything or something -- better than getting stuck on caps which looks like you are shouting! SO far, so good here on PEI. I am so lucky to be here in this place!
It's now June, and Prom season in full swing. I was fortunate to get a location at Stretch Fitness in Summerside so I could do tans for people in the Summerside area. I live far out of town and the travel charges are often more than someone wishes to pay so getting a location in town was essentail. I take my own bookings, look after my own money, and pay them a little for each tan I do as "rent". It has been working out very well. I am only there when I have bookings. I was able to do many TOSH and KISH prom tans. Now, proms for Bluefield, Charlottetown Rural, and Colonel Gray Schools are coming up and it was time to find a spot in Charlottetown where I could have a similar setup. So, I called a former employer at Laser Esthetics Medi-Spa in Charlottetown and she was so enthusiastic! I am setting up for 2 evenings one week apart so I can do prom tans for those schools in Charlottetown. As for future arrangements, we are just going to see how this goes; I have to do this after their normal working hours as I work during the day. I am hopeful it will work out, as having a location in Charlottetown will open this business up to a huge group of people! There are spray tans available at approximately 4 locations in the area already, but I think if I can continue to build a good reputation I will do well there.
I am really enjoying the new solutions from Natural Glow. Although Vani-T was very nice, especailly "Fusion", colour choices were limited, and it was unreal expensive especially when shipping and customs were factored in. I will continue to use Aviva for now, as it works really well on cooler skin types, but it is my only solution which is not organic. Natural Glow comes in 6 shades plus mixing directions for many more shades so I can truly build a custom colour. It also seems to last just as long as the other ones I've tried, no smell, dries quickly, and it's organic. It's only drawback is its shelf life is only 12 months from shipping date, but I do not think I will have any problems using my current order up by then.
Also an update which is kind of exciting: my goal for the end of 2012 as a very small home-based business was to bring in enough income to pay for my original investment from last fall. As of June 12, that will have taken place so yay! I only started charging people in January (needed free ones for practise), broke my leg in February and was laid up for about 3 months; so all in all I've done fairly well. Some people have asked me if I was quitting my job as a nurse to do this full-time; No! This will continue to be a small home-based business operated solely by me. Eventually, in a few years I may give the business to my daughter, but that is a very long way off as she is currently eight years old. This business is for fun money, and money to pay for things that normally would not be in the budget for my family. The goal is still to provide quality spray tans, and make some cash along the way. This business is just for ME, something productive I can do that I enjoy. So far, so good. I just renewed my URL www.smartspraytan.com for 5 more years as it has been the single most effective means of getting clients. I have also recently purchased the .ca of that name as well in case people search me incorrectly.
So far it is fun, and now becoming more profitable!
So, come January I was starting to build a little momentum, I found a great on-line service which would help you develop your design for a logo of sorts, and print your info on all sorts of things. Business cards, check! I had hosted 2 spray tan parties (one for my own close girlfriends, the other I was hired), and both were successful. I was getting more and more comfortable as time went on and I was trying out all the different brands I had purchased and was choosing my favorite. (Vani-T Fusion, expensive but looks good on just about anyone, one customizable shade). I also really liked Aviva's samples I had purchased, but since they aren't organic I don't want to make them my main brand. I have recently ordered some other great-sounding products from them, and can't wait til they get here.
Anyway, so I was well on my way, making a few bucks here and there. I was mostly getting people who were either going away or who had a special function to attend. I was crossing my fingers they would return in the Summer. -- My goal is at least 50% repeat customers. Anyway, February first I had been granted a day off from work and was planning a ski day with my kids, my sister, neice, nephew and my father. When we got there, I slipped on a patch of ice, and I knew right away my ankle was broken. Surgery, 6 weeks in a cast not allowed to weight bear, not able to work. Thank goodness I had sick time at work. It's now one month after the cast has come off, and I am just getting back to work as my job as head nurse of a Maternity/Peds unit at my local hospital. I did one single tan while I had my cast on, and I am glad I did not do more; it was hard to do well while hopping around!
Now while I was laid up on my couch, my kids at school, myhusband either working or at school, I had a LOT of time to myself. So, I did a lot of on-line research to become even better at spray tanning. My goal after all is high-quality spray tans and I will accept no less. I also spent a lot of time making advertising products come alive on vistaprint.ca. And especially working on my website to make it shine. It definitely has evolved since I originally bought that great URL back in September. I also started my facebook page for Smart Spray Tan as well. All this stuff was cheap or free. I even have free banners with my Brand on it in case I am in a trade show or even a community parade -- hasn't happened yet but stay tuned for Summer!
My husband, love his heart, is supportive though I think he must be tired of spray tan talk. He has never said so, though. I do enjoy learning about it and talking about it, and the making money part, well that is part of it too. I am more excited about having something that is MINE, that I do well, maybe even better than others, and I have something extra -- I am PEI's first and only mobile spray tan business. I can't wait to find out what happens next.
I got my machine from a website in Australia where they seem to have this spray
tanning thing down pat. I know I proabably paid more than I needed to, BUT I am
very happy with my machine, and it fit into my budget. It sprays quickly,
quietly, accurately, and with hardly any overspray (I only use about 1 ounce per
client). And now, I have started playing with the dials on the gun so I can
start practising airbrush muscle definition, which could come in handy
Anyway. I broke the machine the first day using it,
when I was trying it out on myself. It vibrated itself right off the counter and
on to the floor. I did not get any instruction manual at the time, and didn't
know this would happen. The good news was all I broke was the attachment to the hose, so
a new hose was all I needed, and I got one pretty quick for free from the
seller. Rule #1, put the compressor on the floor. check.
then it was time to practise. On myself, It is hard to practise on yourself,
especially your legs and back. I even hard a hard time doing my right arm
because I had to use my left hand to do so. So, in the beginning, my experiments
had me wearing long-sleeved shirts as my right wrist was always overdone.
Rule#2, pull away before you get to the wrist, and a little barrier cream can go
a long way
Soon I was ready for others to practise on. I did a
lot of reading and video watching, and communicating with other salon owners. I
put the word out to my friends that till December the tans were free. I had a
party with my friends, and gave everyone a spray tan. After about 10, I felt
pretty confident and the feedback I was getting was very positive. I was also
getting used to the different shades and characteristics of each solution... was
trying out 4 different brands at the time. I've discovered that you get what you
pay for here as well. The cheapest solution, although it was organic and deemed
"premium" just did not last as long as the others, but the color was good on me.
So, I continue to use it only on myself. The expensive ones rock. And yes, they
cost me more, but I am interested in quality spray tans. People on PEI are quite
convinced a spray tan means ORANGE. I'm trying to change that one tan at a time.
I started Smart Spray Tan in September 2011, did free practise tans on friends and family til December, and now I'm happily doing spray tans as a part-time home-based business. I'm a nurse by trade, the Clinical Leader ("head nurse") of Maternal Child Care Unit at Prince County Hospital in Summerside. I love my job. And, I never ever considered starting a business from the ground up, but here I am. I got the idea from a few things that had happened in quick succession. A friend had shown her newly acquired spray tan on Facebook that she had paid for on preparation for a wedding she was in. Normally, she is pale, but the spray tan was quite dark yet natural-looking. Then, another friend had been saying that her visitor from Australia could not readily find a place to re-spray her tan while she was on vacation on PEI. Apparently, spray tans are quite popular in Australia, as well as elsewhere in the world. Then, I saw an episode of "Dragon's Den" which featured a Toronto woman trying to get investments in her successful mobile spray tanning business. That was the part really did it for me, I started doing some research. For several weeks I researched all I could find out about airbrush tanning. I contacted the woman from the Dragon's Den to inquire about franchise opportunities ($10,000 -- yikes no thanks). I got a spray tan from a local spa -- did not like that she used one shade on everyone --dark--, it was ok, but decidedly orange on parts and uneven. I knew I could do better. I considered a spray booth, but they are megabucks, plus fixing it would be a nightmare I would suspect. So, I googled business plans and started writing one. The more I knew the more interested I became.
I once said to my husband during all this intense study ,"If you think this is crazy or stupid you need to tell me because I am going ahead with this if you don't." He was very supportive and still is. I registered my business name in September after much thought. Some other names? iTan (taken), uTan (taken), TanGo (taken) and finally Smart Spray Tan. I had learned to come up with a name that says exactly what your product is so it is not mistaken as something else and people can google you easier. I also like Smart because of Smart Car, Smart Phone, etc. and I wanted my customers to feel "Smart" about the choice they had made. I felt pretty smart coming up with that actually! Once I had confirmation that no one in Canada had a similar business name, I registered my name with CRA. Next I started my website and purchased the URL www.smartspraytan.com . And then I was officially a business. It would be quite some time before I was ready to make money.
The fun was soon to begin!
Sandra Graham is an RN who wants to do quality spray tans using excellent products anywhere in the province. She works full-time at Prince County Hospital and lives with her husband and two children in Rose Valley.
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