4, Issue 5
Decade of Horsin Around
great northwestern state of Oregon is beautiful
and scenic. However, even those who love living
there year 'round admit that it's not one of the
sunniest places on the globe. Lotion maker Dale
Hansen, president of Hoss Sauce, Inc. is one of
those people. "We see the sun around here
- occasionally - during the three summer months
of the year and not much more during the remainder," he
"But, the natural beauty of this region is so overwhelming
that it somewhat makes up for the cloudy days."
thing many people don't understand about living
in a climate like this," said Hansen, "is
that despite the constant moisture in the air,
one's skin dries out even faster than in less humid
climates. The reason," he stated, "is
because the atmospheric dampness is constantly
evaporating and carrying away much of the skin's
natural oil and moisture. Regular moisturizers
simply do not have a hydration factor high enough
to offset the moisture loss at this altitude and
humidity," he said. "That skin dryness
is even more acute for those who tan, and in the
late 1980's, I kept thinking about ways to create
a lotion that achieved superior hydration."
thought about making his own indoor tanning lotion
for several years. In the meantime, he continued
in his regular career as a freelance marketer,
successfully advertising and promoting his clients'
products and services. "At one time or another,
I have promoted almost every conceivable product.
I didn't see any reason why an indoor tanning lotion
would present any great difficulty. Having done
it now for almost 10 years, I still feel the same."
1989, he finally decided to attempt the development
of a super-hydration lotion. He visited an old
friend of his, a chemist who was doing cosmetic
research at a college. The scientist agreed to
sign on to the lotion project. They agreed that
L-tyrosine was the best choice as the product's
active tanning agent. It is already present in
the skin as a critical part of the tanning process
and increasing the available amount of it with
a lotion enhances the tanning process.
"It was a natural solution," he said. The
rest of the ingredients in Hoss Sauce products come
from exotic locales all over the world.
In A Name?
far as the lotion's name, "Hoss Sauce," Hansen
said he drew on his own nickname, "Hoss." Hansen
likes to dress in Western attire and at one time
wore a large 10-gallon hat similar to that of Hoss
Cartwright on the 1960's television show, Bonanza.
"Sauce rhymed with Hoss," he said, "and
the friends I asked liked it too, so that was where
the name came from."
order to market a product that appealed to both
men and women, Hansen chose a uni-sex fragrance. "It
is a pleasant scent that both sexes like. It's
light, not heavy, and doesn't stay around all day
like some others do. This can be important, especially
to lunch time tanners who wear a perfume or cologne
and don't want their tanning lotion conflicting
Sauce packaging was also slated to be different
than the industry's normal style. "I tend
to be my own person and not follow the crowd," said
Hansen. "I pretty much want to do things my
way. All I saw on the lotion market was gold this,
gold that, sun this, sun that. I wanted to break
out of that pattern. I'll admit that what we came
up with tends toward the masculine side somewhat,
but I figured that's good." "Guys won't
even pick up a frilly or feminine package to read
the label," Hansen stated. "And they
wouldn't be caught dead carrying a feminine looking
bottle through a salon. On the other hand, women
focus on results. If a product works great like
Hoss Sauce, they couldn't care less about the package
it comes in."
Trade Show 1992
almost two years of effort, Hansen was finally
ready to go to market. He showed up for the Chicago
trade show in 1992, ready to do business, but he
knew no one. "The first persons to approach
me from the tanning industry were Ronnie Allen
and Johnny Allen from the distributor, Four Seasons," said
Hansen. "They liked Hoss Sauce right off the
bat and became our first distributor. I'll always
remember those guys for making me feel welcome"
that show, our whole staff was dressed up in Western
said Hansen. "I was masquerading as Marshal
Dale Hansen and the employees were members of my
posse. We sure got a lot of looks, but it taught
me one thing - make a unique presentation and people
will remember you. We still get calls from people
who saw us in Chicago and I know it had to be in
1992, because that is the only time we went to that
Control of Quality
Sauce is produced in a 26,000-sq. ft. complex that
also houses office, laboratory and warehouse facilities. "We
have up to 22 employees during the busy season," said
Hansen, "but the number is generally around
15 including all departments. We can keep up major
production with such a small number of employees,
because we are quite well automated. The machines
do the filling, labeling and capping, but the bottles
are boxed by hand. This way, a line worker gets
one last look at the product and can, for example,
see a crooked or missing label or feel by the bottle's
weight if it's not full."
of the reasons Hansen wanted to do his own manufacturing
was that so he could keep absolute control of quality. "My
investment in this factory is one sign that I am
going to be in this industry for the foreseeable
future," he said. "But, I can only achieve
that if I have repeat business as well as new business.
The way to assure that is to ship only products
that I have made to my own quality specifications.
By making the products ourselves, we can also control
costs and get very high quality products on the
market for less - sometimes even cheaper than inferior
brands sell for."
said Hoss Sauce refuses to pack private label lotions
for other companies that pretend to be manufacturers. "We
are geared to produce only high quality lotions
and we won't even consider making some of the lesser
quality concoctions in the marketplace."
the subject of government regulation, Hansen says
that in general, he doesn't like it. But, he concedes
that indoor tanning is one of the places where
it is needed. "Oregon is a regulated state
and I think the agency does a good job. They have
really helped to clean up and clear out a lot of
the marginal and unethical salons that were giving
indoor tanning a bad name," he said.
current problem with lotions at the salon level,
said Hansen, is education. Salons are not stressing
lotion sales to their employees nor giving them
the tools to work with - they are hurting themselves,
he stated. "Thirty to forty percent of a salon's
sales should be from lotions - if not fifty percent!
But, in order to achieve those numbers," said
Hansen, "employees have to be shown how to
sell. In too many cases, that is not happening,
although Hoss Sauce is willing to help them if
they ask. We have everything from posters to advertising
co-op dollars that you can receive without having
to jump through hoops. Even our product catalog
has information on selling that can be very profitable
for a salon to use,"
he said. "But it takes some desire on the part
of the salon owner to make it happen. As Marshal
Dale Hansen says, 'You can lead a horse to water,
but you can't make it drink!" he chuckled.
"The ol' marshal has a full water trough here,
so if there are any thirsty salons out there, you
tell 'em to quit horsin' around and call us, pronto!
To Press Room ]