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Dale Hansen Answers Tanning Trends Questions:


TT: What's new in the Hoss Sauce line for 1997?

DH: Our line has been predominately lotion, but we've had many requests for a gel. So this year, we came out with Hoss Sauce Gel.

       Also new for 1997 is Silver Strike, an intense accelerator for tanners who already have their base tan. This is a product for people who don't want to spend $30 or $40, but want something that works equally well.

       We also added one-ounce bottles of Texas Heat, Scorch and Fire Star. We like the idea of small bottles instead of packettes, because tanners don't use the whole packette at one time and they can't save it. I believe people should get what they pay for. Our bottles are usually good for two tanning sessions. You can hang on to it and refill it from your big bottle at home.

TT: We know you visit a lot of salons around the country and this gives you a unique perspective. What's your reading on the indoor tanning industry in general?

DH: On the whole I'd say it is very positive. Although turnover is about 30 percent or more per year, I also see a lot of growth. Of course there are hair salons with tanning beds and gyms that offer tanning, but knew stand-alone salons are adding more beds and expanding their clientele. They're also adding diversified services such as selling T-shirts and cruises, even espresso.

       I see many salons that are well-run and some that are not. It's my firm belief that owners have to be business people first. They should prepare the groundwork before they open the salon: develop a business plan, study the ins-and-outs of the industry and learn how to budget. The informed owners realize the business is seasonal, and they have learned to control cash flow. They are also continuously reading and learning about the industry.

       What the indoor tanning industry needs most is education. That's what I liked so much about Smart Tan '96 in Orlando - the business seminars told owners how to fine-tune their business. I'm looking forward to Smart Tan '97.

TT: Are lotion sales getting enough emphasis in the salons?

DH: Definitely not. In my travels over the years, one of my favorite things is to walk into a salon and ask, 'Do you sell lotions?' The average response is, 'Oh, yeah, they're over there.' That's not good! A tanner needs help understanding the products.

       I believe it a matter of educating the staff, not just pushing lotions. A knowledgeable staff will educate the tanner, and the sales volume will increase. As an example, visit the cosmetic counter in a quality department store, and you'll find the sales people are trained in each of the different cosmetic lines. They can tell you what each product will do for your skin. Salon owners should teach their staff to sell lotions the same way. Once the staff is able to educate tanners on different products, customers will be happier, and sales volumes will increase. Unfortunately, many salon owners say they don't have the time for training. That's where we can help.

       Lotion manufacturers like our company are available for training sessions. That's one of the things we like to do: train the staff and talk tanning products to customers. We're also available to talk to owners on the phone. We've even gone out in our western wear to help open salon. If there is anything we can do to increase tanning and lotion sales we will do it.

       Since there are many fine lotions on the market, we talk about those, too. The main goal is too increase sales for the salon. Without salons, we're not in business. The more successful they are, the more successful we are.

TT: What does the future hold for Hoss Sauce?

DH: Our distributor network is very good. We're currently and have made inroads to the European market. Our next step is to expand into other international markets.

       For the immediate future, my focus is on maintaining the consistency and quality of the product. If you start off in too many directions, you can't do a good job in any one of them. I've made a commitment by buying the plant (that we have our products made in) and hiring the staff, so I'm here for the long run. In this industry, you have to rely on repeat business - from the salon owners as well as the tanners. The products have to live up to their claims.


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