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
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.