Tanning Lotion


Looking Fit Magazine
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Taking Aim With Clever Marketing and Quality Lotions

by Scott Eric Barrett

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, used to concoct bizarre symbolic meanings from people's dreams. In Freud's world, a happy dream about flying through the beautiful moonlit sky actually meant the dreamer suffered from a social phobia, but Freud himself even admitted that sometimes a cowboy is just a cowboy.

With a product line that features lotions such as Outlaw, Texas Crude and Silver Strike, manufacturer Hoss Sauce oozes with western appeal. At trade shows, company CEO Dale "Hoss" Hansen and his posse gallop through the doors wearing western costumes complete with antique marshal badges. Hansen himself often wears a large 10-gallon cowboy hat. The image is so stitched into people's minds that he often is referred to as "The Marshal of Tan Town."

"I enjoy the whole cowboy association," Hansen says. "It keeps things entertaining."

With all the hype, many customers imagine the company headquarters is nestled near a ranch in Houston or Austin. However, Hoss Sauce is located in Portland, Ore.

"A lot of people think we're from Texas and that's fine," Hansen says. "It works with our whole image. I like to tell people that we just went further west. It's been interesting over the years--people have even tried to get us to move to Texas."

As for the roots of the company, a friend dared him to try an indoor tanning booth back in the late 1980s. Surprisingly, he loved it. The more he got into indoor tanning though, the more he came to realize how inappropriate the products were--it was almost as if the manufacturers expected indoor tanners to use outdoor products. Since the processes actually are different, he felt most of the products dried indoor tanners' skin out and failed to make it feel moist and soft.

"When you put a lotion on you expect it to do something, especially when you are tanning," he says.

Calling on his marketing background--and a couple of buddies who happened to be chemists--Hansen set out to make a super-hydrating L-tyrosine-based lotion for indoor tanners. The manufacturing process intrigued him--then and now--from the standpoint of all the developments that keep coming up in skincare.

"Sure the old products have moisturization in them but researchers continually are finding out what vitamins, botanicals and other good things will help the skin and aid in minimizing fine lines and wrinkles," Hansen says.

Since opening shop in 1991, Hoss Sauce has grown from its initial three products--Dark, Super Dark and Ultra Dark--to 23 unique lotions. Besides top sellers Ultra Dark and Outlaw 6XXX, the line also features Scorch, Firestar, Stinger and several other formulas. The company also sells shirts, jackets, caps and posters through its Web site, www.hosssauce.com. With 10 years under his belt buckle, Hansen says the company's goal these days is mainly to get people to try its products.

"Once people try one of our lotions, they will be back," he says. "Every year we've seen a growth so we are very fortunate and have a lot of confidence in our products."

Since the company's inception, the tanning industry has grown itself, both in size and knowledge. Hansen says knowledge is a big issue. He believes tanners would be even more into tanning if they had more knowledge of what tanning does and what the products can and will do if they are used properly.

"A manufacturer tries to get the information out to the salons but the salon owner has to hire people to help run the salon and many times they don't get the benefit of the training," he says. "So a tanner walks into certain salons and leaves clueless as to how or why products work."

As for the future? Hansen forecasts a chilly breeze in the upcoming year.

"We are coming out with a new cooling lotion for next season," he says. "I have tested it and I think it is super and people are going to love it. It's way advanced from what tanners are used to."

Freud was right. Sometimes a tree is just a tree, and sometimes a cowboy is just a cowboy--even one in Portland.

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