I am happy to feature and introduce Heather Boss to those those that might not know her. She is a very smart, savvy and successful entrepreneur being the both the owner of Fit to be Tan and the creator of Spray Booker ™ The only Online Booking System designed by a spray tech, for spray techs!
Name of salon: Fit to be Tan
Years in Business: 9
Location: Arlington, VA/Washington DC area
What was made you start a sunless tanning business?
I first became interested in sunless tanning after seeing celebrities get airbrush tans on reality shows in the mid 2000s. I thought sunless tanning would be a great alternative to using tanning beds or tanning in the sun, both of which I had done far too much of in my 20s. I purchased some mobile spray tanning equipment and began experimenting in my home on family and friends. Word that high quality spray tans could be had out of a little house in Arlington spread, and quite by accident before I knew it I had a growing business that had outgrown my living room.
What do you feel has been a big part of your success?
Our focus on Customer Service is a big reason we have grown and been successful. I believe in treating people as a business owner in the same way as I would want to be treated as a customer. We try to go that extra mile to make the client happy.
What is your favorite part of being a spray tanner?
Everyone looks better with a tan (real or not), and you instinctively feel better about yourself when your appearance is improved. I enjoy “giving” that feeling to customers, day in and day out, knowing that people walk out of our salon feeling better about themselves thanks to a service that I provide.
Have you spray tanned any celebrities? If so how was that experience:
We’re based in Washington DC, so the concept of a “celebrity” here is a bit different than it would be for a business in NYC or LA. But we’ve had some interesting “famous” people come into the studio over the years.
We have an on-again, off-again customer relationship with one of the “Real Housewives of DC” actresses. The experience could have been better; she often missed appointments or had late cancellations and we never really reaped any benefits by being associated with her.
We’ve sprayed cheerleaders for the local professional teams, we’ve sprayed various local pageant winners, and we’ve sprayed the wives of local professional players. We’ve likely sprayed, without knowing it, the wives of various local politicians who just didn’t make a big deal about who they were.
Our biggest “Who was that” moment as a business came many years ago, when we received a mysterious phone call in the middle of a week day asking if we had availability. Soon after, two dark SUVs arrived with two younger blondes surrounded by security staff. They signed in with what had to be fake phone numbers and fake names and got sprayed. To this day we have no idea who they were.
What was an example of a challenge of being a business owner that you had to adapt to?
Our biggest challenge as a business has been transitioning away from depending on “Daily Deal” customers and into a more sustained, higher end clientele paying full retail price for our services. We are not spraying as many customers now, but are driving more revenue and building longer term customer relationships.
What is an example of a marketing tactic that you found successful to increase your business?
The rise of social media has drastically changed the way we market. The lion’s share of our marketing budget and effort now is based on social media and driving engagement online. We used to spend thousands of dollars on Google advertising; now we spend a fraction of that boosting Facebook posts, creating Instagram content, and depending more on social networking than specifically paying for advertising services.
What suggestions do you have for newer techs in the industry:
You need to do some market analysis; is there a sustainable market for your services in your area? Then, you need to have a business plan with short-term and long-term goals. Find the most cost-efficient way possible to build your business from the beginning (working out of your home or sub-letting space at an existing salon), and don’t over-extend yourself financially. Build your business from the ground up using tools that will position you for success later on; consider using an online booking system or an online merchant processor from the get-go and you’ll be able to grow in an organized fashion as a business. Review sites like Yelp are how customers choose services now, so make sure that you have the best reviews possible.
What is your favorite Perfect Glow Sunless product?
The new tinted gradual tanner lotion
Where do you see your business a year from now?
We have brought on-board an esthetician who can provide typical spa services in-house, and we are providing Lash Services in a geographic area where there is very little competition. A year from now we hope to have these services providing a significant new revenue source to the business.
Can you tell us a little more about Spray Booker?
Being a spray tan salon owner I felt that it was important to have a booking system tailored specifically for the airbrush tanning industry that could address many of the common frustrations that I and other spray tan professionals have experienced. So I created Spray Booker and have been getting great feedback and spray tanners are loving it! One of my favorite features is that it addresses that huge client issue which is pre tan prep. it has built in prep instructions that the client must agree to before they can complete their booking. It also has features to track no shows, collects client reviews & even integrates with social media sites ( Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to create posts advertising the spray tan appointment. Skin cancer awareness is very important to me so Spray Booker donates $1 of your monthly membership to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
For more information on Heather’s companies please visit