Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, March 12, 2021

While living in Florida, I appreciated the ability to maintain my tan almost year-round. That didn’t mean I was able to soak up sun every day — aside from genuinely chilly winters, basic work and lifestyle precluded the ability to devote regular time, even over the weekends, to ultraviolet burning. But I was usually able to get enough in to keep myself looking the way I wanted to.

With the move to New York, I’m dreading the inevitable fade. I’m fooling myself into thinking I can hold onto the luster just from incidental sun exposure and such, with my natural Mediterranean complexion retaining the burn. But one look at my pasty-skinned brother, who probably hasn’t seen a beach in years, tells me it’ll be a tough row to hoe.

There’s always the tanning salons. The local outlets, of which there are myriad, really have stepped up their marketing here in the Northeast, in accordance to the end of winter. And if the nascent franchisor consolidation in the tanning industry takes hold, they might bombard my senses to the point that I would actually consider paying for my skin glow for the first time ever.

Many of these new tanning tycoons come from the movie-rental business. They see similarities between their industry and video stores before Blockbuster Inc., which offered better selections at reasonable prices.

“The tanning business is dominated by independents, and many of them are single-store owners. They’re not in good locations. They still use handmade signs in the windows,” says Steven Berkman, a former Blockbuster executive who is now vice president of franchising for Palm Beach Tan Inc. “There’s an opportunity here for a great retail brand, just like the video industry in the ’80s.”…

Other large chains include Planet Beach Tan, based in Marrero, La., with 300 stores; Hollywood Tan of Mt. Laurel, N.J., with about 225; and L.A. Tan of Lincolnwood, Ill., with 140.

The jury’s out on this scheme. The video rental model is probably the right way to approach it; despite the video store’s current wane in the face of Netflix and digital content (both legal and not), the rise of that business was an unqualified success during the ’80s and ’90s. However, you don’t need exclusive distribution pipelines to get your skin colored. Tanning boutiques are like beauty salons and hair stylists — personalized touches count for more than a recognizable brandname.

Aside from that, the corporate names are so freakin’ lame. “Planet Beach Tan”? “Hollywood Tan”? Please. I wouldn’t be caught dead in such a dorkily-named shop. It screams of aspirations to be somewhere it’s not.

Still, if these guys really want to make a go of it, I have a suggestion: Instead of presenting the UV and spray tanning techniques as the client’s little secret, accentuate the artificiality of it. These tanning spas should put little tanning stickers, shaped with the company’s logo, on customer’s skins that will leave intentional tanline-like/tattoo marks. They could be placed somewhere semi-discreet but visible when necessary, like the forearm or shoulder. Instead of this being a stigma, it could be spun as a consumerist mark of pride, much like designer clothing labels (which used to be frowned upon until the advent of logo-ized jeans, shoes, etc. came along). There’d be no more effective calling card for a tanning chain, I think.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/12/2021 01:08:49 PM
Category: Business, Society | Permalink |

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  1. All over the place

    A few things I picked up, not entirely at random:Some linguists are more cunning than others. Connecticut’s branch of the NEA could give high marks to the state’s three Republicans…

    Trackback by dustbury.com — 03/12/2021 @ 10:10:31 PM

  2. I had a layover in JFK where everybody was pasty gluey white. I stood outside feeling so bad for all the grumpy-faced New Yorkers, thinking, “Man, they must have had a terrible flu season, looking all washed out like that,” until I realized it was July and I was surrounded by people who lived under a blanket of gray all year.

    Suckas!

    Comment by Rachel* — 03/14/2006 @ 12:29:03 PM

  3. SUN JUNKIES

    Know any compulsive sun-worshippers? Don’t chalk up their hours of ultraviolet exposure solely to vanity: A Wake Forest medical study suggests that regular tanning might be rooted in addiction:
    “The finding was unexpected and is consisten…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 04/15/2006 @ 08:36:56 PM

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