My name is Nicole Hyatt, founder of Tan on the Run Canada. I started my business almost 15-years ago as the first mobile spray tanning company in Canada—offering a vegan spray tan in the comfort of the client’s home. As demand started to increase I decided to franchise my concept in 2007. To date, we have 40-franchises, most of them across Canada with one in Mexico, 6 in Egypt and 1 in Namibia. I then went on to manufacture my own line of high-end self-tanning products, OhSo Organic, which include everything from the perfect exfoliation mitt to an exclusive applicator brush with a flawless tan in the can.
I was at my home in Mexico when I started receiving a flood of cancellations, and messages from concerned franchisees (who were all getting cancellations as well). I quickly returned to my Toronto home in order to assess the situation. Nothing could have prepared me for a total shutdown of all our franchises worldwide, including Tan on the Run Toronto, where I still operate and employ 10 women. To be honest, for the first week… I accomplished nothing and was quite confused with everything going on.
This time of year is our busy season. We ramp up marketing, stock up on products and go all in. Most of our clients this time of year are tanning for events, weddings, graduation, proms, booty shorts weather and just to feel damn good about themselves. We’re the exclusive spray tan partner for the Raptors Northside Crew, Argos Cheerleaders and many celebrities that flood to Toronto when filming production ramps up (typically right now). We literally wait all year for March break to kick-off our busy season!
After a week of thinking WTF,
I decided laying around was just not my style. Having three lanes to my business, the Toronto mobile spray tan location, franchisees, and a product line, I had to get creative. First and foremost was making sure all the women were ok. We started with virtual meetings. This allowed me to see how each person individually was affected and what we needed to do to get everyone active and involved.
As the whole premise of the business is to offer a customized in-person tan—that was/Is off the table. Myself being a tan-a-holic , I know that just having a bit of color can literally make you feel like a different person. It gives you the confidence and makes you look 10lbs thinner immediately. INSTANT gratification. I wanted our clients to still be able to tan at home without the assistance of the technician. This led me to create the “Quaran-TAN” kit; which includes an exfoliating mitt to prep, a bronzing body mist and an exclusive tan applicator brush for the flawless glow. Clients are loving it! We are also offering Facetime consults and how-to tutorials online via our Instagram account, @tanontherun, for anyone that needs help on how to perfect their glow.
For the franchisees, I thought of this as a time to grow, educate and better themselves in any way imaginable or in any way they would have been literally impossible with the absence of a complete global shutdown. I decided to start “Class COVID” on our online private forum. I tapped into individual talents that each franchise holds aside from tanning. Rather than myself doing endless webinars, we rotate the host daily. Monday-Friday 1-hour per day, on a different topic, ranging from product sales, to cleaning equipment, tips and tricks for taxes, to an at-home workout. I even managed to convince my 15-year-old son to be a model for my live online contour training sessions. It was a hit! The girls all learned a new technique and my son got the abs he always wanted without stepping foot in the gym, lol.
Knowing that everyone in the world is going through the same thing at the same time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, makes me feel a lot better. I believe when this passes, and it will—the beauty business will be busier than ever. Let’s take this as the well-needed break to organize our lives, learn new things, cook different recipes, sleep in until noon on Tuesdays, break bad habits, spend time with the kids, and prep ourselves to be unstoppable once we are back to business.
Founder, Tan on the Run Canada