Sunset Tan, basking in the glow of its reality show success, wants to bring its high-end L.A.-style skin-treatments to the masses.
The high-end tanning salon was born five years ago in West Hollywood and has since opened five other locations in Los Angeles. The reality series that features the business on E Channel is populated by a cast of somewhat ditzy yet competitive characters. It's seen as a celebration of the L.A. lifestyle and has featured celebrities such as Britney Spears.
The show's popularity may help owners Jeff Bozz and Devin Haman with their plans to open franchises across the United States. The first franchise location is set to start bronzing customers in Redondo Beach next month.
Tanning is mostly a mom-and-pop industry, with few national chains such as Planet Beach and Hollywood Tans. Sunset Tan is banking on its TV fame to be another exception and turn its tanning style into gold.
The cast of the Sunset Tan show created a buzz when they showed up at the Indoor Tanning Association's national trade show in Nashville, Tenn., in October.
"They're causing a lot of excitement in the industry," said John Overstreet, executive director of the International Tanning Association in Washington, D.C.
Sunset Tan's facilities boast features such as beds with aromatherapy and an "after bronzer" that helps the tan set in. It also has open tanning beds for the claustrophobic. The salon offers an airbrush tan applied by a staff member, either on-site or at home.
Marc Kiekenapp of Franchise Outsource is helping launch the chain. He's helped 40 companies franchise, including Max Muscle Sports Nutrition and Robeks Healthy Eats and Smoothies.
Kiekenapp explained that they are being selective with potential franchisees Sunset Tan is looking for people with business and management experience and they need to be financially stable as well.
"We basically have an audition day for prospective Sunset Tan franchisees," Haman said.
Once they pass the audition, franchisees will pay about $250,000 to $650,00 in fees plus a 6 percent weekly royalty to be in the Sunset Tan business.
The target customer is between 19 and 38 and earns at least $75,000 a year and perhaps paradoxically, they live in sunny states. Plans call for opening Sunset Tans in Northern California, Florida, Georgia, Texas and Colorado.
"The biggest tanning markets are where the sun is," Kiekenapp said.
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