Summer is the prime time for tanning and your clients may be in dire need of the perfect glow, without getting burnt by the fierce sun. We speak to tanning expert Ashley Anne Lashes & Tan about running a mobile business, how to choose the right tan for your client’s skin and the role of social media in growing a small biz. I hope you get a lot of value out of her insights and expertise. Ashley operates within the Liverpool/Casula area and you can follow her on Instagram @ashleyanne_lashtan
What made you decide to start a mobile tanning and lash business?
I had been in administration and managing other people’s businesses for over a decade. I have always loved getting a good spray tan and a lush set of extensions, and had been thinking of doing a course (for both) for over a year before I started Ashley Anne Lashes & Tan. Then one day I decided I couldn’t wait any longer! I wanted the freedom to set my own hours and to decide when I wanted to take on clients. The 9 to 5 game was great for me for more than 10 years, but once I had the fire inside me to work for myself, I just couldn’t imagine NOT doing it! I finally made the decision that it’s now or never and found the best courses for me and what I wanted to learn out of it.
What sets you apart from other businesses?
Apart from the fact I am a mobile service, which is uncommon for lash extensions, I think what sets me apart is my ability to always allow my clients feel 100% comfortable with me as a stranger; not only in their home but also most times standing naked in front of me. I have had so many new mums or women who don’t have the greatest confidence thanking me for making them feel so great about their bodies. That’s such a great feeling knowing that after having a baby, or at a time they don’t feel their best, when they couldn’t get out of the house or find a sitter, that I was able to come to their home and make them love their new brown skin or fluttering lashes.
Who is your ideal client?
My current clients are generally women aged in their early 20s to late 40s and any woman who wants to look in the mirror and feel great or feel like she doesn’t need to wear makeup. My dream clients are those who are on top of booking in their appointments in advance and following my aftercare advice is a huge bonus, too!
How do you attract your clients?
Social media is a huge resource for finding new clients; it is essentially your portfolio for new clients to view your previous work. It’s important to make sure your page is looking aesthetically pleasing, showcasing your work with some handy tips, and what you offer along with prices. Google is also great to utilise; make sure you verify your business and add photos and links to your social media platforms. You need to make all platforms as easy to use and reliable as possible so your clients can feel confident in trusting you, and making it as easy as pie to book in that appointment. One way that absolutely cannot be beaten for attracting new clients is referrals! So many new clients come from word-of-mouth, for example, a client might be referred by their cousin’s friend’s sister who used you once or is even a regular, and you made such an impression that “you just have to go to her!”
What is most important for you to achieve in your business?
My clients are the most valuable part of my business, I wouldn’t have one without them, so the most important thing for me is always going above and beyond to make sure they have a great experience. Whether it’s doing 6am tans or spending those few extra minutes to make sure you leave them with the perfect tan/lashes for the big event they have. Ultimately, I would like to achieve a reputation within my local community and beyond that I provide a luxury service with a home comfort feel and amazing results. My future goals for Ashley Anne Lashes & Tan would be to have an in-home salon where I would be able to both offers in-salon and mobile, have various services and retail items to be purchased as part of their service.
What role has social media played in the growth of your business?
Hugely; from Facebook and Instagram ads that bring in new clients who may not have known about me otherwise, to clients being able to show their friends my page when they can’t find my business card. It’s so convenient to essentially have a portfolio, tips and tricks, pre and post service advice, prices and everything in-between there for potential clients to see. The ability to also have competitions which require likes/shares to build your following and visibility in a short time, for little to no outlay expense.
How do you select your tanning products?
Before I started Ashley Anne Lashes & Tan, I thought all tanning solutions are practically the same, some different colours but they all do the same job. Can’t be that hard right? Oh, was I wrong! There is so much to learn and research when looking for a perfect solution. Does it apply flawlessly? Once developed, is it a true bronze or more of a golden undertone? How long is processing time before they need to wash off? Is it a green base, red base, violet base or mixed base? How long can a particular solution be left on for 1 client when it will not achieve the same results on another client? How does it wear? Does it fade evenly or is it patchy? Does it stick to certain spots and is it hard to get off? (Which isn’t great for those religious tanners that get sprayed every week!) I’ve found solutions that I love, and I’ve found solutions that I’ll never use again, but I’m always searching for the best products for my clients.
How do you assess a client’s skin and select the right shade for them specifically?
The active ingredient within spray tan solution that makes your skin change colour is called dihydroxyacetone or DHA. Different solutions have different percentages of DHA in order to get a natural glow or a super dark bronze, usually ranging from 8% all the way to 18% or higher. The higher the DHA, the darker a tan is produced. The client’s skin tone also plays a big part of what kind of colour is produced, for example, if an olive skin toned dark-haired client got an 18% solution applied, it would look amazing and natural. However, if a very pale client with blonde or red hair received the same 18% solution spray tan, it would not look as natural and would most likely throw more of the golden undertone that can sometimes make a tan look orange. This is why it’s so important to be able to have the knowledge as a technician to choose the right solution for your client’s skin tone.
How do you prep your client for a tan?
Truly preparing skin for a spray tan is, in fact, a couple of days in the making! It starts off with 7 days beforehand to stop using any fake tan/gradual tanning products, then for the 3-4 days leading up to your client’s spray tan appointment, they should start exfoliating once a day (focusing extra on any dry areas they have) and moisturising twice a day to really give the solution a fantastic base to produce a beautiful colour. The client should also not wax 48hrs before the appointment or shave 24hrs before the appointment as this will open up the pores in the skin. Then, on the day of their spray tan, make sure the client does not exfoliate or moisturise, they just need to have a normal shower at least 4hrs before the appointment. avoid washing their hair as this can leave a barrier on the body).
How do you achieve the perfect tan?
Every spray tan technician has their own preference in technique, such as what machine they use or what solution they think is the best. All these things combined will affect how their tans turn out for their clients. I am obsessed with my Tan.Easy Tan Lite 32000 machine as it has the finest mist which applies solution flawlessly! The techniques which I learnt from my trainer, The Spray Tanning Expert, has never failed me – I start with front of client’s legs (don’t forget inner thighs!) then I work my way up to their stomach and chest, I then move on to their sides and arms, then their back and the back of their legs. Always remember to taper off the spray when coming down to wrists and ankles so you don’t get the dreaded build up in those areas. I also ask a client before the appointment starts if they know of any spots their body grabs the tan (mine are my shins). That way I can be mindful not to overspray in those areas, so it doesn’t grab as much.
How do you avoid making your client’s tan orange?
This is all about choosing the right solution for your client’s skin tone. You also need to manage client expectations and let them know anything that may hinder achieving the colour they want, letting them know you are only able to work with what their skin tone naturally is, but would get as close to their desired look as possible.
What aftercare tips do you provide your clients?
I always send my clients away with both verbal and written explanation of aftercare advice (because as a client I always forgot what I was told!). Some of the major ones are:
- Do not get wet, sweaty or use any products before your rinse off time.
- Wash off should be a 2-3min lukewarm shower gently buffing the skin with hands in a circular motion until water runs clear (don’t forget the back of your neck and back of legs!)
- Sweat, chlorine and salt water will strip the tan faster.
- Pat yourself dry after every shower instead of rubbing.
- And the big one is MOISTURISE! At least once if not twice a day and always after a shower. Hydrated skin is a spray tans best friend and will allow your tan to look flawless for up to 10 days.
How do you ensure their level of satisfaction with their service?
Client satisfaction starts from the moment they contact you enquiring about the service. I always try to be professional and prompt while still showing my bubbly personality in all communications with clients. The next thing is I always try to take the time to understand why my clients are getting their spray tans and if it is for something special. This way I can truly provide them with the best possible outcome for what they are after. For example, a bride usually needs a subtle glow for her wedding day, not a ‘just got back from the Bahamas’ deep bronze! Their entire experience from start to finish and how you make them feel is what will make them a loyal return client.