Bronz'd tanning+nails, as my business identity, came about when I decided to add spraytanning to my operation. Prior to that, I had worked without an official business name - everybody just knew me as Sascha, the nail girl/chick/lady.
In 2002, I got a call from my best friend (compilationofcool.com) and she was so excited to tell me about this amazing new beauty service she'd discovered (this wasn't particularly unusually news coming from her, but she seemed extra excited).
She was living in Canberra at the time and I was about to go visit her there, so she said she'd book us an appointment each to try it out. It was called a spraytan. We had both been pretty dedicated to sunbeds up to that point, even though we knew it wasn't the smartest thing to be subjecting ourselves to (vanity is a bitch...), and if this was a better, safer alternative - as a consumer - I was definately interested.
The spraytan company was based in Canberra and they'd only been operating for a short amount of time themselves, so as customers, we were coming in on the ground level of this experience. I'd been operating my business out of a beauty salon in Brisbane and told the girls who owned the salon, I'd bring them back all the information about this new service/treatment, not fully realising then that they'd have the opportunity to be the first ones in Queensland to offer it.
Our spraytan appointment was what is now a standard beauty treatment, but my friend and I were absolutely amazed. I sat and talked to the beauty therapist about the whole procedure, the equipment and the solution, and she gave me as much literature on the system and their company as she had. Armed with all that and my gorgeous new tan, I went home raving to my workpals they needed to get onto this treatment. But, my sales pitch fell flat. Unbelievably, they passed on it.
It had never occured to me that I should buy the system myself. I was a nail technician, and I rented a table from them - I had no experience, no extra cash to outlay on new equipment and nowhere to do the treatments.
...Well, NO-ONE had experience - it was a brand new, revolutionary treatment! And, I wouldn't have been the first person in history to start or expand a business operation on credit AND it just so happened, the salon had a treatment room with a sunbed in it that was never used because the therapists didn't believe in promoting skin damage (go figure...).
Voila. Bronz'd tanning+nails (and the 'tan technician') was born.
For the first 6 months, I couldn't give away a spraytan. Everyone was so suspicious of this weird new thing. It was unknown, unheard of (was it toxic? what were the side-effects? will it give me cancer??) and I was the only person offering it in the whole state - only one of a handful of people in the whole country. I was sweating on even just covering the repayments of the equipment, let alone making a profit. I knew I hadn't made a mistake, but how was I gonna turn it around?
Then a client who wrote for the local newspaper, put no more than 6 small lines at the bottom of her column about 'the new beauty treatment hitting the runways overseas' and the salon's phone number. I had no idea she'd done this and when the salon's phone wouldn't stop ringing with enquiries for bookings, we raced out for the paper.
The phone did not stop ringing for 3 weeks straight. I was on my way.
The girls at the salon realised immediately the mistake they'd made in passing on the treatment and were soon making plans for my exit. It was the best thing they could have done for me. I opened my own space in one of Brisbane's main streets and I had an excellent relationship with the city's premier modeling agency. I quickly became the go-to girl for nail and spraytan grooming for photoshoots, ad campaigns and parades in, and coming out of, Brisbane.
Since then my work has appeared in all kinds of places (see 'WORK' page) - one shot (Catherine McNeil for Follow magazine) even randomly turned up on cycle 8 of 'America's Next Top Model', when Kane Skennar was shooting the final 3 models.
These days you can't walk into a beauty or hair salon without being able to get a spraytan booking to go with it - it is a bonafide beauty staple. Internationally, it's a multi-billion dollar industry. It changed my business, my career and my life (...all because my of best friend's devotion to all things new and beauty...).
Thinking back now, it's impossible to believe there was a time I couldn't even give one away...