A quick search on eBay for "spray tanning" will return a few hundred results, the vast majority of which will be listed by a company called SprayTanPro. Founded in 2010 and operated from a garden shed, SprayTanPro is one of the trading names of Sienna Sol Ltd., who also own the spray tan brand 'SpaTan.'
SprayTanPro offer fantastic deals on certain items, but it's important to understand their business strategy and know which deals are good, and which are likely to be bad.
Deals too good to be true?
Currently sporting an image stolen from the Suntana website on their front page, SprayTanPro are known for anything but their business ethics. In 2012, for example, a kit from spray tan brand 'MyTan London' was featured on television. Thereafter, the brand advertised this specific kit as "as seen on TV" - not to be outdone, SprayTanPro immediately slapped the same claim all over their own kits, despite this being an obvious lie.
The company has also been in trouble in the past with brands such as MaxiMist, when they attempted to sell cheap Chinese imports onto customers, masquerading these as MaxiMist or Earlex models (this is by no means exceptional to SprayTanPro, however; LA Tanning became involved in a similar scheme).
It's no surprise, therefore, that Sienna Sol / Spray Tan Pro are known as the leeches of the industry. Letting other brands popularise new products, they prefer to then come in after the work is done and undercut everyone else, sometimes by selling a knockoff or inferior product, but sometimes not. The little market control that used to exist under the reign of MaxiMist and Earlex, has now given way to the short-sighted greed of Wagner, who have invested huge sums of money to practically monopolise a market that, paradoxically, they now look set to destroy.
SprayTanPro's current offers on Aura products, for example, are definitely the real deal. The fact that Wagner's brand new shiny Aura brand has been completely devalued before it even had a chance to get started is a great shame for the industry as a whole, but unfortunately, very much reflective of the current state of the British professional spray tanning market.
Unfortunately, trading standards within the spray tanning industry are almost non-existent. Unscroupulous brands can claim almost whatever they wish, with very little risk of repercussions. In fact, it was only after UK tanning brand Fresh Indulgence ran a widely shared article about the myth of the organic tan, that a number of brands finally took down erroneous claims from their websites and labeling (Nouvatan being a particularly notable offender in the false advertising department).
The long and short of it
SprayTanPro and other budget brands are good for:
- Genuine Wagner / Aura parts and spares, usually offering rock-bottom pricing on these essential items.
- A backup / secondary spray tan solution, for young clients or those looking to go extra dark, where brand name is not important.
Budget brands are not recommended for:
- Full spray tan kits, where certain essential items may be substituted with substandard products to save money (remember that every company buys standard brand name products wholesale at the same price - so if one is significantly cheaper than another, they are cutting corners somewhere), and ongoing support my be limited. We particularly recommend that you stay well clear of 'Kitty' spray tan machines, which are imported from China at less than £9 per unit, with no electrical safety assurances and a defect rate of around 60%.
- Your primary spray tan solution choice, where choosing a reputable brand to advertise your business with is essential to your success.
SprayTanPro began in 2010 as a spray tan solution brand, Sienna Sol. They grew to occupy the lower end of the market, and with their low overheads and willingness to put a lot of time into creating hundreds of listings for the tiniest of margins, it's a job they do particularly well. There are benefits to consumers when choosing companies like this for replacement parts and consumables, but they can quicky prove to be a false economy if chosen for a spray tan starter kit or as a primary solution brand.
In the longer term, brands such as this undermine the professional spray tan market as a whole. When clients can so quickly perform a Google search for "spray tanning" and see entire kits for £99, and litre bottles of tan for £20, it makes it difficult for professionals to charge sustainable amounts to customers for a spray tan. The days of £45 a spray tan are all but gone for all but the most exclusive beauty salons, with many mobile professionals charging as little as £15-20 a tan. Far from being the "fastest growing" market that SprayTanPro claim on their website, it should be termed the "most rapidly saturating market," because the constant downward pressure on pricing is simply unsustainable for all. Indeed, spray tanning for bodybuilders and performers is one of the only market segments which remains relatively safe, given that these clients and those that cater to them know that quality is paramount.
The parasitic relationship that lower end brands have with their market and indeed with their own customers is now mirrored in the behaviour of the major equipment suppliers. That low end brands have an endless supply of cheap products from China is a reality which is here to stay, but if anything is to change at all, industry standards have to be protected by those with the power to do so. So far, the only manufacturer showing any willingness to do this, is Tanning Essentials. Their equipment and spray tan starter kits have received significant financial investment over the past 24 months, taking an opposite trajectory in terms of equipment quality to other manufacturers and even tanning brands. By keeping its machines out of the hands of those who seek to devalue it, and maintaining brand value, Tanning Essentials enables its distributors to invest in the brand, safe in the knowledge that quality and support will be upheld for them and their clients for many years to come.