Many of you know my story. If you don't, please read on. I'd like to share it.
I got in my first tanning bed when I was in eighth grade. Eighth grade! I was fourteen years old. My mother and I went to the local tanning salon together. I wanted to be tan. She wanted to be tan. It was something we did together.
I used tanning beds throughout my high school years, especially for formal dances, cheerleading season, show choir season... basically the whole year. I would go to school, then go tanning. I would go to work, then go tanning. It was part of my routine. Lotion? Check. Tanning goggles? Check. Heart-shaped sticker? Check.
I continued to use tanning beds throughout my college years at Iowa State University. I hopped around from the local tanning salon, to the inexpensive stand up tanning beds inside a hair salon to the really cheap tanning bed inside Suds N' Duds. Yes, I tanned inside of an Ames laundromat. That sounds a bit more sketchy now than it did back then.
With degrees in Advertising and Art & Design, I worked for several years in graphic design, advertising sales, marketing and event planning. My last corporate job eliminated my department and moved the work to California. It didn't come as a surprise. I continued working as a freelance graphic designer, specializing in custom wedding invitations, until my world changed.
My father was diagnosed with skin cancer. I asked how, I asked why? He has never been in a tanning bed, nor would consider that. He has always loved to go fishing, go boating and work in the yard. As a kid, he probably didn't wear sunscreen. They didn't do that back then. It didn't matter what had been done, or had not been done. The damage was done.
After seeing what he went through to treat the cancer on his face, I vowed to give up tanning beds. Right then, right there. That vow was made six years ago. I promised to take care of my skin and help promote sunless tanning.
The skin cancer on my dad's face was near is right eye. It was deep. I remember my mom telling me if they cannot treat it how they need to, they might have to remove his eye. That hit me hard.
Giving up tanning beds seemed to be a good idea, right? Well, it was great until I was pale again. Now what? I used sunless tanning products and couldn't find one that didn't smell rotten or give me unnatural color and palms that resembled the inside of a Cheetos bag. I also tried the automatic spray booths. Those experiences are for another post.
I purchased an airbrush gun, then came across a woman selling spray tan equipment on Craigslist. Here was my chance to do my own at-home DIY spray tan. I had my first HVLP spray gun, pop up tent, extraction fan and started trying out solutions. Little did I know, I was about to launch my own small business, Emberglow. After seeking out training with the best in the sunless industry, I was certified and ready to glow. I sprayed my girlfriends, family and my husband got in on it too. He's the only male I allow to spray tan in his birthday suit.
Almost five years and thousand of custom spray tans later, I am confident that there can be blessings that come from trials. I love that I get the chance to promote healthy, sunless tanning, the chance to share my story and celebrate life with my clients.
So, when people ask me "Why spray tanning?" For me, it started with a vow.
Wondering what is so special about custom spray tans? Nervous about trying one? I would encourage you to book a session with me and see what it's all about. I guarantee you'll wonder why you didn't try it sooner!