If indie beauty brand launches are any indication, self-tanning is a category due for real disruption. It was just over one year ago when jokes and commentary about indoor tanning gone awry and headlines like this one from Fitness Magazine began appearing in consumer publications: “Sunless Tanning Tips to Help You Avoid a Trump Tan.”
Now brand founders in the category, like Rowhanian and Pefferman, aren’t pulling any punches as they strive to update and improve self-tanning; so it stands to reason that at CleanTan they like to say “Think Dirty. Tan Clean.”
Here, beauty entrepreneur Tina Rowhanian shares a profile of herself and the brand.
Name: Tina Rowhanian, Co-Founder and Co-CEO
Indie Beauty Company: CleanTan USA
Launched: CleanTan prelaunched in April 2017 and will officially launch at the Indie Beauty Expo in LA, January 2018
Headquarters: San Diego, California
Cash flow: In the past 7 months since our soft launch, we have consistently doubled our online sales monthly, solely through word of mouth.
We have been ‘bootstrapping’ it since the beginning. We didn’t ask for a dime from friends, family, spouses, investors, or banks. We are proud that we have been profitable since day one due to our resourcefulness and relentless grit.
Team work: CleanTan has two Co-Founders Julie Pefferman and Tina Rowhanian, and 3 employees including our model, Katherine Miller, the current reigning Ms. CleanTan USA.
Distribution: We sell in North America through our own ecommerce site www.cleantanusa.com. We currently have an invitation to partner with a large online retailer that holds the same ‘clean’ standards as we do. We are actively seeking out a TV opportunity such as QVC/HSN because CleanTan is so easily demonstrated.
Years in beauty: 26 (in beauty, health, and wellness)
Years at CleanTan: Once we had a fully baked concept, two years. Most of that time was spent formulating and creating our brand/graphics/website/social media.
Entrepreneurial experience: 6 years ago I started my private skincare practice, Naked Skin Esthetics & Tan, as an owner operator. CleanTan is my first product venture, but I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, treating every job since I was fourteen like it was my very own business.
The business: CleanTan—a tan with benefits—is the only sunless tanner - worldwide - free of dyes, fragrance, penetration enhancers, and other B.S. (bad stuff!). It’s also the only 'all in one' travel-friendly tanner that can be used as a slow builder or get-ultra-dark-in-a-single-application. It lasts longer than a spray tan, helps repair past skin damage, and offers the consumer a new and refreshing brand identity that merges glamour, art, clean, industrialism, and a conscious lifestyle.
The customer: At CleanTan we think differently about our target consumer. The typical answer may have once been “the informed Caucasian female between the ages of 18 and 65,” but that doesn’t ring true today! We have found our consumer base includes men, ‘virgin’ self-tanners, people of color, and ALL ages. We are casting a wider net because our product breaks some of the typical barriers in the tanning industry.
Milestone moment: Our fans use our brand name as a verb! We hear people say they need to ‘CleanTan’ (vs. just tan), or asking others “how do YOU CleanTan?’.” We love that our consumers are making CleanTan synonymous with sunless tanning.
Advice for fellow indie beauty entrepreneurs: Many entrepreneurs stay in a silo. They put out a product and hope for the best. Waiting for reviews, sales, and organic customer feedback is no way to live!
I suggest that they engage with customers in a meaningful way and not be afraid to solicit feedback at any opportunity. I will even skype with a customer so I can see how they are using the product. Julie, my business partner, has to keep me from going door to door with CleanTan really. I solicit feedback about everything, from everyone, at every stage. She is like, “That guy at the gas station doesn’t need a tan, Tina!”
I think our product rocks because I make people feel comfortable sharing their genuine feelings about it, as well as our brand at large. It’s important to never stop asking for feedback, always remain humble, and not be fearful of what someone has to say that could make some aspect of your business stronger.
Just one: CleanTan Quickie Concentrate, for sure. It makes me feel younger, confident, more fit, and I often don’t need or want to wear make-up. I always say “CleanTan is really just a high-end antioxidant skin treatment that happens to tan the heck outta you!” It cocktails with my favorite oils and serums, and the gorgeous color provides the best camouflage for unsightly bumps, lumps, veins, and scars. It is my ONE go-to!