Source Island Sun Times 10/06
By providing salon professionals with access to savings on lotions, equipment and accessories, the Indoor Tanning Buyers Group aims to live up to its slogan, “There’s power in numbers.”
by John P. Ribner
David Kenney founded the Indoor Tanning Buyers Group in February 2006 with one purpose – to help fellow tanning salon professionals be more profitable. As a buyers group is designed, the ITBG offers its members savings on lotion and equipment purchases. Surely, that would be enough to attract many tanning pros to swell the group’s ranks; but David has even bigger plans. In its ongoing efforts to help salon operators be more profitable, he sees his Indoor Tanning Buyers Group evolving into a think-tank of salon professionals whose goal is to share ideas to help everyone’s business as a whole. With 50 members and growing, the group is definitely off to a good start!David Kenney first had the notion to create the ITBG while he was attending the Indoor Tanning Association World Expo 2005 in Nashville. “At the shows, you have all these salon pros making deals on lotion, equipment and accessory purchases,” explained Kenney, who manages the Philadelphia-based TanTopia Tanning Centers salon chain. “A group of us began discussing the different deals we secured, and one thing jumped out at all of us – there were huge differences in what each of us had. This got me thinking about forming a buyers group that would look out for salon owners and help to level the playing field so that everyone was able to get the best deal possible.”
Inspired by his idea, David began cold-calling other salon pros after returning home from the show. “I really just wanted to get a feel for what other owners thought about this idea,” he said. “The response was very positive, and I discovered that there were others out there who felt the same way I did. At that point, I knew I wanted to go forward with this idea because not only would it help salon pros, but it would also help to make the industry stronger by creating long-term customer relationships between salons, distributors and manufacturers.”
In forming the ITBG, David enlisted the help of his friend Matt Rieth, who has valuable experience as the organizer of buyers groups in other industries. “As Vice President of Sourcing, Matt researches all of the industry’s manufacturers and suppliers and works to secure the best prices on various products,” David explained. “In addition, he also obtains special promotions for our group that are above and beyond what is currently being offered to salon pros.” Founded in February, the ITBG currently has more than 50 salon members, and works with multiple national distribution companies that offer most major brands of lotions, equipment and accessories. “Several manufacturers have shown interest in the concept and want to work with us to improve the deals we can offer our members,” David added.
Becoming a member of ITBG involves no hassle, headache or red tape – joining is simple and free. And best of all, there are no minimum orders or hidden costs involved, according to David. Salon owners interested in joining the group simply have to log onto its website and submit their information, including signing a statement that certifies they are a salon owner. “Unauthorized Internet sales are something that we are against, so I personally verify each person who requests membership,” David commented.
Saving tanning pros money is but the first way David plans to utilize the ITBG to help make fellow salon owners more profitable. “I can see this growing in the future to become a group that gets together each year to brainstorm and discuss ways to be more profitable by determining what’s working and what’s not, and helping each other to continue being successful,” David said. “This two-pronged approach will help all our members in the short and long term and help make the group and the industry stronger.”
For more information about the Indoor Tanning Buyers Group, visit www.indoortanningbg.com or call 267.987.5504.