So, I thought I’d tell you little bit about myself and my background and how I came about setting up Tanya Whitebits.
I’m Shoned and I’m the founder of the first Welsh Sunless Tan Company. Much to everyone’s amusement I’m more commonly mistaken for Tanya or #tanyanottanya! I’m happily married with twin girls and we have a pet dog who we refer to as our fur founder.
My early career was in Sports Development and I was involved in setting up Community Clubs. One that stands out was a local Amateur Boxing Club. I successfully helped them secure a development grant and find local premises to hold the sessions. There was a real buzz about the town with youngsters queuing up in anticipation for the grand opening. Sadly, just as the Club was about to open it’s doors for the first time the Club’s Head Coach suddenly passed away.
Unfortunately, the Club didn’t have qualified coaches to run the boxing sessions and so along with a few other volunteers I stepped in as the only female coach. We attended a course to ensure that the Club opened, and I became a key part of the committee. The Club continues to succeed with one boxer making it to the National Finals and I am proud to have been part of their early set-up.
I think I realised I had a stubborn streak back in the day when the Boxing Club nearly folded. Some committee members had resigned to closing the Club when the head coach passed away but I couldn’t see it fail as we’d come so far. I recognised some personal strengths back then in persuading some committee members to hang on in there and I had to put action to the plan by qualifying as a Coach to help them achieve this. My determination to follow things through has kept me in good stead whilst launching my own brand in Tanya Whitebits.
So back in 2012 my full-time work contract was funded, and we were suddenly informed that our work agreement was changing to an annual contract. I decided to pursue other options in case the funding stopped and since health, fitness and beauty come hand in hand, I naturally had an interest in the beauty Industry. I saw a gap in the market locally as nobody offered mobile spray tanning, so I attended an accredited Spray Tanning Course in order to set myself up as a mobile tanning technician and it fitted in perfectly around my full-time work and family. The service was called Tanya Whitebits Mobile Tanning as I wanted a fun catchy name and it was a personal catchphrase which I would refer to when tanning myself in the past. The name later became a registered trademark when the brand was born.
So, you’re probably wondering how the transition came from mobile spray tanning to developing my own product range?
It wasn’t a master plan, it was an idea that evolved from one to the next. I tried various products available on the market at that time, found some to be orange in appearance or sticky after application and so I decided to look into developing my own signature tan. I began to explore the formulation of sunless-tan and my focus came to reality in the creation of Tanya Whitebits Professional Spray Tan Solution, with original branding featured below.
However, it wasn’t that easy or simple, I didn’t just develop a tan and suddenly sales rocketed because in reality more doors closed than opened in the beginning. There can be an element of snobbery within the beauty industry and an unknown brand with a name compared to ‘marmite’ in the fact that you love it or hate it was never going to be easy.
In fact, early on it would have been easy to throw the towel in but I knew I was on to something good with a winning formula – I simply needed people to try it to see for themselves.
It’s been hard, relentless, difficult and there were sacrifices and struggles along the way but it’s worth it and I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved.
With perseverance, great testimonials, a faithful tribe and great social media engagement, I have grown through the help of my designated stockists, my fabulous customers and an online shop. I’ve learnt a lot along the way and even had investment interest from a couple of ex-global brand managers who gave me more confidence.
My highlight is getting this off the ground in the first place, I’m still pinching myself. I was never top of the class at school. I was very much middle of the road and I left school feeling a bit of a failure. I have since won Network She’s New Business of the Year Award, been a finalist at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards twice and I was also a finalist with the Chamber of Commerce Awards.
Acknowledgements like this along with 5* customer testimonials make it all worthwhile.
The future is very exciting, and I would love my brand to become a household name. I would like to develop into a global brand and become the UK’s number 1 tan and I have every faith that I’m going to get there.