The first time Nicole Hyatt went to pitch her business idea on the popular CBC television show Dragons’ Den in 2009, she was told it wasn’t going to make any money.
But the Keele Street and St. Clair Avenue area resident didn’t quit on her mobile spray tan business as evidenced in a recent update segment of the show that aired earlier this month.
“It was kind of a learning curve,” admitted Hyatt, who then worked with a few chemists and dermatologists to develop a hypoallergenic, odourless spray tan. “It lasts a good amount of time and it doesn’t smell funny.”
She initially got the idea for her business when she realized the challenge of going to a tanning salon as a single mother and bringing her son, who was one at the time.
“When you’re going to a tanning salon, you’re at your worst,” added Hyatt, explaining most ladies would have to come without makeup.
With the mobile spray tan, clients can stay in the comfort of their own homes and the whole process takes just 15 to 20 minutes.
Armed with a better product and eight franchises, Hyatt returned to the Dragons’ Den on a second chance show and was offered $50,000 for a 50 per cent stake in her company Tan On The Run.
She initially accepted the offer from businessman and “dragon” Jim Treliving, but changed her mind after having second thoughts about giving up half of the company. It turned out it was the right choice.
Hyatt continues to run her business with 33 franchises across Canada and recently expanded internationally in the past two years to places like Egypt, Greece and Uruguay.
While the target market is for those between 30 and 55 years of age, she noted her oldest client is 76. Other clients include those who participate in fitness shows.
For new entrepreneurs, Hyatt advised that whatever it is they want to pursue, make sure they really like to do it as well.
“So it doesn’t feel like it’s work,” she said. “And stick to it and stay excited and active about it.”
Ten years after she started Tan On The Run, Hyatt said she’s still promoting her business and her product.
For more information, visit www.tanontherun.com