A UK tanning giant has opened its first-ever salon in London after four years of planning and preparation.
Indigo Sun has invested £500,000 into the new hi-tech facility that is part of The Old Dairy retail development in South Ruislip, creating eight jobs and bringing the firm’s total workforce to 958.
Its London venue comes closely after the Stirling-based company opened its 100th salon, with founder Frank Taylor intending to open a number of salons in the country’s capital.
Frank said: “It has always been a long ambition for us to create a salon in London, and after years of planning and research, we are delighted to have finally opened our doors to the public.
“The Old Dairy ticks every single box for us. It’s heavy footfall and parking options means that local tanners should be able to get quick and easy access to a holiday glow.
“It’s also great to be among some other big names on site, neighbouring the likes of Asda, Cineworld, Nando’s and The Gym, with McDonalds on the way. It is the perfect location to start our London offering.”
Formerly a Chiquito’s family restaurant, the new Ruislip salon is 1800sq ft and has been designed with an upmarket night club aesthetic. The salon has been fitted with 13 hi-tech sunbeds, with a further three to be installed over the coming months.
The salon is open seven days a week, 9am – 10pm Monday to Friday, and from 9am – 8pm Saturday and Sunday.
Frank added: “Part of the reason that dedicated tanning salons are growing in popularity is because of the cost and complexity of the equipment.
“Modern sunbeds now have features such as Bluetooth so that customers can connect their phones and play their own choice of music. They also have sophisticated aircon systems and sensitivity settings for specific skin types.
“We design our salons to have more sunbeds in them to reduce waiting times for customers while ensuring our staff have an in-depth knowledge on the use of sunbeds.”
Indigo Sun hopes the Ruislip premise to be the first of many as the firm continues to scout more prime London locations.
Frank said: “Once we have established what the market needs are in London, we will have a template for expansion in the city going forward.
“We offer a service which has convenience at its heart so the challenge is finding the correct sites, then branching out to create a profitable network, and with London’s property prices this can be tricky.
“However, we have so far followed a formula which has sprouted great success for us across the UK – and we expect London to be no different. Our goal is to have around 10 Indigo Sun salons in London within the next five years.”
The tanning chain’s strategy is built from population density and accessibility. Indigo Sun typically targets areas with a population of more than 100,000 as a starting point, and in bigger cities aims to create clusters of salons for more streamlined management.
From there, the firm pick’s locations which are close to main roads and have other amenities situated beside them – making their salons easily accessible for commuters.
Staff working at the Ruislip salon have received training through the Sunbed Association and have worked in Indigo Sun’s nearby Watford branch for hands-on experience.
Currently stretching from Inverness to London, Indigo Sun has more than 100 tanning venues across the UK, employing 958 people. Most of the salons are 1000-2000 sq ft.
In February, the firm reported its best-ever results, recording a turnover of more than £26m and almost £5.6m profit in its latest financial year. The end of lockdown saw customers return in such numbers that at peak periods in 2022 Indigo Sun was serving 140,000 people a week.
Founder Frank is a passionate advocate of safe tanning and is a supporter of the industry organisation The Sunbed Association, which seeks to battle misinformation about tanning salons and indoor tanning equipment.