Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, Lewis Henry had a passion for marketing and business. Always a dedicated tanner, he had an interest and knowledge of the indoor tanning industry. Lewis combined his two passions as the President of Devoted Creations and has led his team effectively for 14 years. In a Smart Tan exclusive interview, he shares his views on the upcoming year and what makes Devoted Creations successful..
What are your hopes for Devoted Creations in the coming new year?
A: Well, this year should be our strongest year ever. In the past year we’ve had huge gains overseas and throughout Europe. Here in North America, we’ve had a lot of salons converting to selling Devoted Creations, and I think that has a lot to do with our training and support programs. Salons that have carried or converted to us have seen growth in a market that has had some tough times. Our growth has even happened among the decrease in salons over the last few years. Overall, I think we’re going to have a very positive year.
You recently launched several new products. Can you tell me about these?
A: We launched our product line in late September, which I think worked to our advantage. Since then, we’ve already had a lot of success with this line. I look forward to coming into 2016 since our salons and distributors are already raving about our entire product line. One particular product, Woke Up Like This, has been an amazing seller among consumers. It has proven itself already since September and many salons have reordered it multiple times since bringing it in. When a product is coming in this time of year in the last quarter and has already been reordered many times, you know it’s going to be a top-selling product for 2016.
Devoted Creations has made a great name for itself with its creativity, formulas and designs. How do you brainstorm these ideas?
A: The thing we strive to be known for is that we are first a skin care company and then that we create products that can be used for tanning. Our lotions are aloe vera based compared to other companies whose lotions are water based and that is what has set us apart from the competition since the beginning – the product itself.
Obviously our marketing and design creativity has been unmatched since our inception, but we have a great technique that works for us! Salon employees and owners have valuable information and input and we take notes on all of their feedback and review it before coming into next year’s line. We then take that information and give it to our distributors. We listen to our consumers and don’t put something on the market blindly. All of our products are vetted in their packaging, design and names before we even get into the formulations. How we go about brainstorming these ideas has made us successful.
What marketing techniques work best for Devoted Creations when it comes to promoting new products and product lines?
A: Our social media presence has been huge. We strive to be one of the first lotion companies to have our complete product line into the distributors’ warehouses and ready to ship every year, so when salons look for new products they’re looking at us.
We have a huge audience on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, which allows for the consumers themselves to access tons of information on our products. We post sneak peeks that get the actual customer excited about new products, which has been an excellent way to directly interact with consumers. We posted a teaser that was a behind the scenes look at our new model on a photo shoot and people loved it. We’ve also run contests when new products are released which gets salons and consumers excited about new lines.
Devoted Creations has a very close relationship with its Five Star Diamond Salons. Why is this relationship important to you?
A: Our Five Star Diamond Salons are like an extended family to us. The difference with them is that while every salon gets monthly promotions from manufacturers and distributors, ours actually get extra incentives, promotions and exclusives that no other salons receive in the country. This goes a long way, because these salons enjoy everything other studios have, but they have the added bonus of receiving exclusive and different promotions to pick from. This relationship increases their sales, inspires ideas, creates bottom lines and generates promotions for them to run in their salons.
Tell me how your team has developed successful in store training?
A: Our team is different than many others, because ours has always been comprised of training staff that have worked and managed tanning salons. Where a majority of other trainers have never been in a salon or managed one, we have. This gives us an advantage when we come into a store, because our trainers can relate to every single person. Be it the manager, salon owner or employee, we have done it all and this gives us a heads up; we know things that need to be addressed other than product knowledge and can provide feedback.
What are you most proud of when it comes to Devoted Creations?
A: I think I’m most proud of my team. When people ask me about our success I respond that it’s all about our teamwork. Everyone is involved in every facet of the process. From marketing to product design and formulations – we do it all. I’m proudest of how the team works together to come up with start to finish product lineups.