At GlamCandy, we know the struggles of building a business all too well. From financial struggles, to production and sales setbacks – building a business, becoming successful and maintaining it can be incredibly difficult. Many people will come across a brand at the peak of their success, without any idea of the work it’s taken to get to that point. We spoke to fake tanning specialists Bronzie about their journey to success (and the bumps along the way).
Founded in 2014 by Leanne LeGuen, a former beauty therapist, she had a vision for a garment that would change the face of self-tanning. With one too many stained t-shirts and bed sheets, and the abundance of clients ruining their freshly sprayed tans with skinny jeans – the idea of the Bronzie Jumpsuit was born. A garment not limited to just post-tan use, but a fashionable and comfortable loungewear item perfect for any time of day. Leanne said, “The jumpsuit took around 18 months to be developed and first of all, I obviously had to find a fabric that wouldn’t stick to the tan.
“When I came up with the idea, I had to think about the fact that you can’t wear deodorant and can sweat a lot after a spray tan, so finding the perfect fabric was essential.”
It was crucial to Leanne that Bronzie‘s sizing was inclusive and she wanted to ensure the jumpsuits were available to every size and shape. She said, “Getting the sizing right was really important to me and we’ve now got three sizes ranging from an 8 to a 24 – which is quite genius in itself.
“We’ve heard so many times that bigger bodies tan too, and they absolutely do! So, we wanted to make ourselves as inclusive as possible, because every girl and guy should be able to tan – no matter what size.”
Leanne’s dedication to creating luxury, high-quality products reflected in the popularity of her jumpsuits and tan accessories, and in 2019 she began formulating her most exciting products yet – a ‘faux tan’ line. Using Australian manufacturers, where fake tanning is encouraged over soaking up the sun and with sunbeds having been banned across the country since 2015, Bronzie developed an olive-toned, beautifully fragranced tan with skin enhancing benefits to boot.
Leanne said, “It took us around 2 years to develop and it was really important to me that the tone and scent of the tan were perfect, because no one wants orange skin, or the typical smell so many dislike.
“A lot of brands out there are targeting a younger audience with tan that is way too dark for their skin tone – and tan isn’t about that! It’s about looking realistic, you don’t want to look like you’ve had a spray tan, you want to look like you’ve been on holiday.”
Launching the Ultimate Fake Tan range was a hugely successful moment for Bronzie, however it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the brand. With no business or branding experience, the business got off to a rocky start when it came to aesthetics and advertising. She began to seek guidance from branding consultancy company Propaganda to boost the companies look, social media reach and sales.
Leanne said, “Looking back, the initial branding was a really difficult part of Bronzie and was probably my biggest pitfall, I didn’t understand branding at all. Now, I’m in a totally different situation, with the help of Propaganda we are on a completely different level now to where we were – I’m such a perfectionist now!”
Rebranding allowed Leanne to view Bronzie in a brand new, more professional light. It was then that business began to boom, a turning point for the company Leanne had worked so hard to build. However, Bronzie’s success didn’t come easily, and she did it all without the industry contacts. She said, “I think it’s really tough, because a lot of brands already have someone successful in the industry to push their brand, but for me it’s been the complete opposite – I started in my bedroom, stocking the garage with products.
“Then all of a sudden you’ve managed to get yourself a house, everything is a milestone along the way and you build on to it.”
With growing her brand in mind, marketing Bronzie’s products was often difficult financially after the expense of development. She said, “A lot of brands have to rely on good people in the industry to help, and want you to push the brand through avenues such as gifting. It takes a lot longer to get to where we’re going because we don’t have a big pot of money, so it’s much more difficult for a smaller brand.”
From the beginning, one of Leanne’s main focuses was to curate luxurious, expensive-feeling products – without the sky-high price point. Of course, this grabbed her customers attention, however creating such high quality products can also come with its downsides. She said, “I’ve found it quite difficult to run a business with such high quality products, don’t get me wrong – I love that about the brand.
“But that’s the thing, luxury is what I want us to be known for, I’m so proud of the fact people are saying they are such good quality that they last for years, it’s such an achievement. But from a business point of view, it’s been a struggle because our customers don’t often repurchase due to this.”
With a customers approach to her product development and design, Leanne is very particular about how it makes both her and her customers feel. It’s well known that a layer of tan can really boost someones confidence and give the skin a healthy glow – and she thinks that it’s very important with the body ideals many often feel they have to conform to in order to feel good about themselves. She said, “There is so much pressure on people nowadays, but that bit of tan can make someone look in the mirror and feel good, they beam health.
“Sometimes there’s nothing better than putting your tan on and feeling good about yourself.”