Getting some of her earliest business knowledge right here in Rainy River District, former resident Nicole Hyatt is making a name for herself in the tanning business, with more than 30 “Tan On The Run” franchises in Canada, the U.S., and internationally.
And locals residents will have a chance to see Hyatt’s business in action when she is featured on this season’s “Dragons’ Den Second Chance Special,” airing next Wednesday (Jan. 7) at 8 p.m. on CBC.
“‘Tan On The Run’ was featured on the program a couple of times when [I] pitched my mobile spray tan business idea to the ‘Dragons,’” Hyatt explained, noting when she was first on the show in 2009, none of the “Dragons” made her an offer.
But when she returned in 2013, Hyatt had grown the business to eight franchises and two of the “Dragons” took notice.
David Chilton offered her $50,000 for 40 percent of the business while Jim Treliving offered her $50,000 for 50 percent of it.
Hyatt initially accepted Treliving’s offer because of his 40 years of franchising experience.
But after filming the episode, she gave the offer more careful consideration and decided giving up 50 percent of her business was too much so she declined it.
“So I just went on my own with it instead,” Hyatt said, noting next week’s special will be an update indicating she didn’t take the money after all.
“[It will] focus on the changes to and development of my business since the initial introduction to the ‘Den,’” she added.
Originally from Devlin, Hyatt also has lived in Fort Frances and much of her family still resides in Rainy River District.
She feels like she got some of her business smarts from her dad, Kevin.
“He owns a trucking company so I’ve always been around businesses,” Hyatt explained.
“I worked in his business in the office probably from the time I was 13.”
And she said she just stuck with jobs in business, eventually starting her own “Tan On The Run.”
When Hyatt moved to Toronto 12 years, she discovered that being a mom, it was difficult to get to a salon for a tan.
“I was the first one in Canada to create mobile airbrush tanning,” she remarked, saying she got the supplies, started advertising, and went to people’s homes to do the airbrush tanning.
The business has just grown from there.
Hyatt feels she made the right decision by declining the offers from the “Dragons.”
“It was a good idea not to take it,” she said. “For the last two years, I’ve basically just been travelling around Canada training people.”
Not only has the number of franchises grown (with locations as far away as Texas, Egypt, and Uruguay), many international celebrities have used products and services from “Tan On The Run.”
Some of the celebrities Hyatt has served include Wayne Gretzky, Fergie, Lady Gaga, Carly Rae Jepsen, New Kids on the Block, Leona Lewis, Paulie Shore, Kate Beckinsale, and the cast of the 2012 film, “Total Recall.”
“Tan On The Run” also has worked on the sets of Flashpoint, Covert Affairs, Being Erica, Matchmaker, Canada’s Got Talent, ET Canada, and Rich Bride, Poor Bride.
But despite her success, Hyatt said she’s grateful for all the support she’s received from her hometown.
“My grandma is 97 and she’s pretty excited about watching it,” she said about next week’s episode of “Dragons’ Den.”
She’s hoping local residents will take an interest in her business and learn a little about airbrush tanning.
“My product is organic, hypoallergenic, and vegan so it’s a safe way to tan,” Hyatt stressed, noting serious questions have been raised as to the health risks associated with the use of tanning beds.
She estimates in the next 10 years, tanning beds will become obsolete and airbush tanning will be the only safe method of tanning.
In the meantime, Hyatt hopes to continue to grow “Tan On The Run,” with a goal to have 100 franchises across Canada.
“I’m a third of the way there,” she enthused.
The closest “Tan On The Run” location to Rainy River District is in Thunder Bay and Hyatt hopes people check it out.
For more information, visit www.tanontherun.com
And be sure to watch Hyatt on the “Dragons’ Den Second Chance Special” on Jan. 7.