Nearly a decade ago, Lauren Rampello Becotte noticed the need for improvement in at-home and professional tanning services. The sunless tanning industry is huge in southern California, and splotchy or orange-toned options are less than desirable.
It was that desire for a natural-looking, organic sunless tanning option that led Rampello Becotte to start Pure Glow, an airbrush tanning concept.
“It’s going to take some time for people to get comfortable because … there will always be lower-quality products available, whether that be at home or in a professional setting,” Rampello Becotte said. “But one of the reasons that we are growing so fast is that we’re quickly changing people’s mind and helping them understand that there is quality, it does exist out there and it can look very similar to the real thing.”
Pure Glow received $1.4 million in seed funding to expand nationwide through franchising. Rampello Becotte founded Pure Glow in 2015. The Boston-based company has two locations open and another on the way in Massachusetts. The company has already signed its first franchisee for a Phoenix store.
Pure Glow’s formula is non-toxic and smell-free, along with lasting longer than typical spray tans or at-home fake tans. The airbrush tan reacts with skin’s melanin so it mimics a natural tan, rather than an unnatural, orange-tinted color. The effects should last eight to 10 days, compared to most sunless tans’ two to three days.
Pure Glow looks for operators who value their team members and value quality customer service. “We’re really going after multi-unit owners who really understand what it takes to be successful,” Rampello Becotte said. “We offer a really focused and straightforward—and seemingly a lot easier to operate—business model. … We think that there’s a huge opportunity in the beauty space when it comes to Pure Glow.”
Sean Bock, a Pure Glow investor and the brand’s chief development officer, invested about a year ago to help the company “become a national brand,” Bock said. “We want to do it in the most financially responsible way.”
Meeting Rampello Becotte is what sealed the deal for Bock. Learning how she led her business through pandemic-related struggles showed Bock her passion and ability, he said. “She’s got grit, she’s got determination, she’s smart,” Bock said. “Combine that with the business itself and the problem that it’s trying to solve, it was a marriage of one plus one equals three.”
Bock has experience working as an in-house attorney for Cold Stone Creamery, the vice president of franchising for Drybar and the franchising president at Heyday. At Drybar, he essentially started the brand’s franchising from scratch. Over his six years with the company, he grew the franchise so well that the board wanted to sell corporate-owned locations to franchisees.
With any beauty brand, employees are at the core of the company, Bock said. Happy employees “deliver great experiences for the client,” he said. At Drybar and Heyday, he noticed franchisees make connections with their employees—something that’s harder to accomplish with corporate stores, he said. “From a metrics perspective, franchisees just do a better job.”
The initial investment required to open a Pure Glow studio ranges from $335,700 to $661,850, according to the company’s website. The royalty fee is seven percent and the brand development fee is one percent. Studios are 800 to 1,200 square feet. Each location employs six to eight employees, most of which work part-time.
The seed funding met Pure Glow’s goal, Bock said. Now, the company has goals for the $1.4 million: elevate marketing, create a new design prototype and recruit internal team members. For Bock, the number of markets isn’t as important as the quality of franchise partners, he said.
“Part of the seed raise is allowing us to be more selective. We’re not using franchise sales outsourced team,” Bock said. “We want to make sure that people we bring on board are really going to make a huge difference.”