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Emily Turner’s Custom Airbrush Tanning Venture at Golden Hour

Written by:

Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

Emily Turner’s Custom Airbrush Tanning Venture at Golden Hour

In this interview with Emily Turner, the dynamic entrepreneur behind Golden Hour, a bespoke airbrush tanning studio in Denver, we delve into the inspiring journey of this business. From overcoming initial challenges to setting new standards in the tanning industry, Emily shares her experiences and insights. We explore her motivations, the unique approach to customer service, and the future aspirations for her thriving business. Join us as we uncover the story of Golden Hour, a testament to entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to excellence in personal care services.”

Emily Turner

The Journey to Entrepreneurship

Can you share the story behind the formation of your business?

When I first moved to Denver, I was looking for things to help this new town feel like home. One of those places was a spray tan studio. I went to several places in town, and while the tans turned out great, there was something missing. I was looking for more than just a good tan. I was looking for connection and an elevated experience. Since I saw that void, I decided to curate a spray tan experience that was exactly what I was looking for, hopeful that other people may want that as well. Since September 2019, we have grown into a six figure business with 6 people working on our team. 

Overcoming Early Challenges

What challenges did you face in the initial stages of your business, and how did you overcome them?

Opening the business within a year of living in Denver presented its own challenges, since I didn’t know many people here yet. A lot of ground work was put in to build our community quickly but it still didn’t seem like it could grow fast enough. Then the unimaginable happened (or at least not what was in my first year of business plan) and COVID created a new reality for small business owners. We shut down for 3 months, and had months of hardship ahead of us. We were able to persevere through the unprecedented times and saw the turn begin to happen in 2021. Since then, we have seen steady growth and continue to push the company toward more.

Distinctive Approach

How do you differentiate your services in your market?

This is not your average spray tan. We start with a color consultation to make sure your expectations are aligned with the service, and then we take it from there. We color match your skin tone to assure an even and natural looking tan. Our technicians go through 50 hours of training to know how to work with different skin tones, body types, and skin conditions. But the best part is that the moment you walk in the door, it’s an easy experience for our clients. Our team is here to talk you through everything and make sure you feel at ease and comfy through the entire process. 

A Day in the Life of an Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, what does a typical day look like for you?

Every day is different! I don’t feel like I fit the mold of what most people think an entrepreneur is. I don’t wake up at 5am, I don’t have a super strict routine that I follow, but I do have my daily priorities. Sometimes I am up at 6:30 for a morning walk and sometimes I work from my bed until noon (balance). Each day, I try to check a few things off my ever evolving to do list, prioritize movement (walking, dance classes, running, etc) and heading into the store on the days that I’m tanning (and even on the days that I’m not). 

Inspiration to Innovate

What was the driving force or the main motivation behind starting your own business?

There wasn’t really any big force, it was kind of a right place right time moment. I was interested in getting out of the career I was in (event planning) and working for myself sounded like it was going to be for me. I found the space rental on Craigslist and from there the rest was history. 

Choosing an LLC

What made you decide to form an LLC for your business?

I formed an LLC to protect myself and create a reputable business. With the growth we have had, we will be moving to an S-Corp next year.

Team Building Insights

How did you build your team? What qualities do you look for when hiring employees?

I look for people that are passionate, personable, responsible, and have good energy. I cannot say enough good things about the team at golden hour. They truly make my job as a boss so easy. Hiring & finding good employees can be difficult, but I believe in being picky and trusting my gut. 

Golden Hour team

Acquiring Initial Clients

How did you find your first customers, and how have your marketing strategies evolved since then?

Our biggest marketing strategy is word of mouth. When you provide a great service and treat your clients well, they are so quick to recommend you to their friends and family. As I am stepping away from more time behind the spray tan gun, I am looking to continue to grow our marketing strategies in 2024 to have a bigger reach in Denver.

Essential Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

What advice would you give someone considering starting a small business today?

Things are never going to turn out the way you think. And it’s not something you can prepare for. There will be ups and down and sometimes you’ll question and doubt yourself more than you thought possible. But you can only control so much, and within that control is where your power lies. Know your business, trust yourself, and keep going. On the other side of every struggle is another win and on the other wise of every win is another struggle. 

Reflecting on Business Structures

If you had the chance to start another business, would you choose the same structure again? Why or why not?

The structure of our business works well for the services we provide but we are constantly evolving to make things better. As the business grows, the way that we do business also changes. It would depend on the other business if I were to choose the same structure. 

Vision for the Future

What are your future goals?

We have big goals and big things coming. We hope to be a pillar in the spray tan community and in our Denver community. The only way to go from here is up!


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Emily Turner’s Custom Airbrush Tanning Venture at Golden Hour