Young entrepreneur: 18-year-old owns Federal Way tanning salon

Stephanie Burton, age 18, owns Hollywood Tan, which opened last March in Federal Way. - Andy Hobbs/The Mirror
Stephanie Burton, age 18, owns Hollywood Tan, which opened last March in Federal Way.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/The Mirror

At age 18, Stephanie Burton is a full-fledged entrepreneur.

Burton owns Hollywood Tan, which opened last March in the Twin Lakes area.

Since opening the salon, she has become a student of the tanning industry. She keeps informed of the latest technology and products, such as bulbs and lotions. Some bulbs emit a type of ultraviolet light that causes fewer wrinkles, she said. The tanning beds themselves can range from $5,000 to more than $10,000.

"Tanning beds are like cars. The minute you turn it on, it goes down in value," said Burton, a Northeast Tacoma resident.

Hollywood Tan features six tanning beds, including a stand-up tan booth. Burton wants to add an airbrush tan service in the future.

She enjoys seeing customers perk up after a tanning session, which provides extra exposure to ultraviolet light in sun-starved Washington state.

"One tanning session gives you as much Vitamin D as 100 glasses of milk," she said.

Her father, Alfred Burton, helped launch the business. He offers advice and works the front desk, but his daughter runs the operation.

"She has a talent for getting people to make a purchase," said Alfred, who encouraged Stephanie to join the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce. "I'm in here helping her and listening to her ideas."

For Stephanie, her age can be an obstacle.

"A lot of people don't take me seriously because I'm 18," she said, noting that people tend to defer to her father whenever they're together.

Alfred Burton acknowledges that dilemma, but said his daughter has proven her mettle.

"Whenever I go with her, the people tend to talk with me and not Stephanie," Alfred said. "Hollywood Tan is solely owned by her. As a father, I back her up."

Burton, who also works a few days a week at Third Dimension Salon in Federal Way, would like to eventually pursue a degree in marketing or small business management. That said, her current gig is an ongoing educational opportunity.

"I learn something new every day," Burton said Burton, a 2009 graduate of Fife High School. "I'm learning what more I can do to get you a better tan."

Her favorite part of the business is watching customers leave satisfied and happy.

"I'm more of a people person. I get to know my customers on a personal basis," she said.

She offers simple advice to potential young business owners:

"If you have a dream or a passion, go for it. Just be confident if it's something you're doing that you love."

Learn more

Hollywood Tan is open seven days a week at 2500 SW 336th St., Suite D, Federal Way. To learn more, e-mail or call (253) 815-9000.

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