Park Center Graduate Innovates Spray Tan Industry with GoGLOW
Melanie Richards, founder and CEO of a Minnesota-based tanning company, is innovating an industry that she said was due for a refresh.
Richards founded GoGLOW as a mobile sunless tanning service in Minnesota in 2010. Since then, it has only grown.
“You know, a girl from Brooklyn Park has made it this far in the sense of spreading her wings,” Richards said.
Glowing from Within
Richards’ career started away from the spray tan booth as a probation officer. After receiving a degree from University of Minnesota-Duluth, Richards worked in that role for 12 years.
She eventually shaped her own position at Hennepin County where she and a team advocated for victims of domestic violence.
“It’s very difficult triaging. You’re dealing with violence, pure violence, every single day,” Richards said.
The creativity she used to create that position helped more women and families.
“With my background, being raised by a single mother and really having that ‘Work hard and keep going!’ mentality, it’s great to give that back to the community,” Richards said.
After many years in that position, Richards was looking to help in a different way.
“I was just looking for something different, something more creative,” Richards said. “I went to Aveda.”
Driven to Succeed
Richards enrolled in Aveda Institute’s Esthiology program and took classes after work. She wasn’t planning to take it on full time.
But eventually Richards dove head-first into the world of tanning. She said she spent her savings on a tanning system and began doing meticulous tanning sessions on friends and family.
“You’ll find with me, I just don’t have an off switch,” Richards said. “I’m just going to keep going!”
And kept going she did: eventually moving from a mobile tanning service to a storefront in Edina.
Now, GoGLOW has its own product line and locations throughout the Twin Cities and outside the state.
“‘Boss Lady,’ I feel like, is Mel to a T. She is a very strong, empowered woman,” said Alex Hvorick, a spray tan specialist at GoGLOW’s Maple Grove location.
Hvorick runs her own eyelash extension business on top of her work at GoGLOW. She said she looks up to Richards’ business sense and her drive to help women feel their best.
“Seeing people when they look at themselves in the mirror and are like: ‘Wow! I feel so much better about myself.’ I feel like that’s my favorite part,” Hvorick said. “Empowering women and having them feel better about themselves.”
Today, there are GoGLOW locations in Edina, Maple Grove and the North Loop. Outside Minnesota, there’s also a spot in Chicago. Just this last year, GoGLOW started franchising its stores across the country. Since then, a new storefront opened in Frisco, Tex.
More information about Richards’ story, products and store locations are available on the GoGLOW website.