The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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‘Tans by Natalie’ Takes Over

Mobile, student-run tanning business expanding
Natalie Vitello began her spray tan business this past October.

Since the completion of the new-and-improved Bent Hall, students seem to be nurturing their entrepreneurial spirits both on and off campus.

Natalie Vitello is a senior marketing major, minoring in fashion studies.

Her entrepreneurial spirit grew outside of the classroom after developing her spray tan skills this past October.

Shortly after completing an esthetician program at Norvell University — an NYC-based school that specializes in sunless tanning — she decided to start her business.  

Vitello had a friend who started doing spray tans in Connecticut; this piqued Vitello’s interest since she’s always had a love for self-care and makeup.

“I’ve always been interested in makeup and airbrush spray tans ever since I was probably around six,” Vitello said, adding that she used to dance competitively and later got involved with cheerleading.

“Makeup and spray tanning was always a part of my routine prior to competitions. I think it’s so cool how something so small can impact a person’s confidence.

“Having glowing skin for any occasion instantly makes you more confident because when you look good, you feel good.”

Thinking it would be a good way to express herself through a business, she started a mobile beauty business, ‘Tans by Natalie,’ for which she travels to her customers.

“I am available in all five boroughs, and I drive to my clients,” Vitello said.

“The actual spray tanning is done is a portable pop-up tent, and I have my own spray tan gun with the whole process lasting about 15 minutes.”

Vitello’s tanning set-up consists of a portable pop-up tent and spray tan gun.

Vitello says that she doesn’t need a huge space to work, but there should be some ceiling height for the tent setup.

The spray tans last one week and every day it gradually fades on its own.

The day after is especially important to moisturize, which keeps the skin smooth and extends how long the tan lasts.

Vitello has already started building a clientele of her peers who love the idea of receiving a beauty treatment in the comfort of their own homes; she says she’s received positive feedback from clients.

“Sororities always have formal and semi-formal events, where girls want to have a nice tanned glow,” Vitello said.

“I also get a lot of girls right before vacations; Ideally, they will do it the day before and wash it off next day.”

Although most of her clients are from Queens, she has recently been booking jobs in Manhattan.

Vitello says she would reach out to potential clients and offer a discount for them to test the service; if they are pleased, she offers the service again at a discounted rate.

“I started out at a really affordable price point of $20, but when I started getting more customers, I raised it to $25.” Vitello said.

“After the process, I always let my clients know if they need a touch-up or any concerns, they can always reach out to me.”

On Instagram, her handle is @TansByNatalie; Vitello says that social media has been a great help in getting her business off the ground.

“It’s been such a useful tool for me!” She said. “I am always looking for inspiration and I try to emulate business models of successful entrepreneurs who’ve built a following from Instagram and through beauty posts.”

“When I first started out, I went to popular spray tan technician Instagram’s to follow their clients for networking. When I look up a hashtag, I usually search for key phrases like #beautyblogger, #nycfashionblogger or #nycmua, which stands for makeup artists.” Vitello said, adding that her work has led to immense business growth.

“It is so rewarding when people reach out to me. I just started in October and it’s already taking off through word of mouth,” Vitello said.

“My friends from St. John’s will tell their friends, then they will tell their friends, and so on.”

Vitello is looking to the future, where she hopes to open her own full-service aesthetics spa complete with facilities so customers can get spray tans, facials and other skin care treatments that she says can help make them feel beautiful.

“I always knew I wanted to start my own business, I knew I was born to be an entrepreneur,” Vitello said.

“I’ had tried so many paths in the past. And one day I just had this idea to make my own mobile spray tan business; two weeks later I bought all of the equipment, got certified, and now here I am.”


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