Vegan spray tan brand expands to include downtown Savannah storefront

Four years ago, the Savannah Morning News featured Michelle Peth and her revolutionary vegan spray tan, Beettan.

By Eden Turner at Savannah Morning News

Four years ago, the Savannah Morning News featured Michelle Peth and her revolutionary vegan spray tan, Beettan.

Since then, Beettan is sold in more than 280 retail locations nationally and is administered by over 100 women in their own spray tan locations. In September, Peth opened her first storefront location on Liberty St. and is opening her first brick-and-mortar this month.

Why did you start your company Beettan?

Peth: “[My original company] started with my sister because she had some skin cancer scares as a teenager. Beettan came because I… just really wanted a product that was simplified and easy not only for the customer, but also for me — the sprayer.

“When you give some people too many choices it can be overwhelming… Simplifying it just made the woman feel comfortable instead of so overwhelmed with all of the choices. I cleaned up the ingredients. We have all clean, organic ingredients. I wanted my customers to feel comfortable, happy and confident with the product and the spray-tanning process.

“I met a beauty chemist through a friend of my mom’s… and she helped me. That’s kind of how Beettan was born. The ‘beet’ [of the name] comes from the active ingredient that we went with. It’s derived from sugar beets.”

How has the experience of owning a business changed you?

Peth: “Confidence… I was a bartender and got my real estate license and then, Beettan was born. My Savannah community gave me confidence. They validated [my work], and then I ran with it. I think it gave me the confidence to have something that’s all on my own.

“Others saw that, and not only did they trust it on their skin, but it’s also now because of the Savannah community. Truly, it’s a nationwide company. I have 142 girls that I’ve now taught how to spray the product on. It’s [been] really cool to carry that confidence and then teach it to someone else and watch them grow and thrive from something that I started. It’s empowering for me, and then to pass it along has been life-changing.”

So, you’ve signed over 100 partners nationally. What has that experience been like?

Peth: “I have 142 girls [that] go through a training process and business coaching based on my success and experience here in Savannah. Whether they want to do it part-time, full-time or just need something that makes them feel good, that’s the business model. I kind of made it up myself.

“I want to support, encourage and empower anyone who’s going to believe in my product and coach them to grow into that—much like I did here in Savannah. Here, I have a location and two employees who help spray tan at our very own storefront.”

Tell us more about the new Liberty Street store?

Peth: “I wanted to attach myself to [Drayton Towers], because I love the building. I was the realtor for almost everyone who lived there, then I curated [the] space to be women-owned… I had my eye on the spot connected to Ōtium Savannah forever, because it’s a wellness space. It made sense because I’m a wellness brand because my product is clean… a good match, in my opinion.

“When that spot opened I jumped on it as quickly as possible, and here I am. [The experience] has been so amazing. I carry other [female-owned] brands, women I’ve met at trade shows. I’ve met some really wonderful women during that journey, so I have some other brands as well based on that whole experience.”

In just eight years, you’ve achieved so much. What’s next for you?

Peth: “I’m just going to keep growing my company. I have 16 cities that I’d like to mimic exactly what’s working here in Savannah, and then have a brick-and-mortar for training, picking up product and selling retail. I love seeing my products on the shelves of other boutiques. Like I said, it’s amazing to me that I’m in 300 stores, but I’d love to be in 3,000.

“I’ve grown so much in just two years. I love working with the boutiques that are selling my product. We’re really involved not only with our spray tan partners, but also with our wholesalers. That part is so fun to me.

“Of course, I want to be financially successful, but the feeling and the love I have for my company… I’d do it free, and I’m not even joking! That part is my favorite.”

A lot of college students have started their own businesses, especially in a niche where there isn’t a lot of the same product they wish to sell. Do you have any advice for those up-and-coming entrepreneurs?

Peth: “Trust yourself. Trust yourself through the process and don’t stop. Just keep moving onward… because there are hard times. You learn from every hard moment in business just like in your personal life. You have to be able to grow, move, pivot and adjust… all those things.

“I think the hardest times for me were when I second-guessed myself. [It turns out that] I actually could do it, and so can they.”

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