North Texas Daily

Student tanning business bronzes up DFW

Student tanning business bronzes up DFW

Student tanning business bronzes up DFW
October 24
13:36 2013

John Jacob Hough / Contributing Writer

Starting a business just before graduation might seem risky for many college seniors, but for counseling graduate student Jacy Rader, the risks were worth the reward.

While she was a psychology senior at UNT in the spring of 2011, Rader started the mobile airbrush tanning company Bronze and Beautiful with her friend, Lucy Pegues. After she visited Pegues in California, she began training to give airbrush tans. Pegues runs another location of the company in California.

Rader was drawn to airbrush tanning because of a friend who had a potentially cancerous spot removed from her skin. After that, Rader vowed never to use a tanning bed again and started her business so others could do the same.

“That was definitely a reality check for us,” Rader said. “We wanted to find a way to promote spray tans as a healthy way for women to feel beautiful.”

Even with her upcoming graduation and the pressure of getting into graduate school, Rader quickly took charge of marketing Bronze and Beautiful and creating strong relationships with her customers in the DFW area.

With limited funds, Rader had to figure out how to get exposure without spending all of her money on advertising. She began sending emails to everyone she could, including friends, bloggers and newspapers in the hopes that people would be interested and spread the word about the new company.

“Once I was committed to it, it was going to work,” Rader said. “There was no way it would fail in my mind.”

In 2011, D Magazine took notice of Bronze and Beautiful and listed it as the Best Sunless Tanning in the “Best of Big D” issue.

“It was crazy that first year after winning Best of Big D,” Rader said. “I started getting up to five calls a day from people wanting to become new clients.”

Rader said Bronze and Beautiful is different from other tanning companies because it travels to the customers, allowing them to tan instantly in their own homes and without the danger of UV rays from traditional tanning beds.

Rader said she also takes special care to select the perfect mixture to match the skin tone of her customers.  Bronze and Beautiful also throws tanning parties where each party guest can get a spray tan.

Her stepsister, Megan Schroeder, a kinesiology junior and member of the Chi Omega sorority, threw a tanning party for her sorority before spring break. Schroeder said she thinks that Rader has more to offer than her unique services.

“The key to Jacy’s success is her personality,” Schroeder said. “She’s extremely outgoing and can make people feel comfortable even when they’re naked.”

Since being featured in D Magazine, Bronze and Beautiful has taken off and even earned another “Best of Big D” award for 2013. Rader says that in a good week she can see more than 20 customers, which amounts to between a $1,500 and $2,000 profit. Her profits have allowed Rader to put herself through graduate school.

Rader has managed to juggle running her own company with graduate school, while managing her finances alone. She’s currently in the third year of a clinical mental health counseling master’s program, which she will be graduating from in August.

“It’s great that she has that entrepreneurial quality, and has been able to balance that with school,” said Jonathan Ohrt, Rader’s counseling professor and adviser. “I think she can learn a lot from the business aspect and apply it to counseling.”

Her friends are also confident the business is beneficial to Rader’s future, but aren’t sure what path she will take.

“If Jacy wasn’t getting her master’s and wanted to make this her career, she could, but she’s getting her master’s for a reason,” said Angela Wynn, Rader’s college roommate. “Bronze and Beautiful will be as big or small as she wants it to be.”

Either way, Rader said she would love to stay involved with the business in some way after graduation, even if she commits to counseling full time.

For more information on Bronze and Beautiful visit

Counseling graduate student Jacy Rader started the mobile airbrush tanning company “Bronze and Beautiful” with her friend in 2011 when Rader was a psychology senior student. In 2011, D Magazine listed “Bronze and Beautiful”  as the “Best Sunless Tanning” in the “Best of Big D” issue. Feature photo by Zixian Chen / Staff Photographer

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