A healthy glow is unmistakable. It transcends the sleep we haven’t gotten, the vegetables we’ve been forgetting to eat, and that cold we haven’t been able to kick all season. Moreover, a little radiance to our skin can totally change not only our mood, but also our resilience to the chaos happening all around us. There is truly no stopping a woman who feels confident with the “glow” from her own skin. Melanie Richards knows these truths all to well and set out to empower women with the power of “goGlow.”
Melanie Richards path to the beauty industry has been anything but glamorous. Her mother had Melanie and her sister as a high schooler, but never missed a beat. Her mother’s tenacity and dedication to being a present and responsible parent – while also putting herself through college – inspired a similar determination in Melanie. Melanie’s grandfather was an equally inspiring role model to her. He dedicated his life to protecting others as a highway patrolman, and Melanie was molded by his model of relentless service.
Carrying her family’s ideals with her, Melanie went on to college to criminology, psychology, and sociology. Afterwards, she moved out to California to work in a juvenile delinquency center. She passionately strived to better the lives of the young people she worked with, and acted as an advocate and role model for them. But, as it does, the state of Minnesota beckoned Melanie home. She returned to the Twin Cities, and worked in corrections. She found her niche in victim services, and worked to empower and counsel women within the corrections system.
Her diverse work in corrections would set Melanie off on a path of advocacy and compassion that permeated all of her future adventures. Eventually, she felt called to help others in an entirely different capacity. While she poured her heart into her career and developing the individuals she worked with, Melanie found herself yearning to develop her innate skills and interests further to better serve others.
A lifelong beauty junkie, Melanie began to attend the Aveda Institute at night after work. Her work in victim services during the day carried into her evening classes; Melanie’s sensitivity to women from all backgrounds and walks of life made her specially equipped to flourish the beauty world. When beauty school graduation rolled around, it was a celebratory trip to Mexico which spurred a grand idea in Melanie’s mind. In preparation for her vacation, she searched the area for the very best spray tan at the most affordable price. She quickly realized there was a need for this exact type of service; why not be the person to fill it?
In her own words: How it started.
goGLOW is Born… Along with a Baby!
Starting a spray tan business brought together Melanie’s passion for beauty and female empowerment. Who doesn’t feel instantly more beautiful with an added glow? However, like any entrepreneur can attest to, building a business doesn’t guarantee the owner a full-time job right away. For many, it all starts as a side hustle. In 2011, Melanie continued to work full time in corrections, and worked her side gig after hours. From sunrise to sundown, Melanie diligently poured herself into raising up women – whether they came from a background of abuse or addiction, or were simply gearing up for a trip and in need a small confidence boost. In the very beginning, goGLOW was
just Melanie, her van, and her dog traveling to client homes whenever she wasn’t at the office. It was a grind, and the heaviness of her day job often drained her – but giving customers a beautiful, healthy tan renewed her soul. Eventually, she thought, “Why not try this thing full time?”
Around the same time she was considering taking goGLOW full time, Melanie was a happy and exhausted newlywed. And as if she wasn’t busy enough, she also found out she was pregnant at this same crucial moment. She had been weighing a full career switch for a while, but taking that jump into the unknown is always unnerving. All this chaos and change at one time in Melanie’s life spurred her to simply embrace the uncertainty. She realized she would “find out how to do it” as she goes. “You just get it done.”
Throughout her pregnancy, she continued to work and develop goGLOW into a fully fledged business. She hired her first employee before the end of 2011, and they hustled to build goGLOW into a reputable area business. It took off quicker than they could have imagined; one van became two, and before long, Melanie was scouting for a brick-and-mortar location. The rapid success of goGLOW can be directly traced to the quality of the product and level of
experience Melanie demanded. It was a tenacity she inherited from her mother. Moreover, those early seeds of service that her grandfather instilled in her were now given space to bloom; the void left when she walked away from corrections was quickly repopulated with beautiful new relationships and opportunities to serve.
Only the Best
To Melanie and goGLOW, spray tans are an art. Spray tans are a science. Spray tans are a vehicle for empowerment. To create the best possible experience, Melanie has sought to perfect the spray tan application and formula. When goGLOW was first conceived, getting a spray tan was a notorious game of roulette. Will I turn out orange? Will I be covered in streaks? There was no way to truly know. In order to take the anxiety out of the process and instead create an experience that left people feeling confident, happy, and healthy, Melanie got down to the basics.
A little background for the fake tan novices: the basis of a spray tan formula is derived from sugar beets. It’s a molecule called dihydroxyacetone – more commonly referred to as DHA. DHA is essentially just sugar, and it reacts with the amino acids in your skin. The reaction is an oxidized browning. That’s where the tan comes from. Do you feel smarter yet?
To nail down goGLOW’s signature tanning formula, Melanie worked with leading chemists to create a unique DHA solution. She packed it with nourishing vitamins, minerals, and hyaluronic acid – the ultimate moisture locker for skin. Melanie has always been an advocate in demanding the best for the women around her; this tanning solution was no exception.
Melanie also emphasizes the importance of adjusting the solution for each individual person. Your skin’s undertones, natural coloring, and the occasion you’re tanning for all play a factor in the spray tan goGLOW gives you. It’s highly customized, because we all are inherently different and glow differently, too. Melanie seeks to give everyone that “whoa” moment when they catch themselves in the mirror.
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Since Melanie and her dog set off on their first goGLOW appointment in May of 2011, the company has continued to relentlessly grow. Thankfully, Melanie remains “passionate and obsessed” with her business and serving women. goGLOW currently has 3 spacious locations (they clock in at over 6000 square feet all together), along with two mobile units that travel to customers’ homes. After all – who has time to lay by the pool and catch a tan? Melanie and her staff are driven by the goal of making women feel truly good about themselves. They listen closely to their customers as well; Melanie blames the faux tan-loving residents of Edina for insisting she have a location close to them. goGLOW has also developed an exclusive product line that won’t mess with your skin’s natural pH levels.
goGLOW has even expanded to our windy Midwestern neighbor: Chicago. In the next five years, Melanie hopes to fully establish her business in the Chicago market. She has other big plans, too. But a beautician can’t spill all her secrets.
What’s not a secret is goGlow’s service. Superior service will always be a part of Melanie’s soul and her business model. goGLOW supports its clients’ foundations and causes, with a special emphasis on women’s issues, empowerment, and domestic violence. When considering goGLOW’s philanthropic future, Melanie says hopefully, “Anything’s possible.”