Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, was a day I will never forget.
It was 5:30 a.m. and I was lying on the bathroom floor of my room at Planet Hollywood having what I would now consider a total breakdown. My body shook uncontrollably and I silently sobbed trying not to wake my husband who was departing for the airport in an hour. I knew if he saw me like that, he wouldn’t leave as scheduled and at the time all I needed and wanted was to be alone.
I didn’t understand it then…but after a lot of reflection and processing I can now say that moment was a physical release of every ounce of stress that had accumulated within me in the months leading up to Sunless Summit 2019 and in the days since we had arrived onsite. All of my fear, self-doubt, questioning of my purpose and my feelings of inadequacy came rushing out of me via my tear ducts…right there on that cold marble floor.
There was a full slate of classes scheduled for that day and I couldn’t physically raise my head off the pillow…let alone actually get out of bed. Women who didn’t have to stepped up and stepped in to make sure everything continued as planned (I am forever indebted to them)…and I crashed. If you’ve ever had an anxiety attack or breakdown of any sort, you know that feeling of sheer exhaustion that comes after the physical response in your body.
Well, that’s exactly where I was on one of the most important days of the year for me.
I’ve never felt more defeated.
The weeks that followed are a little hazy. I knew something had to change but I didn’t know what or how. I just learned that as an introvert (wait…I’m not an extrovert?!?!)…the magnitude and growth of ASTP and Sunless Summit was overwhelming me and swallowing me whole and that was mostly because of my lack of direction for what our purpose should be. I had to take a GIANT step back and make some hard decisions about where we would go from here.
Over the last few months, I’ve spent countless hours on the phone with members. I listened to their thoughts about where we were headed as a group and how they hoped we could get back to our original intent. I talked with professionals in association management and fielded opinions on how we can best serve this industry. I met many times with my coach and bounced ideas off of him and my right hand gal, Amanda.
And mostly, I got quiet and listened to myself. Because one thing I know for sure is that my heart has ALWAYS been in the right place with all of this. My intent has always been to serve the sunless industry as a whole and to bring this industry together in a way that provides opportunities for education and connection to EVERYONE. Because in an unlicensed industry, it’s hard to sort through what’s real and what’s not. I’ve always been committed to raising the level of professionalism in sunless and it’s time to get back to that purpose.
So, now that you have the backstory…what’s up with ASTP 2.0? Well, we’re making some changes that we believe will allow us to better serve our members and industry as a whole. Here’s what’s going on right now…
We finished our professional re-brand with a branding agency who will now help us renovate our online space into something that better reflects the professionalism we want to instill…with a whole lot of fun thrown in for good measure. Our new website is in the works.
We have formed a four person Advisory Panel to help keep ASTP headed in the right direction. These women are as committed to our purpose as I am and will serve on this panel until Summit 2021 when new panel members will be chosen. We will formally introduce them when the new website is launched.
We’re days away from announcing the new dates and new location for Sunless Summit 2020. This year, Summit will be just two days and we’ve made a lot of adjustments to the programming and travel that will drive down the cost of attendance. We know you foot the bill for your trip…and we’re doing everything we can to make it as affordable as possible. ASTP members will also be voting to choose the speaking lineup for Sunless Summit 2020!
Our intent is to act as a liaison between sunless vendors and sunless business owners. New products launched? We will tell you about them. New best practices you should be following? We’ll talk about it. Health and safety concerns? We’ve got you. Marketing and business tips? Our members are full of great ideas! And all of the information we are providing will be on our blog for free.
Our non-profit Emergency Relief Fund is being organized and 10% of all member dues (new and renewal) are being put into the fund. Funds will be available for allocation to members in crisis beginning in 2020 and will be overseen by the Advisory Panel. More on that to come.
We’re revamping our Vendor Partner program and hope to bring our members more discounts and perks from our Partners. If you’re a sunless vendor who would like to support ASTP and our members…reach out via the contact form on our site. There’s no charge to you.
Last, and this is a biggie, we’re removing our “sunless only” stance. This stance was established by our founding committee four years ago with the best of intentions. But over the years, our surveys have shown that our member base is neutral on whether we should keep it or not. We’ve come to the conclusion that ultimately, what affects one of us…affects ALL of us. We are ALL in this together. This is still and will forever be a sunless only space, but Association of Sunless Tanning Professionals will be just that - a group that represents all sunless tanning pros who offer sunless tanning services of any kind.
If you’ve made it this far…kudos to you and thank you for hearing me out. We’ve come a long way in the last few months, but we still have a lot more to figure out. This will forever be a work in progress. But please know that I value you and do all of this because my greatest wish is that I can be of service to an industry I believe in and am proud to be a part of. I’ve made many mistakes along the way and will undoubtedly continue to make them, but I am trying…and ultimately that is all I can do.
Stay tuned for the Sunless Summit save the date and the launch of our new and vastly improved website. Lots more to come.