SOMETIMES good ideas can shine right in front of your eyes. This was precisely the situation with the bubbly Dominque Ittner, who grew up in Lake Forest and returned to her hometown when she and her husband looked for a great place to raise their young boys, Wells and Winn.
“This might sound kind of silly, but I’m a fair-skinned girl who has always loved a good spray tan,” Ittner says. “I just feel better when I have a little glow.”
Lucky for Ittner, a friend from Lake Forest launched her own luxury custom tanning business in Dallas and was able to share some of her tricks of the trade.
“I started to think that if I had the equipment and the right product, I could probably have my husband spray tan me,” she says with a laugh. “I would do it myself, but you just can’t.”
Once Ittner had the tanning solution she liked and the right tools under her roof, she decided to offer spray tanning to her friends. “I realized there was an opportunity for someone like me in the luxury spray tan marketplace, so I began to tell people that I offer spray tans just to see what might happen.”
Ittner hung her shingle using a natural, odorless premium tanning solution that reacts with the amino acids in the skin to produce a rich, completely natural tan. In less than 20 minutes, the product is airbrushed on and dried by hand to ensure a flawless, lasting, and customizable glow. Ittner named her business “SUNKISSED x DOM.”
It wasn’t long before her friends were regular customers. And then their friends from all along the North Shore brought their friends, and soon their daughters were coming, too.
“The whole thing kind of happily snowballed,” Ittner says of her soft launch of SUNKISSED x DOM in November 2020. “In a normal week, I’ll have 20 clients, which feels like the perfect amount as I juggle appointments around my boys’ school schedules and activities. But when we’re near the holidays, or if the high school is having an event like homecoming or prom, that number will jump to 60. In those weeks, it feels like my 20-minute appointments are coming one right after the other.”
Once an elementary school teacher, Ittner loves the flexibility that having a stay-athome business allows her.
“My top priority is my family,” she says. “I want to be home with them and be with them when they’re at home with me. I can work when they’re in school or schedule time after their night routines are over by having my own business. I always block off between 4:30 – 6 p.m. to make dinner and then eat with them. It’s the best part of my days. But it’s pretty funny that ‘spray tan’ is part of their vocabulary. It gets me every time when they ask me about my ‘spray tan girls.’”
Ittner has worked hard to make SUNKISSED x DOM more than a service she offers—her goal is to make it an experience.
“Earlier this year, I built my own website so that clients can easily book their appointments when it’s convenient for them,” she says. “Customer service is so important to me, as is the ‘vibe’ when they come to my home studio. I want it to feel professional, but also fun and like they’re at a spa—even if it’s only for a few minutes.”
Ittner’s training as a competitive gymnast when she was a student, and her education as a teacher prepared her well for working with the many high school students who frequent SUNKISSED x DOM.
“I feel like I’m an older sister,” she says of connecting with her younger clients. “I always tell them what they say in the tanning tent, stays in the tanning tent. I love how happy and carefree my clients are. I really draw from their energy.”
As an inspiring young entrepreneur, Ittner encourages anyone with a business idea to just go for it.
“You know, I wasn’t sure if spray tanning would work as a business,” she says. “But I didn’t want to waste another minute wondering if it could when I could just give it a try. I really believe you can do anything if you’re true to yourself, authentic, and confident. It’s so important to be confident. I try not to take myself too seriously, but I’m pretty serious about making this business the best it can be.”
To make an appointment with Ittner, visit sunkissedxdom.com or follow her on Instagram @sunkissedxdom.