MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – We all know that one person who has unlimited energy and seems to be able to pull everything together.

Well, this morning you’re about to meet another.

Meet Melanie Richards. Richards is a CEO who started her career far from the boardroom. She did an interview with ‘CCO just two days before her due date with her second son.

But that’s nothing!

Richards started GoGlow, a mobile sunless tanning service, when she was pregnant with her first son and will open her third storefront at the end of this month.

Richards’ passion for what she does, and how she got there, makes her this week’s Minnesotan to Meet.

An industry of glamour isn’t where this bubbly blonde started her career.

Not even close.

“I come from a long line of law enforcement in my family. My grandfather and uncles, they’re all police officers,” Richards said.

So naturally, Richards went to work in Corrections

First in California then back here in Minnesota.

“I could disarm people quickly. They didn’t expect too much from me,” Richards said.

It was more than a decade later when a victim of domestic violence was killed along with family members that Richards decided she needed a change.

“We had three homicides and that changed my route,” Richards said. “The trauma that surrounds that, I found, affected me deeply. So, I wasn’t going to be able to move forward in the same capacity.”

Since she’s never been a quitter, she continued to work full time for Hennepin County while attending the Aveda Institute in Northeast Minneapolis.

“I was raised by a single mother,” she said. “She had us when she was in high school, both my sister and I; my sister is a year older. And right out of high school she went straight to college, did four years, had two kids. She just kept going, so that’s how I go,” Richards said.

To celebrate her graduation from cosmetology school, she booked a trip to Mexico.

That’s when a spray tan pre-trip changed her life.

“I go tromping out of the salon, a pretty expensive spray tan, and it rained on me,” she said. “I was thinking to myself, ‘Why isn’t this done in homes? It’d be so much nicer.’ [I could] throw my robe on, have a glass of wine and just relax.”

She took that idea and ran with it.

“There are literally hundreds of thousands of solutions on the market that you have to find the right one,” she said.

Once she did, she launched the mobile tanning service called GoGlow.

All the while, still continuing her full time job in law enforcement.

“I would get done at 4:30 p.m., pack my machine in my car and be done by 10 p.m. But I would go to people’s houses and spray tan. It was really actually healing for me,” she said.

It was a hit. With an upcoming wedding she realized she needed to hire an employee. That’s when life took another turn.

“I got married and pregnant right then,” she laughed.

With baby Brody and a business, she just keeps pushing forward.

“We’re on to our third location and I have two vehicles,” she said.  “It’s the largest spray tan business in the country.”

Besides mobile, GoGlow has locations in Woodbury, Uptown and soon Edina. They perform 700 spray tans a month!

Oh, and when we did this interview, Richards was two days away from having her second child, Crosby.

“So I keep talking to him, like, ‘Crosby, we have a plan here. You can’t come any time sooner,'” Richards said.

It’s pretty clear that Richards doesn’t plan to stay home. That new Edina location is set to open August 26th.

“I know you look at me like I’m crazy,” she laughed. “But, I’m going to give myself a couple weeks to just be with Crosby for a little bit. But I want to be here for the grand opening.”

Even husband Andy can’t stop her and Richards lets everyone know she plans to reach her ultimate goal.

“I think we’re going to hit the national market,” Richards said.

So, how does the spray tan work?

It’s actually a molecule from a sugar beet that reacts to the amino acid in your skin.

It’s much like when an apple that turns brown.

Ali Lucia

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