We had the good fortune of connecting with Dila Djokaj and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dila, why did you pursue a creative career?
I’ve always been a creative person with artistic ability and loved to draw growing up. I wanted to work for myself and do something exciting where I could exercise my creativity. There is definitely an art behind the airbrush spray tanning process and I wanted to bring my personal touch to the industry.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I specialize in custom airbrush spray tanning. I’m known for making my clients look and feel their best with the most natural-looking tan. I pay careful attention to making the tan look as real as possible, which means tanning everyone a bit differently. It’s not a one size fits all application — I don’t just “spray” someone with even, flat coverage. I emphasize certain parts of the body, building dimension to create a very natural look. I always say “the best spray tan is the one people don’t notice”.
When I first started my business, it was more of a side gig. I had no idea that it would evolve the way it has. I started off doing mobile spray tans, and quickly received more calls as clients referred me to their friends. Then, I started tanning clients in my small studio apartment.
As I got increasingly busy, I knew it was no longer a side gig. So I expanded to a bigger location that was more suitable while still ensuring a feeling of professionalism and personal connection.
I make it a point to pay close attention to every detail of my business. My goal is to give each client the best experience possible, from start to finish. I develop personal relationships with my clients and have some that have been consistently coming to me for over 6 years.
I truly see them as more than just my clients. I see them as friends and want to make sure they leave my studio feeling happy and confident.
I have learned that working for yourself always comes with ups and downs and it’s never a smooth road. Social media marketing can be fun but also challenging! Often, it is trickier for spray tan artists to get credit for their work on social media in the same way a makeup artist or hairstylist would, especially for photoshoots. This is something I strongly believe needs to change in the industry, as spray tanning is gaining recognition as an art and is part of the creative process. I’ve been working to educate people on the art of spray tanning, with hopes that it can start gaining more notoriety, especially in the editorial world.
I’ve also learned that not everyone is going to support you and your choices. There is no single path for everyone! It’s so important to focus on your own individual goals and continue on your own path. One big lesson I have learned is to not compare myself to others, and to just focus on myself and my career. Once you start the comparing game, your vision of yourself, your dreams, and your goals become skewed. What works for someone else may not feel right or work for you. Comparison is often not conducive to authenticity or self improvement. You have to follow your own intuition, to find your unique path. By doing what’s right for you, new ideas and breakthroughs happen. That’s something I definitely want everyone to know! It applies to not just business owners or artists, but anyone. I feel that we all struggle with comparison and it’s important to not let it get in the way of following your own direction.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d start by taking them on an early morning hike at Griffith Park. I am a foodie so I love taking friends to my favorite spots. So, we’d go to brunch in WeHo, at Eveleigh, Weho Bistro, or Ysabel. During the day, we’d spend some time at the beach in Santa Monica or Marina Del Rey. Rooftop drinks in DTLA, either at Broken Shaker or Hoxton Hotel — both have really great drinks and amazing views! For dinner, ideally we’d head back to the west side to Scopa or Felix Trattoria — hands down they have the best Tagliatelle ever! We would definitely check out Sound Nightclub and other house music clubs and events, Factory 93 events are my fave! If we can get away for a few days, relaxing in Palm Springs is always a great break from the bustle of city life.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to shout out Jaime Farraj, who owns Ultra Tanning and Contempo Day Spa in San Dimas. She has been a mentor to me and is one of the best spray tan artists in the industry. I learned how to spray tan while working in her salon. At the time I was learning from her, she had already been spray tanning for 12 years, so she had incredible knowledge and experience. She has been very supportive of me and my business and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.
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