A lot of people like having their hair dried by someone else.
IMAGINE A BUSINESS THAT BROKE EVEN WITH US$1 MILLION IN SALES AFTER JUST 10 MONTHS…DURING THE RECESSION.
Drybar did it. The brother/sister team boasted 450 bookings the day their website launched. A year in, the $35-shampoo-and-blow-dry business has more than 25,000 clients, 10 locations and thousands of inquiries. The team has appeared on E! and The Mentor and in several magazines and newspapers such as Vanity Fair, The New York Times, People, Elle and Good Housekeeping.
Michael Landau (formally of Yahoo) and Alli Webb (a professional stylist) offered a unique concept around a straightforward idea—a blow dry bar, not a salon. They recognized a hole in the market: Customers were paying $60 or more at traditional salons. So, the team decided to offer something different—value with an affordable luxury experience. They noted that a lot of people like having someone else dry their hair.
“We made it the equivalent of getting a weekly pedicure,” Webb said. “You come here once a week and hang out with your friends in a cool place with a great vibe.”
Drybar found success through a strategy of focusing on people.
“It’s easy to get sidetracked on a daily basis,” Landau said. “One of our biggest challenges is managing our employees due to rapid growth. We recognized that our people are the frontline of our brand. They are the foundation of what we do. Without our bartenders [stylists] we would not exist. Budgets take unexpected turns, so not forgetting to focus on investing in the people and culture makes a difference.”
That approach applies to excellent customer service, too. Drybar management focuses on one thing at a time.
“We make things simple,” Landau said. “We don’t offer too many options, and we stick with a plan.”
Drybar’s website even displays the company’s yearly goals and plans for its customers to follow the progression.
As for the niche, Drybar started with an anti-salon atmosphere: a luxurious décor of carefully selected accessories, including a blow dryer chandelier. Champagne is complimentary (or fruit-infused water or wine). Add music, flat-screen TVs and a simple bar menu to choose a Cosmo (big loose curls), a Manhattan (straight and sleek), a shot of Southern Comfort (lots of volume), a Mai Tai (messy, beach ringlets) or a Shirley Temple (for kids).
“We do timeless, classic blowout styles that don’t go away,” Webb said.
Drybar also hosts private parties and charity events. It sends feedback surveys to customers. When returned, it gives a portion of that customer’s next appointment payment to charity.
These strategies pay off for Drybar. It receives feedback comments. One loyal client wrote, “When I don’t come to Drybar, I don’t feel put together, and therefore I don’t feel productive in the boardroom.”
Drybar thrives on authenticity. It tells customers how much its success is attributable to them.
Landau concludes: “Ultimately, we provide a great experience combined with great results—an affordable investment that makes a big impact on your day.” One+
One+ November 2011,