Drybar could soon be blowing into a neighborhood near you.
In the next several months, the blow out chain, based in Brentwood, California, will grow from 16 locations to 27, mainly in the Los Angeles and New York areas. Not bad for a company that broke ground two years ago.
Depending on who you ask, Alli Webb, the founder of Drybar, revolutionized the white-hot blow out industry. According to Alli, a trained hair stylist, she started doing blow outs for friends at their homes as a way to get back into the hair game after being a stay-at-home mom for several years. Her quick, affordable ($40) service caught on, especially on mommy blogs, and soon she was busy five days a week. Ultimately, Alli told her brother, a successful advertising executive with Yahoo, that she thought she was “onto something” and that these blow-outs would be a natural fit for a brick and mortar. The point of difference? Drybar would be a place for blowouts—no cuts, color, nail or wax services. Walk-ins or reservations were welcome, and everyone paid the same price, $40, for a blowout, which could be customized based on a menu of styles.
“All I wanted to do was one thing. It was a new story for the blow out concept. We’re not trying to be other things. And don’t call us a salon,” said Alli.
The first day of business in February 2010, Alli recalled, there was a line around the block. Website Dailycandy.com had written a post about Drybar that week, and word had spread fast. She was completely booked.
Fast-forward two years, and Alli can rest assured she’s on a tear. Alli’s brother serves as CEO of the company; her husband is in charge of all branding. And, she’s just hired Karen Kelley, formerly of Pinkberry, to oversee expansion.
Alli travels to all of her locations (five are franchised, a model she will not pursue with future Drybars) to make sure each is living up to expectations. By the end of the year, she’ll have several more to keep watch over: store count is expected to grow to 27 in California and New York, funded by the $16 million investment by Castanea Partners in 2011. New York will grow from two locations (there’s one in the Flatiron District and one in midtown) to six, with spots planned for Murray Hill and the Upper East Side by the end of September. California will grow from 10units to 11.
The only piece missing, it seems, is for Drybar to launch a product line. Indeed, Alli has that on the calendar, for spring 2013, one that will supplement the brands she currently carries, which include items by L’Oreal Professional, Kerastase and TIGI.
“I’ve cherry picked the lines. And I feel like I’m trying to find the best from so many brands. So I’m creating products for the perfect blowout. The line will have everything I think we need, and what the stylists think we need, to help create that. I’ve been working with the labs, and of course I have a lab right here,” she said, pointing around the Drybar unit on 16th Street in the Flatiron District. Items in the line will include a shampoo, conditioner, styling and finishing products, as well as a dry shampoo.
“The challenge is that there are so many different types of hair so the line will be more general so it meets the basics needs. Our goal is to build out from there, with items for course hair, items for fine hair and so on.”
Stay tuned for more details on Drybar’s product line, due out next spring.