The blow-dry industry is inarguably booming—dare we say exploding—and Blow, the pioneer of the industry, is innovating in ways that displays the brand’s experiential nature.
On the service front, Blow’s renovated Meatpacking District flagship (pictured, above right), Blow the New York Blow Dry Bar, looks to end 2012 with a 35% sales increase, said Blow founder and President, Stuart Sklar.
“And we’re eight years strong,” Stuart said.
To keep momentum going, rather than expand with stand-alone stores Blow is creating retail partnerships to bring services into established beauty meccas.
So for spring 2013, Blow will expand into 14 Nordstrom beauty departments with a double-tiered strategy. The first Blow model will involve a complete physical overhaul in order to bring the full Blow experience (pictured, above left), with wash and blow capability, to about four or five Nordstrom stores.
The second model, which can work in any Nordstrom location as it doesn’t require plumbing, is a new initiative, “Blow Pod”, a self-contained, service-driven retail unit that includes dry styling, updo’s braids and blowouts. Blow Pods are planned for about 10 locations. Both strategies look to compliment Nordstrom’s planned remodel of their beauty department in 2013.
Stuart said the in-store services will undoubtedly drive sales of products.
“In 2012, we tested a store-in-store concept in two California Nordstrom stores, one in Orange County and one in Roseville.
The test showed that approximately 75% of services performed in stores drove product sales. This underscores the experiential nature of brand, by bringing sought-after blow out services, tips and tricks tothe department store setting.”
Indeed, department store beauty sales traditionally have been driven by fragrance, color and skin care promotions and services, such as makeovers and mini-facials. It should be noted that Bumble and bumble pioneered in-store hair branded services with its Bb. Style bar in Manhattan’s Bloomingdale’s.
And to show it has its eye on all department store opportunities, Blow is also embarking on a relationship with Macy’s, implementing a dry-styling post in Herald Square’s Impulse Beauty department slated for spring 2013. Blowpro is currently sold in about 30 Impulse Beauty departments.
“We are partnering with established department stores and exploring other options to tap into women’s unmet beauty needs in traditional retail environments. The experiential aspect of Blow provides a competitive advantage by combining demonstration, quick, efficient and affordable hair care services to facilitate robust retail sales,” Stuart said.
On the product front, Blowpro hair care—“the only line designed and proven to solve better blow dry results every time”—is planning a new smoothing item in 2013.
Overall, Blowpro hair care will more than double sales in 2012 compared to 2011.
Also on the horizon is a plunge into appliances. All of Blow’s products are sold in salons, Ulta, Nordstrom, Macy’s and on the brand’s re-launched website, blowpro.com. Blow continues to pitch salons across the country on the incremental revenue stream blow-dry services can generate.
Internationally, Blow has become the number-two hair care line at Kicks, the leading beauty chain in Sweden, after a Kicks buyer tried out Blow’s NYC flagship and loved the experience. Based on that success, Blow is now expanding through Scandinavia and other international markets.
Blow, which is privately held, is using prior years’ investments to fund next year’s growth.