The bad hair day is dead and you have blowout chain Drybar to thank for it. For founder Alli Webb, the business of blowouts began from home. A stylist turned stay-at-home mom, Webb started a mobile blowout service for local moms.
Business boomed immediately and an entrepreneurial seed planted itself in Webb's mind. Could she open up a salon based entirely on blowouts? Her hunch that the idea could be a success can be attributed to Webb's own curly hair, which she had spent years taming frizz away.
In 2010, Webb, alongside her brother Michael Landau who helped invest $250,000 into the business, opened up the first Drybar in Brentwood, CA. Today, 65 Drybars exist across the United States and Canada and on track for $100 million in revenue for 2016. Webb even had her first book The Drybar Guide To Good Hair For All published as a DIY guide for achieving blowout success from home, returning full circle to her own roots aptly enough.
Remarkably since its launch, little has changed when it comes to Drybar's business model which sells happiness and confidence, not blowouts. There's a lot that buttercup yellow hairdryers can teach small businesses about success -- here's how Drybar gets it right.
1. Create your own oasis.
Step into any Drybar location and look down at your feet. You should be standing on a mat that reads "nice shoes." Now look up. Decorated in shades of ivory and buttercup yellow with hardwood floors and sophisticated styling stations, Drybar has turned the concept of the traditional salon on its head.
Post shampoo; select a style from a "menu" full of barfly-worthy names like Mai Tai and Southern Comfort. Kick back and relax for the next 45 minutes while the magic happens. Pick a complimentary drink to sip on -- yes, mimosas are available -- while watching a rom-com on the TV screens in front of your styling station.
Gradually, you'll notice ways that Drybar differentiates itself from typical salons. It's a non-intrusive environment where the loudest noises in the room come from blow dryers, not perm machines. No cuts or color means no fumes or pieces of hair everywhere. However, the biggest difference is that Drybar doesn't have any phones. Appointments are booked online or through the customer service support hotline.
For a small business looking to make an impact, it's all these little details that add up when creating the customer experience. Create your own oasis, and pay attention to the small touches that personalize it and make it memorable.
2. Be consistent in your offerings.
In addition to its signature hairstyles, Drybar also offers a selection of blowout products including hairsprays and shampoos for sale in-store and online. Prior to their release, Webb clashed with Janet Gurwitch, Co-Founder of Laura Mercier Cosmetics, over the scent for the product line. Gurwitch loved a scent called Sparkling Ginger. Webb did not, sticking to her guns that she would not like to have her name on anything she wouldn't use. It was a defining moment in Webb's entrepreneurial career and one that all entrepreneurs can learn from.
While savvy entrepreneurs know that being consistent with their offerings matters to their brand, consistency digs deeper than just initial offerings. It filters down to every detail you can imagine and how those details tie in with the offerings and are presented to consumers. Today, a quarter of Drybar's company revenues are due to the product line. Everything could have turned out quite differently if Sparkling Ginger had been the champion scent instead.
3. Hire people who care.
Good hair for all means there needs to be a good staff in place to style it. Over 3,000 staffers make up the company family tree, but they're hired for more than their talents. Each stylist and staffer brought into that fold is friendly and caring with the company going out of its way to avoid hiring divas that might invite drama into Drybar.
For a small business to make a big splash in the long run, their staff has to be more than just talented. The staff needs to care and care beyond the scope of what they were hired to do. The best hires are the ones that want to see the company move forward, not backward, and are a part of the discussion. They provide feedback, brainstorm ideas and offer up solutions to problems.
In short, they are your cheerleaders. Without them, you can still rally up the crowds, but it will be hard for the crowd to muster up as much enthusiasm as they might have when surrounded by your own internal brand advocates.
4. Believe in your core values.
10. That's the number of core values that staffers and stylists at Drybar aspire to live by and infuse into their day-to-day work routines. The core values encourage random acts of kindness, gently note that pretty is as pretty does and celebrate "we are family." As Webb sums it up in the Drybar Heart & Soul video, "Drybar was started by a family and you're part of our family."
The beauty of a business practicing core values is that it permeates everything you do. Core values add a layer of transparency and sincerity, two aspects crucial for brand survival, to the business. Core values also affect positively the team members. A family environment makes everyone feel wanted and needed. It grounds everyone (see the aforementioned rule about no divas) and makes the team feel valued.
Who wouldn't want to go to work when they feel like what they're doing today, tomorrow, and next week is going to only better the company and their sense of self? By believing in core values, you're committing to believing in your team, brand and sense of self. Now that's a family motto we can get on board with.