No cuts, no color, just blow-outs.
Host Kai Ryssdal (center) with Drybar co-founders Alli Webb (R) and Michael Landau (L) in one of their locations in West Hollywood.
It’s a business model that sounds improbable on first listen: a salon in which you can’t find a single pair of scissors or a bottle of hair dye. Because all they do is blow-dry hair.
But that formula has led to great success for Alli Webb and her brother, Michael Landau, co-founders of The Drybar. On Wednesday, they open their 34th location, where their motto is "No cuts, no color, just blow outs."
Alli says the idea to open her first Drybar was an obvious one.
"Most women can’t do their hair as well as a professional can," she says.
She perfected the technique giving blow-outs to friends in their homes while their kids napped. But eventually Alli couldn't keep up with demand. So she decided to convince her brother Michael to lend her $250,000 to open her own store so clients could come to her.
Michael didn’t understand why a woman would pay for something they could easily do themselves and he jokingly points out that he has no hair anyway. He thought Alli would be crazy not to do cuts and color, where "the real money was."
“I explained to him that women felt really great when they got a blow-out," she explains. "And I felt that if the price point was right, they would come in frequently, not for just events.”
Michael agreed to lend her the money.
The duo figured out Alli would have to do 20-30 blow outs a day in her store in Brentwood, CA. Since they’ve expanded to 33 stores in several cities including outside of California, Landau says, "most of our stores average well over a hundred blow outs a day…it’s become a much bigger business than we ever expected" says Michael.
Michael has a background in brand marketing and they carry that through in every Drybar location.
"There is really a dry bar way," says Alli. They train stylists to use a specific technique for each blow-out. But even the spaces look similar -- from a "bar" where visitors "order" their style (named after cocktails) to the signature yellow hair dryers at every station.
"I feel like I’m living the dream and I feel so lucky," says Alli.