How Drybar Hair Salon Grew to $100 Million in Revenue in Only 6 Years

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When Drybar founder Alli Webb began to realize how overpriced traditional salon hair blowouts were, she decided to do something about it. She did what all entrepreneurial minded business people do. She started her own company to improve the situation. Drybar offers reasonably priced blowouts. That’s it. No cuts or color. Just all the techniques, and a nice photo menu called Lookbook to help choose the perfect hair style.

Alli started a tiny mobile blowout business, and it was brilliantly successful right away. Her big brother Michael loaned her the money to buy her first location, and just three years later, the company had expanded to over forty locations, with more than 1,500 people working with them. Alli had “crazy curly” hair all her life, and was always looking for a place to have her own hair blown out right. She finally decided to start her own business after having been a professional hair stylist for more than 15 years. Now, the company has more than half a million customers across the United States.

Soon after, the company decided to create its own product line to be used for styling hair. It took them two years of working with top laboratories crafting the best products to use at Drybar. The products turned out so well that they launched their product line exclusively, partnering with Sephora at more than 200 nationwide locations.

The company offers several unique and blowout-targeted products:

  • Detox dry shampoo absorbs oils and extends blowout life
  • The Warden maximum hold hairspray
  • The Sheriff firm hold hairspray
  • Lemon Drop ultimate detangling brush
  • Mr. Incredible ultimate leave-in conditioner
  • Baby Buttercup ultimate travel hair dryer
  • A range of specialized shampoos, conditioners, brushes and other hair products.

The company is focused on ten core values:

  • Commitment to the customer experience: Each one should feel like a million bucks – each, and every time
  • Provide confidence and happiness with a great blowout
  • Be yourself: tattoos, quirky laughs and all, make each person unique
  • Embrace random acts of kindness, such as: “this blowout is on us”
  • Keep laughing, dancing, looking beautiful, and having fun.
  • Always be growing!
  • Honesty and humility are the sexiest qualities.
  • Take a part in making a difference in the world.
  • Pretty is as pretty does: be a good person.
  • The company and its clients are family.

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Part of the success of Drybar is its easy access to the perfect look. Their Lookbook offers their clients a way to easily choose how they want their hair done. It’s a simple path to satisfaction, as both stylist and client understand from the beginning what the outcome should resemble. There are a wide variety of pretty styles available, with cute, descriptive, style-appropriate names.

The company website also offers online bookings for sessions, and offers clients use of the site to sign up to facilitate the appointment making process. There is also the signature Barfly Membership which offers several perks for those who use the service regularly. The Membership fee provides:

  • Two blowouts each month
  • A free birthday blowout
  • In store discount of 10% on tools and products
  • Rollover from month to month of unused blowouts which never expire during membership
  • Additional $5 off for extra blowouts beyond the 2 membership blowouts per month
  • Memberships may be cancelled any time, but are not transferrable

Company locations across the United States offer various positions and franchise opportunities. Stylists who exhibit a high level of energy and skills are welcomed to apply to become part of the team. Stylists may expand their regular cut and color businesses with client referrals and grow into leadership positions within the company. There are currently more than 2,000 stylists at Drybar. Perks for stylists include things such as:

  • Hourly wages guaranteed
  • Tips and commissions
  • Paid time off and vacation
  • Medical benefits
  • Education and management career paths available
  • Part and full time flexible schedules available
  • Dress code of denim, black, white, grey and yellow
  • An extended family style or corporate culture

With a full complement of hair stylists, receptionists, salon managers, membership specialists, account executives and print traffic coordinators working in major cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Boston, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Houston and many, many other cities nationwide, the possible career paths are enticing.

Adding to their menu of offerings are several customized services which can be scheduled on location. These include their Drypro stylings for office parties and in-store events, film and photo shoots; and their wedding services for the big day or bachelorette parties. On-site and in-shop prices are available, which provide plenty of customer options. Shops offer VIP Rooms for special gatherings, and Shop Buyouts which include food, wine, champagne and special touches designed to make guests feel welcome.

Drybar is community minded. They make donations by partnering with local 501 ( c ) (3) organizations by giving gift cards and products to organizations which support women and children. Donations must be requested using a form, and require some amount of notice in advance. Grants are given based on how the company’s donations will support the community work done by the organizations granted.

Not only have customers taken notice of the business, but investors have as well. In 2014, SPK Capital led a group of investors with $20 million devoted to accelerating the expansion of the company. This amount joined the $50 million plus in capital already raised by Drybar as of the investment. Investors included in the round were:

  • Janet Gurwitch: former CEO and Founder of Laura Mercier Cosmetics and previous Merchandising EVP of Neiman Marcus
  • Ron Frasch: former CMO and President of Saks Fifth Avenue and previous CEO of Bergdorf Goodman
  • Paul Pressler: former CEO of Gap Inc. and President of The Walt Disney Company

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Entrepreneur magazine listed Drybar in its “100 Brilliant Ideas of 2010”. Fast Company named Drybar Founder Alli Webb in its 2013 “100 Most Creative People in Business” list. Cosmopolitan and Fortune Magazine also took note of Webb’s professional achievements, adding her to the 2013 “Cosmo Power List” and the “40 Under 40” Fortune list. With $10 million plus in annual revenue, it’s not surprising that investors and accolades would follow the company.

In 2016, Drybar Holdings LLC announced its placement of $40.9 million in credit facilities specified as funding for working capital, continued growth, and retirement of existing debt. Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc. placed revolving credit facility in the amount of $15.5 million for Drybar. In addition, subordinated debt facility in the amount of $25.4 million was placed with Castanea Partners, an existing investor which currently has under management an approximate $1B.

With a future focused on its more than 70 retail locations, online sales of styling tools and products, and partnerships with Sephora and Nordstrom in the United States and Canada, Drybar is living up its heady spot as one of the Boom Brands named by New York Magazine. Partnerships and expansion with banking partners, investors and clients is making Drybar very successful indeed.

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