Want To Open A Salon Or Biz? Read 5 Tips From Drybar Founder Alli Webb
Read This Before Opening A Salon Or Business
You’ve been wanting to open up a new salon or beauty business, but keep coming up with excuses—what’s holding you back from achieving your dreams? If it’s fear or self-doubt, we did some research for you so you can scroll those worries away. BTC sat down with Alli Webb (@alliwebb), beauty mogul and Drybar Founder, at the 2018 MINDBODY BOLD Conference to bring you five business must-knows before starting your own business.
Here’s The Story
It’s 2008 and longtime stylist Alli is now a stay-at-home mom in Los Angeles with two young kids—this is when she comes up the original idea of a referral-only mobile blowout business. She calls it “Straight-At-Home” and posts her services in a local mommy group online, and never looks back.
Ten years later and Alli’s side business opens up a brick and mortar in LA, adopts a new name and quickly booms into the Drybar empire—with over 100 stores, around 3,5000 stylists offering dry styling-only services and over 1 million blowouts a year. Oh, and a complete Drybar tool and product line that continues to grow and acquire new must-have stylers.
Now, Scroll Through Alli’s Best Biz Tips Every Entrepreneur Needs To Know
1. Recognize Areas Of Strength & Weakness
“Recognize the things that you know you’re good at and that you’re passionate about,” recommends Alli. With 20 years of hairdressing experience and training under dry-cutting master John Sahag, Alli admits that her favorite part of every cut or color appointment was the blowout, but could other stylists feel this way? “You have this great idea, but how do you execute it?”
While Alli focused on the hair, environment and team-building aspects of the company, there was a lot she didn’t know about running a business. That’s why she cultivated a team of business and design support, her brother Michael Landau and husband Cameron Webb. “I firmly believe Drybar wouldn’t be Drybar without the amazing branding it has [Cameron] and my brother’s [Michael] business sense to get more stores open—I wouldn’t have been able to do that by myself.”
2. Know Your Client, Business Model & Craft An Experience
The Drybar has a completely different business model than traditional salons: It’s set up like a bar, walk-ins are always welcome, clients don’t sit facing a mirror and appointments move at an in-and-out pace. The original goal was originally 30 to 40 clients a day but quickly turned into an 100-client daily average per store. “For this model to work, we have to turn out clients really quickly.”
Whether its an iPhone charger available for clients to use at the station or a friendly greeting at the front desk, the Drybar has cultivated a consistent experience. “So many businesses leave out so many things that clients love, whether they can articulate them or not,” shares Alli. “We crafted that experience.”
Here’s what Alli thinks will create a cult following: “Your clients know what to expect, so they trust it and fall in love with it. They feel taken care of. They know that you’ve taken so much time to care about how the space looks, feels and the experience, so they think you are certainly going to care about them.”
3. Trust Your Vision
What’s the risk of starting the country’s first blowout-only service? “The whole thing was risky,” admits Alli. “But you need to have a distinct point of difference that’s unique to you.” At BTC, we believe in our Founder Mary Rector-Gable’s words, “Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one else can see but you.” Whether it was sticking to a fixed-menu model or launching a product line that stayed true to Drybar’s needs over collaborating with existing brands, you have to make the final calls in your business.
BTC’s Steph and Alli at the 2018 MINDBODY BOLD Conference in San Diego.
4. Consistency Is The Key To Growth
With over 100 locations, a fully-stocked product and tool line and 3,500 stylists working at Drybar salons nationwide, training and cultivating a mission-aligned team is key to recreating the experience clients know and love. “The hardest part is duplicating the experience over and over again,” shares Alli. “You need a lot of really great people making sure the staff is talking to people the right way, doing the right things, keeping the shop clean, etc. You have to create an experience for people that feel like they’re being taken care of at every check point, even when they go into the bathroom.”
5. Attitude Defines Success
We asked Alli what her biggest piece of advice to stylists looking to start their own businesses, salons, product lines, etc. and here’s what she had to say: “Get noticed. Be the one who is always on time, who stays late. If you’re the person who people can rely on, you’re going to be the one who gets the raise, promotion and opportunity. You can’t have the mentality, ‘I’ll work hard if you give me more money.’ You have to prove you’re worthy, then the money, success and everything else will come.”
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