Drybar could soon be blowing into a city near you: The blow-dry-only salon chain has inked a $16 million deal with Castanea Partners, which gives the Boston-based private-equity firm a minority stake in the company and Drybar the capital with which to expand.
“We believe Drybar has not just national appeal, but global expansion possibilities,” said Janet Gurwitch, an operating partner in Castanea and formerly the chief executive officer of Laura Mercier Cosmetics and the executive vice president of Neiman Marcus. Gurwitch and Paul Pressler, former president and ceo of Gap Inc. and president of Disneyland and Disney Stores, will join Drybar’s board of directors. In addition to the Castanea investment, both Gurwitch and Pressler personally invested in Drybar.
“They’ve found a real niche,” said Gurwitch, adding that Drybar reminded her of Laura Mercier in its early days: a company with a point of difference and quality services executed well. “We have the investment capital and will give them the monies to grow and grow properly. Many newer businesses have to make questionable decisions based on lack of capital, and we will make sure Drybar has what it needs to be successful.”
The investment follows a swift rise for Drybar, which will open its second New York City location at Le Parker Meridian hotel on Jan. 26. This brings the Drybar location count to 13 in two years — including its first Manhattan location, at 4 West 16th Street, which launched this past September, and Michael Landau, chief executive of Drybar, noted that the expansion plans were just beginning; he was speaking from Washington, where he was scouting locations. Drybar currently operates four stores in Southern California, as well as locations in New York; San Francisco; Dallas; Scottsdale, Ariz.; San Diego; and Atlanta. New locations in Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Westlake Village, Calif., are set to open later this spring.
“We wanted a partner who brought real experience to the table,” said Landau. “Castanea has that, and also has Janet Gurwitch’s knowledge of beauty and fashion — she knows what it takes to build a beauty company.”
The company plans to use proceeds from the investment to continue their rapid national expansion efforts and further invest in talent and infrastructure, noted Landau, adding that Karen Kelley, former senior executive at Pinkberry and Jamba Juice, recently joined the company as president and chief operating officer. As well, the company is in the process of creating its own product line.
Drybar launched its first shop in Brentwood, Calif., in February 2010 — the brainchild of Landau’s sister, Alli Webb, a professional stylist with curly hair, who was tired of overpaying for blowouts at traditional salons. Her solution? A blow-dry-only salon that offers $40 blowouts. Now, noted Landau, each location does upward of 100 blowouts a day. “We’ve found that even in a bad economy, women won’t give up blowouts,” said Landau. “They won’t cut or color their hair as often, but they will get blowouts.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast