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Drybar: The Latest in Blowout Bar Trend

The blow-dry salon, Drybar, unveiled its first location last month in the well-heeled Los Angeles neighborhood Brentwood

LOS ANGELES — Blow is thriving on the East Coast and Vancouver-based Blo is on the move up north, but the West Coast has largely been uncharted territory for blowout specialists — and that’s where Drybar comes in.

This story first appeared in the March 5, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The blow-dry salon unveiled its first location last month in the well-heeled Los Angeles neighborhood Brentwood, where it offers $35 blowouts to Angelenos seeking alternatives to luxury salons and discount chains. A second Drybar is expected to open in the city before the end of the year, and the upstart concept could plant a total of three to five more corporate-owned and franchised units in Southern California — and many elsewhere — in the years ahead.

“We feel that we are on to something that is very special, and we think we have an opportunity for dozens, if not hundreds, of locations, but we want to grow at a pace that will maintain the brand,” said Michael Landau, a former vice president of brand marketing at Yahoo Inc., who founded Drybar with his hairstylist sister, Alli Webb.

Designed by the New York firm Lacina Heitler Architects, the mostly white 1,200-square-foot Brentwood salon has eight blowout stations and three wash stations, and cost $250,000 to complete. Future locations could average from 800 to 1,200 square feet and cost $150,000, although smaller footprints are planned to put Drybar within other venues, such as gyms.

Outside of California, Landau mentioned New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Chicago as probable future Drybar destinations. Drybar has also formed Drybar International with Dubai-based investment firm Q8 Capital to spread its salons abroad, possibly in the Middle East and the U.K.

Drybar, a name chosen to be a fun play on “cocktail bar,” is an outgrowth of Straight-at-Home, an at-home blowout venture established by Webb in 2008. The success of that model convinced her that a stand-alone blowout location could prosper. “I had too many clients and not enough me, so I approached my brother about starting a blow-dry bar,” said Webb. “For us, volume is the name of the game. At $35, getting your blowout is an affordable luxury on par with a manicure or pedicure.”

Drybar can handle up to 160 blowouts daily, but Landau said it becomes a “great business” at 30 to 45 blowouts a day, a figure that translates into annual revenues of $327,600 to $491,400, not including further revenue from add-on services, special events or retail sales.