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Rachel Zoe’s newest business inspired by her experience as a celebrity fashion stylist is a hair salon chain called DreamDry, which she hopes to roll out nationally by the year’s end.
“I really set out to be a good stylist, and since that time 15 years ago, I’ve been making businesses out of my passions and what I love,” said Zoe, who launched her fashion line in 2011 and serves as a chief stylist for curated e-commerce shoe site Shoedazzle. “The constant in all the businesses I’ve become a part of is taking what I do and making it real for everyone. I believe fantasy and dreaming can be made a reality. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to be a VIP.”
This story first appeared in the March 15, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Marking her entrance into the salon world, Zoe on Valentine’s Day opened her first DreamDry salon, on West 21st Street in New York. The 2,600-square-foot, chandelier-bedecked space, launched in conjunction with marketer Robin Moraetes, is designed to offer clients affordable “Hollywood-inspired” styles.
After booking 1,000 appointments in the first week and 2,000 more by the end of the month, Zoe is feeling bullish. Next is an 1,800-square-foot space on 57th Street in Manhattan, and she plans to roll out her concept nationally.
According to insiders, the 21st Street salon’s VIP room — available for private events beginning at $500 — is booked through June. “We want to be in places where we see women who need blow-dries every day in the morning, or before running to an event,” said Zoe, naming Los Angeles as one of the salon’s next locations. “We are looking for high-traffic areas. We want it to be a destination. But really there’s no end to the potential. I can’t think of a place that wouldn’t want to have it.”
Priced at a flat $40 rate, styles range from soft, loose waves called the Farrah to the sexy, voluminous Brigitte. Express dry hair styling is also offered, including fishtail and waterfall braids, top knots and side chignons, priced between $20 and $30. “It’s certainly one of the most organic things I’ve ever done,” said Zoe of venturing into the hair styling world. “Being a stylist, it obviously has a lot of different facets, and there are a lot of different ways you can take that job.”
The goal for DreamDry was “to provide a place that makes glamour accessible and is easy for everyone,” said Zoe, punctuating a theme seen across her various businesses. Clients “feel like they are walking into an expensive salon experience and are going to be hit with a massive bill at the end. I wanted it to feel luxurious, not at all clinical, so [a client] feels like a princess right when she walks in.” Another feature of the salon is that each client has a dossier that catalogues images of every style she has purchased and names the stylist who created it.
When asked about leveraging her success as a stylist into multicategory businesses, Zoe said authenticity is the connecting thread. “I’ve been working with clothes and hair and makeup, and making a business out of [those elements] to me is a logical direction to go. But at the same time it hasn’t been a plan,” said Zoe. The fifth season of “The Rachel Zoe Project” began on March 6, and her third book, “Living In Style,” will be released in the fall.
About her personal beauty philosophy, Zoe said, “On one hand I am this weird androgynous tomboy where I’m strangely low maintenance and have a five-minute makeup regimen. On the other I’m obsessed with all things beauty, from skin care to makeup.” Zoe added that lipstick has been a long-time beauty staple. “My mom taught me very young,” she said about her affinity for the product. “I have 10,000 lipsticks. [Color] depends on my mood.” Looking to future potential beauty collaborations, Zoe said, “I would do makeup [black liquid liner and mascara are her go-to’s]. I would do fragrance. I’m a fragrance fanatic.” Zoe said current favorites include Tom Ford Jasmine Rouge and Tom Ford Santal Blush. “Tom Ford does everything perfect,” she said, adding that she is also a fan of Serge Normant hair perfume.
Reflecting on how motherhood has changed her, Zoe said, “Sky [son Skyler, 23 months] came to my showroom the other day and walked right in, saying hi to all the models. We were doing the walk-through and he was dancing to the music, calling out the models’ names. I take him literally everywhere. He never wants me to leave him behind.”
A longtime fan of Sixties and Seventies style inspiration, Zoe said her son’s fashion tastes are beginning to emerge and seem to be matching hers. “He walked into my showroom and went straight over to my favorite piece, a faux fur coat, and said ‘Mommy. Pretty.’ I’m done,” said Zoe.