Drybar founders Alli Webb and Michael Landau, in partnership with Drybar’s former vice president of marketing Brittany Driscoll, are looking to disrupt another industry with the launch of a new massage concept, Squeeze.
As Drybar did for the beauty industry, Squeeze will fill the white space between discount chains that offer affordable pricing but subpar experiences and high-end hotels and spas that make frequent self care unattainable for most.
As avid massage-goers frustrated with the current options, they decided to leverage their collective expertise and create the experience they have longed for and believe is missing from the marketplace.
Squeeze will have similar branding, luxury design, customer-first focus and affordable pricing as Drybar, but Squeeze’s biggest differentiator will be its technology platform. Guests at Squeeze will be able to book, set preferences, pay, tip and rate their therapist on the app or online to ensure a relaxing, hassle-free, cash-free experience in-shop.
Like Drybar mascot Buttercup, Squeeze has Pat, a gender-neutral smiley-face spouting kitschy sayings used in its app and packaging. The first Squeeze location is set to open early 2019 in Los Angeles at 12338 Ventura Boulevard in Studio City.
“Michael and I had been kneading this idea — no pun intended — for years now because we had a lot of frustration with the massage experience. Just as there was a massive hole in the marketplace for blowouts, we strongly believe the same is true of massages,” Webb said.
Squeeze is helmed by cofounder and chief executive officer Brittany Driscoll, while cofounders Webb and Landau will serve as advisers.
“We couldn’t dig our heels into this because we are still building Drybar. Brittany helped us open 50 locations and was a great operator, so when she told us she was ready for her next challenge, we knew she was the perfect partner to bring this idea to life,” Webb said.
The customer-friendly app and web site will allow guests to personalize every aspect of their experience, including preferred pressure and products, areas to focus or avoid, and once in-room, guests will be able to adjust the temperature, music and lighting to their liking via an in-room iPad, and they’ll even be able to notify the therapist when they’re ready for them to reenter via a “ready” button, created to avoid the rushed, awkward, knock experience.
Guest preferences are saved to profiles, reviewed by therapists prior to appointments, which eliminates the awkward in-person exchanges, and like Uber or Postmates, guests will be able to rate, tip and review at their leisure post-massage, with no clunky, frustrating checkout lines.
Squeeze will offer flexible, month-to-month memberships — $79 for one 50-minute massage monthly or $99 for one 80-minute massage — and keep pricing simple, with non-member 20-minute massages starting at $39; extras like deep tissue, aromatherapy or heat therapy won’t cost extra.
So far, Squeeze has raised initial capital via a friends and family round including Webb and Landau, and other adviser-investors include The Man Repeller founder Leandra Medine, trend forecaster Jane Buckingham and Drybar ceo John Heffner.
“Leandra and I have been friends for years, and one day over lunch, she was talking to me about her love of massages. She went crazy over the idea. It would be great to have her involved for obvious influencer reasons, and she’s such a great person to have on our team as and adviser and investor,” Webb said.
Squeeze is also actively looking for a second location in L.A. and is looking to scale nationally, so the company is planning on franchising. About 25 percent of Drybars are franchised.
Products are also in Squeeze’s future, as well as some delight moments that Webb said no one else is doing yet.
“We’re building on the feel-good aspect of Drybar and stepping into this new elevated health and wellness space of massage gives us a greater opportunity,” Driscoll said.