Alli Webb, the founder of Drybar, likes to keep her ear to the ground. In fact, that’s how the trained hairstylist realized there was a gap in the salon market for an emporium devoted to blowouts.
What started as one blow-dry bar in Brentwood, Calif., has sprouted to a chain of 81 locations — both company-owned and franchised — with 100 shops easily within sight.
But it isn’t only blowouts building the Drybar empire. Although Drybar didn’t share results, industry sources suggested at least one-fourth of what they estimate is approaching a $100 million business is registered in sales of tools, retail hair care and treatments.
Her latest example of tapping her observations for product creation, On the Rocks Clarifying Charcoal Shampoo and Conditioner, was inspired by a beverage.
“Over a year ago, I saw Molly Sims, who is a friend of mine, drinking this detox drink that had activated charcoal, lemon and cayenne,” recalled Webb, who said she’s a health nut who will try anything. She got the brainstorm to harness characteristics of charcoal, known for driving out toxins, in hair care.
On the Rocks is especially targeted at customers who haven’t washed their tresses in several days — a common practice with many women today, especially after blowouts. “I think it will become a very popular choice in the shops where we have so many women going for days [without washing],” Webb confirmed. On the Rocks rounds out Drybar’s hair-care collection that includes its best sellers, Sake Bomb and Blonde Ale Brightening Shampoo. Recently a Detox Whipped Dry Shampoo Foam was added to the popular dry shampoo franchise.
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On the Rocks debuts next month at Drybar salons along with the company’s existing distribution in Ulta Beauty, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Sephora. Webb noted Drybar is adding international distribution in Sephora stores in Mexico and on sephora.com in France.
While the clarifying shampoo clears away traces of styling product and debris, the conditioner was formulated to hydrate and detangle. The shampoo and conditioner are priced at $26 each.
Also adding to Drybar’s retail offer in September is a new tool called Wrap Party Curling and Styling Wand. “There are like 7,000 wands out there,” Webb acknowledged. “But this has a reverse taper,” she said, explaining that helps create more curl at the root which is what her customers desire. “It is a better version of a wand than just a straight barrel.”
Retail product sales have been an unexpected and welcomed business for Drybar, Webb said. “We never thought it would turn into such a big business.” And to ensure her devotees are never without their hair care, Drybar just added auto replenishment to its web site. Business is buzzing in the salons, too, with expansion hitting smaller markets such as Louisville, Ky., and Jacksonville, Fla. Webb is reticent to make a prediction how big her reach could span. “Maybe we can get to 200. Who knows?”