"You almost don't recognize her when she comes up to the front to check out. Not only does she look different, but there's like a pep in her step," says hairstylist and Drybar founder Alli Webb. She says a woman can be instantly transformed just by visiting the salon, so in 2010 she founded Drybar, a place where women can get blowouts, feel pampered, and leave more confident.
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Alli, who has naturally curly hair, says she constantly begged her mom to blow dry her hair when she was a child. Even in high school, she would blow dry her hair the night before, thinking that if she slept on it, the frizz would go away. "It never looked that great," she says.
Alli started her career in fashion, but soon realized she needed to follow her dream of becoming a hairstylist. She started working in salons, but left that behind to become a stay-at-home mom. She says after about five years at home, she began feeling a little stir-crazy. She started a mobile blow dry business, Straight At Home, to avoid crazy hours of a traditional salon. After posting an ad on a mommy blog, Alli says she was flooded with emails from moms wanting appointments for in-home blowouts. Alli's business grew so fast that she had to turn down clients.
"A light bulb went off for me," Alli explains, "that there's no place out there in the marketplace where you can go and get a blowout at a nice space and at a great price." Alli opened her first store in 2010 with her brother and husband as business partners.
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"Drybar is a place where women come just for blowouts, no cuts, no color, just blowouts," Alli says. "It's a place for women to get pampered and feel great." Alli knew that if she charged the right price, she could make the business work by volume. Today Drybar has 27 locations in six states and has recently launched a product line. The business has also inspired a host of competitors. She says she feels like competitors underestimate how much you need to invest in the business. "I mean, we eat, drink, breathe, sleep this business," says Alli. "In a lot of ways, imitation is very flattering."
She's surprised by the success and says she's "living the dream" by getting to do what she loves and follow her passion. Alli says, "My life feels like a train. It's just moving so fast, but I love the speed, and I love the pace of it. I'm a lucky girl."
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