The founder of a multimillion-dollar company with more than 100 locations got her business idea from asking all of her early clients the same question

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderDrybar founder Alli Webb.
  • Alli Webb opened Drybar in 2008 – a brick-and-mortar salon where women can get their hair blow-dried without a cut or colour.
  • Before she opened Drybar, Webb was a mobile hairstylist for local mums. She asked all her clients: “When I can’t come to your home, what do you do?”
  • Her clients told her they would either skip the blow-out or overpay at their usual salon, and Webb realised there was space in the market for a salon that styled only, without charging for supplementary services.
  • Today, Drybar is a multimillion dollar business with over 100 locations in North America.

In 10 years, Alli Webb has opened more than 100 Drybar locations – a brick-and-mortar salon where women can get their hair blow-dried, without a cut or colour.

Webb had been in the industry for 20 years before she opened even the first one, she said on an episode of Business Insider’s podcast “This Is Success.”

She got the idea to open a storefront when she was working as a mobile hairstylist, going from home-to-home giving women – primarily mothers – hair blow-outs for $US40, a price she chose because it was affordable, and because finding two $US20 bills is uncomplicated.

Over the course of about a year, she’d ask her clients: “When I can’t come to your home, what do you do?”

She found the answer unsatisfactory.

“They’re, like, ‘Well, I either skip it altogether or go to the discount chain down the street where the experience isn’t great,'” Webb said. “Or they go to their cut-and-colour salon, where they’re overpaying for a blowout and they’re getting pressured to get cut and colour and whatever else happens.”

Webb realised that without her services, there wasn’t an option for an affordable blow-dry with no strings attached.

“That just didn’t exist,” Webb said. “Nowhere – that wasn’t a thing. If you went to the Fantastic Sam’s or if you’re in New York City, the Jean Louis David, there’s those in-and-out places that are cheap and fast, but the experience isn’t great,” Webb said.

With her brother and her husband, Webb opened the first Drybar in 2008. Today, Drybar is a multimillion dollar business.

“Now they’re popping up everywhere; we have 100 locations. The category has grown tremendously. We basically created a category, on accident,” Webb said.

She continued: “I didn’t mean to do that; I just really wanted a place like I had dreamt of as a kid. A place where women could go for a blowout. It was a very simple, not-thought-out idea. It was something that totally didn’t exist back then.”

Listen to the full interview on Business Insider’s podcast, This is Success ยป

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