Thanks to her unruly curly hair, Alli Webb
knows how a good blowout can completely
change the way a woman feels about herself.
In 2010, she persuaded her brother and her
husband—both bald—to help her launch Drybar,
which focuses exclusively on blowouts. Eight
years later, Drybar has more than 100 locations
and over $100 million in revenue.
—AS TOLD TO LINDSAY BLAKELY
After high school, I fumbled around. I tried
college but didn’t go to class much. I thought I
wanted a career in fashion, so I moved to New
York City. My brother Michael Landau—he’s
an overachiever—was living there and working
in Nicole Miller’s corporate o;ce. We’re
very close. The joke in our family is that he is
my third parent. I got a job at the Nicole Miller
store in SoHo. Then Michael suggested we
bring Nicole Miller shops to South Florida,
where we grew up.
So we moved there and opened two stores.
Soon I was managing a bunch of people, working all the time, driving back and forth—and
thinking, “This cannot be it for me.” Michael
and I fought a lot. He wanted me in the stores
all the time; meanwhile, he played a lot of
golf. He was doing inventory, payroll, and the
stu; I wasn’t good at, but it felt lopsided.
I finally had to tell him that I couldn’t do it
anymore. But I also felt like I had to end this
toxic situation, because we were starting to
hate each other. He was surprisingly cool
about it. I also revealed that I wanted to go to
beauty school and do hair at fashion shows.
Michael thought I should. That gave me a lot
After beauty school, I worked in salons in
New York. I met my husband, Cameron, and he
got a great advertising job in Los Angeles. I
thought I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom
with my two kids. Five years in, I realized I
To get out of the house, I started a mobile
blowout business, going to friends’ homes and
styling their hair for 40 bucks. My husband
created a website. I posted the link in a
Yahoo mommy group—and was inundated
I started thinking of having my clients come
to me in a shop. That’s when I went to Michael
and said there might be a bigger opportunity.
It took some convincing. He’s bald. I started
talking to Cameron, too. He’s also bald, but he
thought it was a genius idea. Michael wasn’t
100 percent sold, but he said he wanted to back
me. Our parents, knowing what happened with
the Nicole Miller stores, said, “You guys are out
ALLI WEBB/DRYBAR HOW I LAUNCHED MY COMPANY— AND LEARNED TO LET GO
PHOTOGRAPH BY RAMONA ROSALES ; ; ; JULY/AUGUST 2018 ; INC. ; 31
HOW DRYBAR FOUND—AND FILLED—ITS NICHE
“There was this huge gap in the market,” Webb says. “There were full-service salons way overcharging
for blowouts, and there were Fantastic Sams, which were not a great experience.” Drybar synthesized
the two: reasonably priced and luxurious in feel. To that last point, customers are always greeted with
“Welcome to Drybar—it’s nice to see you” rather than “Do you have an appointment?” Drybar blowouts
start in the front, rather than in the back, as beauty schools teach (to better tackle unruly cowlicks, and
provide a better visual for the customer)—and each Drybar location’s management team has at least
one stylist who can pinch-hit should another stylist call in sick.