Drybar's Founder Says This Helped Her Overcome the Fear of Failure

December 8, 2017
Updated 1mo ago

When Alli Webb started her first blow-drying shop in 2010, she never expected it to become a multi-million dollar business with nearly 90 locations in the U.S. and Canada. The Drybar founder just thought she’d turn her mobile styling business into a brick-and-mortar shop, “and that would be it.”

But a combination of business savvy, luck, and a true passion for hair took it far beyond that first salon in Brentwood, California.

“There’s always been this passion and personal obsession with hair,” Webb told Cheddar. “It took me a lot of years and a lot of other careers to figure out what I wanted to do.

To get off the ground, she convinced her husband to put all of their money into the business, and got her marketer brother to invest $250,000. “My vision for it was that if we do enough blow outs a day, and we keep the price right, and we’re really nice to people, like this business could work,” she said.

While her family was supportive and on board, she still faced a lot of doubters who thought it was crazy to start a business in the middle of a recession, with such a singular focus. But Webb was confident about her concept. “Women feel better when their hair looks better,” she says. “You just can’t deny that.”

Webb also grew up with parents who were entrepreneurs, so the idea of starting a business wasn’t scary to her. She also says that she always has the attitude that “things will work out,” which helps.

“I felt like it’ll really suck if it didn’t work, and we would all lose money, and that would be unfortunate,” she said. “But I also thought like --no one is going to die-- and we can all go out and get jobs.” Now, question is no longer about starting the business, it’s about growing it.

Beyond hair styling service, Drybar now has product line that’s sold at Sephora, Nordstrom, Ulta, and Bloomingdales. Her business also boasts of more than 500,000 followers across social media. The hairstylist says that the key to taking the plunge is having a vision, having confidence in your idea, and just going for it.