Drybar CEO Alli Webb Proves You Don’t Need a Traditional Background to Build a Business Empire
Alli Webb admits she doesn’t come with the credentials that many entrepreneurs bring to the table, but she does know a whole lot about hair blowouts. That’s how she founded Drybar.
It started with one California location focused solely on providing blowouts—relatively simple treatments that involve styling a client’s hair with a brush while blowing it dry—rather than taking on all the extra services of a traditional hair salon. “It was really intended to be our one little shop, my one little shop,” Webb said at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif. “My kids at the time were three and five and I was going to pick them up from school and run this salon and just do blowouts and make a nice little living and that was going to be my life.”
“There was no business plan,” Webb continued. “I didn’t go to college. I don’t have any fancy degrees. I just had a good idea.”
Drybar has since expanded to encompass over 100 locations, while continuing to remain hyper-focused on blowouts. Even Webb’s investors have been surprised by the narrow focus, the founder said, noting that the thought of adding services has come up “since day one.”
Still, “I always felt in my gut if we were to add anything else, it would convolute the brand,” Webb added. She invoked Malcolm Gladwell’s principle that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice are needed to reach an expert level of skill. “I feel like, for us, if we were to add anything else, I think we would maybe be good at a lot of things, but not great at one thing,” she said.
That doesn’t mean Webb herself feels the need to stick solely to blowouts, however, even if Drybar does. Without revealing many details, she said she’s starting another business. “It’s not anything to do with Drybar, and it’s not anything like Drybar, but it is something I’m very excited about.”