"Just Start"—Alli Webb on Starting Your Own Business and Chasing Your Dreams
Here at MyDomaine, we’re champions of businesses that are owned and operated by women; after all, our company was founded by two fearless women. That’s why we’re collaborating with Who What Wear on Female Founded, an editorial series that dives into the stories of women who have launched their own businesses. Here, you’ll discover who these women are, what they’ve accomplished, and how they style pieces from our own Who What Wear collection at Target.
Like many of the best business ideas, Drybar, a chain of hair salons specialising in blowouts, was inspired by a personal need. Founder Alli Webb knows from experience that the right hairstyle can have a significant impact on your self-confidence, and it was her struggle with her own hair that sparked the idea for a chain of salons offering affordable hairstyling services to the masses—aka Drybar.
Today, the beloved brand, which launched in 2009 with humble beginnings, is now a multimillion-dollar company with a cult following of devoted fans. "I think there are three things you need when starting a business: a great idea, great branding, and great customer service," Webb told MyDomaine. "Those are the things that immediately grab people and get [them] in the door." With 100 locations and counting, a coveted product line sold at renowned retailers like Sephora, Ulta, and Nordstrom, and a best-selling book, Webb's wild success pretty much speaks for itself. And we're all ears.
In this edition of Female Founded, the founder of Drybar generously shares insights into how she built her salon empire, including the biggest mistakes she's learned from along the way, the best (and the worst) career advice she's ever received, and the inspiring legacy she hopes to leave behind.
What company did you start? What is its purpose?
Drybar. To make women look and feel beautiful and confident.
Fill in the blank: "Before founding Drybar, I was…"
A lot of things! I have been a professional hairstylist for almost 20 years and was most recently a stay-at-home mum before I started my mobile blowout business, Straight at Home, which is part of what inspired the idea for Drybar.
What are three things you always do before 10 a.m.?
Wake up my kids, drink coffee, and work out.
What were some of your biggest career mistakes and what did you learn from them?
Not thinking things through before they come out of my mouth. As a young adult, I would often just blurt out answers or opinions without considering the consequences. I think as I got older and wiser, I learned how to balance that urge to have such a strong knee-jerk reaction to everything.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
I think being open to feedback is probably the best advice I've ever been given. It's tough but so very important to your growth and development as a businesswoman and human.
What is the worst piece of advice you've ever been given?
Not to go to beauty school.
What's your biggest piece of advice for female entrepreneurs?
Just start and don't worry that you don't have all the answers yet.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
I hope to inspire and empower a new generation of female entrepreneurs to chase their dreams.
If you could have your 12-year-old self over for dinner, what advice would you share with her?
Don't worry. It's all gonna work out the way it's supposed to.
Who are some of your mentors, dead or alive, famous or ordinary?
Jackie O, Maria Shriver, Maya Angelou, Oprah, and Princess Diana.
How would your employees and assistants describe you? How would your best friend describe you?
I think my employees would describe me as high energy, a little compulsive and intense, but a lot of fun. I think my friends would describe me as spontaneous, fun, and sensitive.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
I'm most proud of all the jobs we created with Drybar. We employee over 3000 people across the country, and it feels just amazing.
What's something you've yet to accomplish but would love to achieve in your lifetime?
I'm working on a few new projects right now, so stay tuned!
What's next for your brand/company?
Our product and tools are a big focus right now, and we are working a ton of new exciting and innovative formulas that I'm so excited about as well as international expansion.
What type of clothing item always commands respect?
A black blazer.
Now for a few rapid-fire questions…
Dine out or order in?
Go-to drink order?
Eat Pray Love
Last thing you googled?
What are your top three favourite accounts to follow on social?
Photographer: Paley Fairman | Makeup Artist: Dana Delaney | Stylist: Yasi Moshtael