blo dry bar
When I wrote the business plan for Blo, I declared immediately — like, page one first paragraph — the Blow Dry Bar concept would become ‘the Starbucks of the beauty regime’: a fast, convenient, affordable luxury, applicable on a global scale.
Together with my co-founders, Val Litwin and Judy Brooks, we succeeded in building a brand that would go on to attract collaborations and partnerships with some of the most reverednames in the world among fashion, beauty, and entertainment: Mattel, Guess and Gwenyth Paltrow to name a few.
In fact, within the first two weeks of opening location one we were booking up solid, breaking even, and fielding serious franchise and investment requests.
We carved out a cutting-edge market category which laid a path, not only for Blo’s own brand success but, for thousands of small business owners, and even a couple wide-scale competitor brands. All of which are largely owned and operated by women (a massive point of pride for me). The brilliance of the business model spoke volumes for itself when, with light speed, the Blow Dry Bar ‘catwalk-quality hair in a flash’ concept — we initially had to educate the marketplace on — proved to be a thriving, internationally replicable service-based retail business model. From wax-bars to brow-bars, Blo’s ‘do-one-thing-do-it-well ‘bar’ approach, born in my second year at the London College of Fashion, has become a go-to format for beauty services.
In order to make sure we could live out our brand promise we devised an internal training program, called Blo U(niversity): session-styling certification which taught students how to deliver the looks from the hair menu with efficiency and integrity. There were few blow-dry focused courses in your average hair school at the time; even working salon stylists would come take our course to up their styling game. Since then, program offerings around the world in retail chains and schools have shifted to include sell-out blow dry styling courses. Mastering a knock-out blow out has become a caught after skill.
The brand-driven experience, and creative vocabulary, we introduced bench marked industry standards. You name it: the hair menu, pricing formula, efficiency and quality promise, tag-lines, and un-salon hours have all influenced the way the market operates. Even Blo’s best competitors haven’t veered from using our expert ‘No cuts. No colour’ approach.
Our founding team cultivated a brand, culture and operations system that’s enabled Blo to scale to 50+ global franchise locations, allowing the company to continue to scale without the presence of its founders