The team that built Drybar is conquering a whole new industry

The team that built Drybar is conquering a whole new industry

Good ideas come in spades, and for Alli Webb, having a good idea is only a fraction of what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Courtesy of Squeeze

“It’s funny how many people have said to me over the years, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ It’s like, ‘Well, you probably did, but it probably ended there,’” she says.

In 2010, Webb, a professional hairstylist by trade, and her brother Michael, a lifelong businessman, founded what would become a national sensation: Drybar.

What started as a way to revolutionize the concept of blowouts – making it simple, affordable and easy – has grown into a phenomenon that has swept the country and now has over 150 locations across the United States.

But Webb’s innate drive to improve systems didn’t stop at haircare – even after selling the company’s product business to Helen of Troy for $255 million in 2020 and its franchise business. at WellBiz Brands in 2021. In fact, Webb was still in the trenches at Drybar when the next big idea came along.

Related: How Success Happened For Drybar’s Alli Webb

“The thing I always think about is What do you love that exists, but just isn’t done well?” said Webb.

She’s been a massage enthusiast for as long as she can remember, but she wasn’t happy with what was going on — from the hassle of scheduling appointments to feeling like the decor or the atmosphere was not good. “I like certain things, but I would always forget to say them,” she says. “And then there are brands or specialists who come to you, but it’s so expensive.” Webb saw an opportunity to shake up the industry and streamline the process from start to finish, making luxury more accessible to everyone.

“I strongly believe in surrounding yourself with people smarter than you.”

Webb knew she couldn’t build her vision alone. So she turned to Brittany Driscoll, whom she had worked with for years as Drybar’s vice president of marketing, to bring that vision to life. The key to lasting and productive partnerships, according to Webb, is humility. “I’m a firm believer in surrounding yourself with people smarter than you are,” she says. “Michael and I recognized early on that we weren’t great operators or managers. With Brittany, we knew from experience that she was going to be the person who could really get this thing where it needed to go.”

Together they create Squeeze, a state-of-the-art massage franchise that allows clients to book appointments, set personal preferences, pay and tip through the app, minimizing the hassle planning and creates an experience tailored to individual preferences.

Although Driscoll says Squeeze is Webb’s “brainchild”, Webb calls it Driscoll’s “baby”. The way they each talk about each other’s strengths and express their gratitude for the partnership reflects Squeeze’s core mission: to help others feel good so they can do good.

Related: This Drybar Entrepreneur Highlights the Importance of a Good Culture for Business Success

Besides Squeeze’s goal of celebrating every individual who walks through its doors, Driscoll knew from the start that she wanted to push the mission forward. “I just believe we’re all the best version of ourselves — and more driven — when we’re part of something bigger than ourselves,” she says.

Driscoll began thinking about the benefits offered by massage – building confidence and empowering individuals to prioritize self-care – and began researching philanthropies that provide a similar experience. She came across Canine Companions, which provides service dogs for free to individuals. It was exactly what Driscoll was looking for.

At the time, Squeeze didn’t even have a website, so Driscoll took a chance and coldly called philanthropy. When one woman responded, she took a leap of faith: “Have you heard of…Drybar by any chance?

“I was like, ‘Let me start with that because it will at least give me some credibility and I hope you don’t hang up on me,'” she said.

Driscoll was explaining Squeeze’s mission and her desire to partner with the organization when the woman interrupted her and said, “You’re not going to believe this.”

“She said to me, ‘One of the commands that dogs learn to do when people are having physical episodes or anxiety [is to] get on it and give them some squeeze“, recalls Driscoll. “I always get chills when I tell the story. It was just instantaneous. It was so clearly meant to be.”

For every subscription sold, Squeeze helps provide a day of canine support to a person with a disability.

“I think if it was easy, everyone would do it.”

Everything lined up. Two years after the team got to work on the concept, Squeeze opened its first location in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles in 2019, and closed its first three-unit franchise deal in Denver just eight months away. after opening. Then the pandemic hit. Like most service businesses, it was forced to close. Denver’s deal has been suspended.

While it was difficult to navigate the uncertainty of the pandemic and the business, the hardest part actually came after the dust had settled. “Rebuilding momentum is probably one of the hardest things, almost harder than starting from scratch,” Driscoll says.

Brittany Driscoll | Courtesy of Squeeze

Picking up the brand’s expansion movement after a year-long hiatus wasn’t easy, but Driscoll says what kept them going was the reason they started in the first place, and the “why.” , she argues, must be bigger than the “how”.

Related: Resilience in the new normal: how to bounce back from setbacks

“It’s not easy,” she said. “I think if it was easy, everyone would do it.”

Squeeze now has 50 locations slated to open across the country, with plans to grow to 300-500 units across the country over the next few years.

Unwavering dedication to the overarching goal of extending good beyond Squeeze’s four walls was what kept Driscoll and the team motivated at a time when the brand’s future remained uncertain.

“I don’t believe the most successful people are the best educated, the most experienced, or the best connected,” says Driscoll. “I think the most successful people are the ones who keep going and don’t give up and don’t get discouraged. And that’s what we did.”

Related: Thinking of Owning a Franchise? Start now and take this quiz to find your personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests and budget.

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