If it’s not already painfully obvious, allow us let you in on a little (not so secret) secret – we are alllllll about some girl power here at Out Of Office NY. We strongly believe in the power of women uplifting and supporting one another – after all, our company started through building a community of influential women right here in NYC – check out Out Of Office NY Network if you haven’t already! As relatively new, first time female entrepreneurs, we have been pleasantly surprised at how helpful and forthcoming with advice some of the more established #girlbosses we admire have been! We had the opportunity to sit down with Alli Webb, founder of Drybar to get some advice on building a business and juggling it ALL (while maintaing a gorgeous blow out, obvi).
According to Alli, growing a $50 million dollar enterprise is all about passion, dedication and of course, a little bit of fun.
OOONY: What is your favorite part about being an entrepreneur?
AW: It’s a lot of things as I’m sure you guys would agree. I think it’s a level of freedom in being able to do what you want to do that is really nice. Being able to express yourself and really, for me, being able to pursue what I was passionate about and get enough people around me to believe in it and want to pursue it with me.
I think that that’s probably what makes most entrepreneurs excited and tick – is that they have this idea and they want to bring it to life, and see it through. My brother Michael always says a good idea is a dime a dozen, and it’s true because there are so many good ideas, but as an entrepreneur, you have to follow through with things.
It’s the thrill of making something really work.
OOONY: What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?
AW: From a personal side, it’s the fact that I’m a mom and have two little kids. I try to constantly balance being there for my kids and for work, and it’s always a crazy juggling act. I feel like I’m kind of always disappointing someone, and there’s a lot of guilt.
The challenging part on the business side is that we’ve grown so big so fast, we had to bring in a lot of other people to help us scale the company and to grow. Luckily, we have found really amazing people, who are now really running the organization. That’s hard – to not be the person who makes every decision. There’s a million decisions that get made every day, and handing over the reins and letting other people make those decisions is so hard. It was like baby steps, though. It didn’t all happen at once. We slowly brought on more and more people.
Now, our support center consists of almost 80-100 people and of course we have around 3,000 stylists in the field. At the epicenter of the business, we have a head of retail, a head of product, and a finance advisor. When it was 1 or 2 stores, my brother, my husband and I could manage it all.
A big challenge is not having as much control. On some days I love it because I’m like “you guys deal with that”, but some days I hate it because I’m not happy with something that was done. It’s a constant struggle, but a healthy rock at the same time.
OOONY: Any advice for women in New York particularly who are trying to start their own thing?
AW: I think the most important thing is finding that partner, that person who you can bounce things off of, who has the skills that you don’t. I talk about that a lot. It’s incredibly hard to do everything yourself. You really need to bring in someone else, whether it’s an equity partner, or you’re hiring people, especially if you are in a situation where you are still working at your full-time job and trying to start this business on the side.
That’s exactly how DryBar started. I was still operating my mobile business and picking up my kids from school. My husband was at his full-time job, and my brother was running another company. We were moonlighting, literally, by the time we got the kids to bed from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. we worked on the business.
I think there’s no way I could have done it by myself. My husband does all the branding and creative, my brother is more the business side of things. I get a lot of the limelight with this business, but it really was a team effort. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having other people who are helping you. Having someone tell you “No, that’s a bad idea,” or “I don’t think that’s going to work because of this or that”. I think that’s an incredibly important piece.
Also, the passion is crucial. If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re really passionate about something, that’s how you got to where you are. I think sticking to your guns and staying true to what you’re trying to do is key. There are so many businesses and companies we see out there that we love that we think “Oh it would be better if they did this,” and you can take that opportunity to go change something and make it better.
I feel like that’s what we did with DryBar. We didn’t invent blowouts, we just created a much better environment and experience around it. I think that’s something that entrepreneurs should keep in mind.
OOONY: You just released a new book, could you tell us a little about that?
AW: It’s called The DryBar Guide to Good Hair. It’s really a guide book. It breaks down all of DryBar’s signature styles on someone with straighter/fine hair and on someone with curly/coarser hair. It shows you how to get the different styles, tips and tricks for how you can get curls in your hair, how to do the Mai Tai, how to do Straight Up, and it teaches you how to do a full-blowout.
What I think is great about the book is that there’s something in there for everyone. Whether you are struggling with your bangs, your hair’s always frizzy, or you just can’t figure out how to do those one or two things, you can take something away from the book: how to do a perfect pony, a bun, a braid, all that stuff. It’s not too serious, it’s fun and has silly jokes. It’s like our voice at DryBar, everything is very fun and light-hearted, and the book really echoes that.
The beginning talks about my story and how DryBar got started and why it’s become this phenomenon. It’s a very rich book, and I’m so proud of it.
OOONY: What do you like to do “out of office”?
AW: I don’t have a lot of time. My time is usually split between work and then as soon as I have free time I’m with my kids, but I love doing things with them! I love to travel, we have a ski vacation coming up that we do every year. I have two little boys who love to shop, if you can believe that (they are definitely being raised by me). We love to go to the Grove, have lunch and shop and just be together. That’s a big thing for me, being with the family.
For me personally, I love working out. I love Barry’s Boot Camp, SoulCycle, and I really try to make time for myself to get facials and massages and that kind of thing. I think that’s really important when the time allows for it. I really love just sitting outside in my backyard with a cup of coffee before anyone is awake, with no one talking to me. There’s something about that peace in the morning that’s so great.
P.S. Have you heard the great news??!!
Drybar is coming to Williamsburg April 7th!