Featured on Fast Company’s "100 Most Creative People in Business 2013" list, Alli Webb is the founder of Drybar: "No cuts. No color. Just blowouts for only $35." Drybar has 29 locations and is ever-growing, including newly-opened Houston. This week, Alli shares on Dreaming Made Simple about finding your passion, getting started and persevering.
Dreaming Made Simple: You have said that the seeds for Drybar were planted when you were about six years old. How important is it to pay attention to the passions you had when you were a kid in terms of pursuing a business idea?
Alli Webb: I have always believed everything happens for a reason - the good and the bad. When I think back to being a little girl, I remember so clearly how strongly I felt about my hair looking a certain way (smooth and straight). My curly, frizzy hair was a major obstacle in my quest to looking perfectly put together. I never would have imagined that my hair obsession would turn into a career, but I guess you could say it did.
You hear people say "it's not work if you love what you do." I'm living proof of that. I feel incredibly lucky to have finally, after trying on many careers, discovered--or rather uncovered--what I was meant to do.
I wholeheartedly would encourage my children, and anyone who would listen, to absolutely follow your passion, but be willing to take the long road to get there.
Dreaming Made Simple: How much do you need to have figured out before launching a business? How do you avoid being overwhelmed by the thousands of details and blind spots?
Alli Webb: I'm not sure that you can avoid being overwhelmed by the thousands upon thousands of details that come barreling at you when you are launching a new business. For me, it was important to be open to surrounding myself with people who knew more than me. For example, my business partners, who happen to be my brother, Michael (CEO), and husband, Cameron (Creative Director), each have very different skill sets. I firmly believe that Drybar would not be close to what it is today without their incredible talents and minds.
Together, we figured out as much as we could before we opened our doors in 2010, but there were certainly mistakes, blind spots and many learning experiences. To this day, we are still learning more and more about how to be our best.
Never stop asking the tough questions and always be willing listen to the people around you - clients, friends, employees.
Dreaming Made Simple: How do you know whether something is a solid business idea or merely wishful thinking?
Alli Webb: That's a great question. For Drybar, I knew tons of women who, like me, struggled with their hair and the prices you'd have to pay to get a blowout at most salons. I spent a lot of time talking to anyone who would listen about my idea, and the feedback was always overwhelmingly positive. It's key to identify your target consumer and to make sure the need for your business really exists on a scale large enough to sustain the business for the long haul. Then execution is the next hurdle... Be prepared to work tirelessly to really nurture your idea.