Trendy blow dry bars are making their way into the meetings market the same way spa treatments started appealing to corporate groups more than a decade ago. As more and more salons are offering the “no cuts, no color, just blowouts” concept, meeting planners can now plan blowout events for small groups.
The blow dry bar concept is simple in that a stylist washes and then blow-dries an attendee’s hair, creating a frizz-free hairdo that should last at least three to four days. It all started in 2010 when celebrity stylist Alli Webb opened up Drybar in Los Angeles. The major blow dry bar franchise has since debuted in other locations such as New York, San Francisco and Dallas, with the latest opening in Chicago in December.
“We are a California-based company, so we definitely bring the vibe with us,” says Webb. “All our stores offer a very happy, chic, upbeat environment that makes people feel great the moment they walk in the door.”
The Chicago shop offers just that with its inviting fresh white walls, wooden floors and a chic chandelier made out of yellow blow dryers. It offers visitors champagne and plays popular movies in the backdrop. (Note: Meeting planners can use the same oversize screens playing movies on loop for multimedia presentations.)
The shop has two floors with 15 chairs as well as a wash suite on each floor, so it can accommodate groups up to 30 people, doing two rounds of hair. The company can also perform offsite services. When the Chicago shop opened, for instance, Drybar representatives were invited to Trunk Club, a customized menswear company founded in Chicago. Webb spoke about Drybar in front of more than 100 of the company’s employees, and then stylists styled the attendees’ hair afterwards.
“Anyone is able to rent out our store at a fixed cost, which is very popular for businesses to use as a way to treat and connect with their employees,” says Webb.
While the shop doesn’t offer catering options, meeting planners are able to bring their own food and beverages when they hold parties in any of the shops, Webb says. The shop also offers its own custom-made products that coincide with the hairdos available on the Drybar menu. The Southern Belle volumizing mousse for instance gives customers volume in a similar way the Southern Comfort blowout does.
Who knew getting your hair done could involve so much networking?