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Drybar takes cuts, color out of styling

Drybar takes cuts, color out of styling

PLANO—On any given day, Julia Melle spends more than an hour blow drying and styling her hair for work. So the full-time working mom was thrilled when Plano’s first blow dry bar opened a floor below her office in west Plano last month.


With a one-hour “blow-out” lasting Melle four to five days, the Richardson resident said the money spent saves time and frustration and also makes her look at the top of her game for business meetings or everyday outings.

“My hair is so thick that I can’t blow dry it myself that great,” said Melle. “It usually takes an hour and 15 minutes to fix this lion’s mane, but when I do it looks nothing like this. I can’t ever get to the back and can never get it as straight.”

Kelley Chambers / Staff Photo: Drybar Manager Julie Steffenaur, left, and Owner Shannon Williams, right, are currently booking appointments for blowouts and updos for the holiday season.

At first thought, the term “drybar” may translate into some non-alcoholic watering hole. With only 12 Drybar salons in the country and the idea having only been born two years ago, the concept of a cutless, colorless hair salon is unfamiliar to many. However, to those who have had the pleasure of visiting one, many wonder why the concept hasn’t been thought of before.

The theme of Drybar, located in the Shops at Legacy, resembles a night life venue in the sense that clients can kick their feet up at what is designed like a bar, stretching nearly the length of the entire salon. However instead of ashtrays, half-empty pints and stacks of cocktail napkins, Drybar’s marble finish displays high-end hair care products and the occasional mimosa or wine spritzer. Swap out a football game for “Pretty Woman,” hard rock for girly pop music, and you’ve got Drybar, a hair studio without a heavy emphasis on products—just skill in wielding a blow dryer.

For $35, one can choose from five different blow-out styles, from the Manhattan to the Mai Tai. Shirley Temple ‘do’s are also available for $24 for the little divas. Extra services include “floaters”—or 10-minute head massages—and “up-tinis.” Monthly memberships such as the Barfly offers four blow-outs, two floaters and 10 percent off products, boasting a $35 in savings.

Owner Shannon Williams said they are also planning on offering a Groupon discount this month and are accepting appointments for holiday parties and New Year’s. Appointments can be made by calling 214-735-4944 or by visiting thedrybar.com. A free, new iPhone app is also available for easily booking appointments. Gift sets are also available on sale for the holidays.

The Drybar in Plano is an offshoot of the one in Dallas. Williams said she has enjoyed noticing how each of their 45 collective stylists has come to understand their growing clientele’s needs in the relatively new industry. Conversely, she said, their customers are learning more about the salon’s concepts, as well as their own hair.

“I usually only get my hair blow dried professionally after I get my hair cut, now I’m getting blowouts twice a week and I’m getting to know my hair,” Williams said. “I think it provides a learning lesson for both the stylist and the customer, and once the customer gets to understand their hair better they are willing to take more risks and try different styles.”

The Drybar is not intended to replace traditional hair salons; in fact, Williams said the combination of services in close proximity to one another has actually helped foster each other’s business.

“Most stylists, all they want to do is cut and color, so we’ve found that we haven’t been that competitive with other salons,” Williams “A lot of salons think at first that we’re here to steal their business, but we actually swap clients. It’s pretty neat.”

Like many others, Drybar manager Julie Steffenour had never heard of a blow-out bar when she first applied to the salon, so she did her homework prior to her interview. For a person with experience working in spas, Steffenour said it was love at first sight.

“Almost a year in and I still feel the same way,” Steffenour said. “When I tell people where I work they either a) scream in excitement of their love for Drybar or b) question it and I get very excited to tell them all about it.”

The 23-year-old is so confident about the business she said she is not afraid to offer potential clients $100 of her own money if they don’t completely fall in love with it. However cliché it may sound, she said, the excitement and sheer joy that comes from her experience at the Drybar so far reflects an undeniable commitment to customer satisfaction and true passion for blow drying hair.

“Every single person that I have had that conversation with comes back to tell me they don’t want to admit it because of the wager, but I was spot on,” said Steffenour. “We aren’t selling blowouts, we are selling confidence.”