A founder who built a multimillion-dollar company with her husband and brother says the company's first Valentine's Day taught her the secret to working with family
- Drybar founder Alli Webb is no stranger to working with family. She opened Drybar, a brick-and-mortar hair salon for blow-outs, with her brother and husband in 2008.
- Webb said the first Valentine's Day in the store showed her the importance of knowing her strengths and weaknesses - as well as those of her business partners.
- Webb said each founder, including herself, has a set of skills that helps bring the business to life, and they don't steer into each other's lanes.
Drybar founder Alli Webb is no stranger to working with family. After 10 years in business with her brother and husband, Drybar has more than 100 locations nationwide - but it took family reconciliation to get the business where it is today.
Drybar is a brick-and-mortar hair salon for blow-outs, without the fuss of cut or color. Webb had a career in fashion and hair styling before becoming a stay-at-home mom. She missed the business, and started a home blow-out business for women in Los Angeles. That side project evolved into Drybar in 2008. Her brother, Michael Landau, provided funding and operations expertise, while her husband, Cameron, handled the marketing and design front.Webb said the first Valentine's Day in the store showed her the importance of knowing her strengths and weaknesses - as well as those of her business partners - on an episode of Business Insider's podcast "This Is Success."
Webb said each founder, including herself, has a set of skills that helps bring the business to life.
"I think that I have a lot of different skill sets, but my main skill, and best, and highest use with this brand, is making sure the hair looks and feels a certain way in the training of the hair stylists, the customer service, how the shop's run," Webb said.
Webb said her brother excels at finding store leases and negotiating terms - things Webb says she hates doing. Cameron tackles all things creative, including Drybar branding - which feature the colors yellow, gray, and white.
"I always tell the story our first Valentine's day, the shop was open, I wanted to bring in pink flowers, because it's Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day, it's pink and red. He was like, 'No the flowers have to be yellow,'" Webb said.
Webb said she learned a lot from her brother and husband that she couldn't bring to the brand."Everything has to be yellow, and gray and white. I slowly, but surely, learned that from him. And I learned so much from my brother about figuring out spaces, and learning how to raise money, and all those things," Webb said. "So, we've all taught each other so much about each other's areas, but there is still that level of respect of like, 'This is what you do. This is what I do.' So, we divide and conquer."
About 20 years ago, Webb and her brother Michael tried opening Nicole Miller boutiques in South Florida. Instead of success, the siblings were fighting the business into the ground. "We were fighting like cats and dogs, we were both so young and inexperienced and stupid," Webb said. But the experience provided them with some context for what would work and what wouldn't when they partnered again for Drybar.
And in the early days of Drybar, she explained, the three cofounders had to learn how to respect boundaries, and not let a business disagreements affect personal relationships.
"There's definitely been fights and disagreements, but it goes back to that level of respect we have for each other, that we trust, and that there's an innate trust that's there," Webb said. "I think you don't always have to be just with your family, and a partnership with your family to have that, but having somebody you really trust that feels like family is crucial."