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The Business of the Blow Dry: Rachel Zoe's DreamDry Breaks Into the Crowded Blow Dry Bar Scene

Does New York, home to Blow, Drybar and a handful of smaller hair drying fiefdoms, need another blowout salon? Rachel Zoe thinks so.
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Does New York, home to Blow, Drybar and a handful of smaller hair drying fiefdoms, need another blowout salon? Rachel Zoe thinks so. And so late last last week, on the unofficial national day of the blowout otherwise known as Valentine’s Day, Zoe and her partner Robin Moraetes have opened DreamDry, the blow dry bar 2.0, a late mover in the market (a la Apple and Kim Kardashian) that is attempting to capitalize on fixing the flaws inherent in the blowout industrial complex. The hair salon business is a $40 billion global industry with the blow drying niche growing by approximately 30% in the past year. Is there room in the market for more? Quite possibly, with small improvements to the product. “We have answered a lot of peoples concerns about what is missing in the business,” Moraetes said, listing what was missing as consistency, customer service and convenience. Customer service at DreamDry includes an easy online booking system, iPad style selections, frequent blow dry packages and a rewards program which, if you spend a hefty amount of time under a dryer, can result in a champagne party in the salon’s VIP room (not to ever be confused with a VIP party in the champagne room). “A lot of these places are popping up everywhere,” Moraetes, a 17-year Creative Artists Agency veteran who has consulted for Moët & Chandon, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Bliss Spa, said about her competitors. “The issue we had was I would get a blowout and I didn’t know what the results would be. “ Consistency at DreamDry is bred from what the partners are calling the DreamDry Academy, a 7-10 day intensive course of presentations, writing and diagnostic training in the DreamDry technique and the twelve styles that live on the salon’s menu, first on a mannequin and then on actual people hair.

“If they don’t pass they don’t go on the schedule,” Moraetes explained. Convenience comes in the form of extended hours. DreamDry opens at 6:30 am, a half hour earlier than competitors. “There were catfights over that slot for this week. We may actually have to open earlier,” Moraetes said. They close at 10 pm. All blowouts are $40, all express styles (including a fishtail braid and a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” bun) are $20 and take twenty minutes. Market testing has put their flagship salon in a highly trafficked commercial zone in NYC's Flatiron neighborhood (35 W 21st St.) bordering a residential area, complete with lots of gyms (Flywheel cycling studio is next door and Barry’s infamous Bootcamp is just a stone’s throw away) and shops. “We want to build our salon where the busy woman is. It is really about being convenient for her,” Moraetes said. The brand is very Zoe. A mixture of white and black lacquer with crystal accents, the salon feels a little like entering the uber stylist-turned-designer’s boudoir. “Rachel is all about the style. We have chosen everything from the colors to the décor to the general ambiance to fit in with this luxury brand. The same way Rachel defines style in clothing, we are trying to define style in hair,” Moraetes said. “Hair is really your best accessory.

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