- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
- Alli Webb cofounded Drybar with her brother and husband in 2008. Ten years later, Drybar is a multi-million dollar business with more than 100 locations nationwide.
- Webb said a successful business starts with an extreme passion and good leaders who are open to honest feedback.
- Entrepreneurs also have to be practical – if your business doesn’t take off, she said, “this is just a bump in the road.”
It takes courage to start a business from the ground up, but often the most important ingredient is passion.
For Alli Webb, it was a passion for beauty and hairstyling that led her to founding Drybar with her brother and husband, she said on an episode of Business Insider’s podcast “This Is Success.”
Drybar is a brick-and-mortar hair salon for blow-outs, without the fuss of cut or color. Since opening its doors in 2008, Drybar has become a multi-million dollar business with more than 100 locations across North America.
Webb said creating Drybar was a passion project to fill a gap in the haircare industry.
“Blowouts have been around forever. But to discover this opportunity and this huge hole in the market, I think that was very exciting to discover something new and exciting,” Webb said.
She said that to have a successful business, you need to start with something that is an “extreme passion.”
“If you’re building a business, it takes so much time, effort, money, blood, sweat, and tears, all of it,” Webb said. “You can’t even understand that until you’re in the trenches of it. So, if you’re not so over-the-top passionate about it, it will never work.”
Beyond passion, Webb said it’s important to be receptive and open to feedback – and to surround yourself with people who are willing to be honest.
“The last thing, I feel like probably every founder, and leader, feels this way, you don’t ever want people around you who are just telling you what they think you want to hear,” she said.
For example, Webb appreciates when clients directly email her about their Drybar experience.
“It makes my team a little crazy when clients directly email me something that happened. Because they’re like, ‘Why are they emailing the founder of the company?’ I’m like, ‘Why wouldn’t they email the founder of the company?’ I want to know everything. I want to know the truth,” Webb said.
She continued: “You’ve got to hear the bad stuff to be great.”
Still, Webb said she realized, like any business, there was a chance hers wouldn’t be successful. And that’s something every entrepreneur should keep in mind, she said.
Webb continued: “Even if, God forbid, it doesn’t work, you can go get a job if you have to. You’re a really smart, capable person. You’re not going to die; this is not the end of the road; this is just a bump in the road. You get up, you figure it out, and maybe this isn’t the right thing.”