Drybar opens in Georgetown, Bethesda


DryBar owner Alli Webb is on scene at the opening of their Georgetown location. (Craig Hudson/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Mary Bennett kicked off her 70th birthday with a mimosa and a blow dry.

At 9 a.m. last Friday, the Georgetown resident was getting her hair done at Drybar, a neighborhood salon that offers nothing but blowouts for a flat rate of $40.

“I think it is just the coolest business model,” Bennett said. “They’ve been open a week, and I’ve already been here twice.”

The Newport Beach, Calif.-based company opened its first two locations in the Washington area — one in Georgetown and another on Bethesda Row — on Oct. 19.

Since then, the salons, which open at 7 a.m. during the week, have coiffed a steady stream of women, including many who stop by for a pick-me-up before heading to the office.

“There’s just such a demand — there are so many women who come in before work like clockwork,” said Michael Landau, who co-founded Drybar with his sister in 2010. “That 7 o’clock appointment has become a coveted spot.”

Drybar, which has 17 other locations throughout the country, had been plotting a move to Washington for years, Landau said.

“People have been practically begging us to come to D.C.,” Landau said.

But there was one pesky problem: finding trendy locations with enough parking.

“The ability of a customer to get in and out quickly is really important,” Landau said. “If you look at our stores, the ones with great parking outperform the rest beyond belief.”

The company eventually secured a spot on Wisconsin Avenue, next to the Georgetown Safeway. Around the same time, a spot opened up in Bethesda Row.

“It’s not like we planned to open two stores at once,” Landau said. “It just worked out that way. We’d had our eye on Bethesda Row for two years — there just hadn’t been anything available.”

Although blow dry-only salons have enjoyed widespread popularity in cities such as New York and Los Angeles, this is the first salon of its type to open in the Washington area.

The average blowout at Drybar takes about 40 minutes. Customers are offered complimentary mimosas, white wine and diet Coke during their appointments.

Drybar currently has 75 stylists in the Washington area, with plans to hire at least 45 more by the end of this year.

There are five basic hairstyles customers can choose from, including the Straight Up (“simple and straight”), the Cosmopolitan (lots of loose curls) and the Mai Tai (“messy and beachy”).

“Everyone wants what they don’t have,” Landau said. “The straight-haired girls want curly hair, and the curly-haired girls want straight hair.”

On Friday morning, the Georgetown location was abuzz with blow dryers. Natalia Egorova, 25, was getting her hair styled for her wedding.

Basma Rayess, executive director of a local nonprofit, had stopped by on her way to a morning meeting.

“I don’t usually get [blow outs],” said Rayess, 50, who opted for the sleek-and-smooth Manhattan. “But this is very convenient — I can just get it done and go to work.”

Abha Bhattarai covers local banking, retail and hospitality for The Washington Post’s Capital Business section.
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