Hyper-specialized shops loan new life to salon and fitness industries

by / Wednesday, 02 January 2013 / Published in Beauty Salon Business Loans, Gym Business Loans

Yesterday, we announced that in January the Horizon Business Funding Blog is loaning paged to the business of fitness and beauty. This, of course, is in honor of the new year and the resolutions many Americans made to get fitter, healthier and happier. We mentioned two businesses — Drybar and SoulCycle — that we are going to take a closer look at today. Both are redefining their respective industries and making a lot of money in the process.



Drybar‘s tagline is: “No cuts. No color. Just blowout.” They are turning the salon model on it’s head by hyper-specializing. And according to Forbes — it’s working. In a profile of the chain and it’s founder Alli Webb, Meghan Casserly writes,

“What’s amazing is how Webb, a 37-year-old mother of two, has made a $20 million (sales) business out of nothing but hot air. Four years ago she was peddling her services from a 2001 Nissan Xterra, driving around L.A. “Between gas and babysitters, I doubt I ever broke even,” she recalls. Today, with 23 salons in six states (26 by year-end), Drybar is styling the hair of more than 50,000 women every month.”

Each blowout costs $40 (unless you are under 10 years old). And styles are selected from a menu including looks like a “Straigh Up,” “The Cosmo” or a “Southern Comfort.” Each Drybar looks essentially the same (white tables and chairs with yellow and gray accents) and all the stylists are trained in the Drybar fashion.


But if Drybar represents a specific style, SoulCyle is a way of life — a very expensive way of life (or a moderately priced addiction). SoulCycle is an indoor spin chain that began in Manhattan in 2006. Classes cost $32 each but supply for the 45 minute workouts never meets demand. Earlier this year Vanessa Grigoriadis wrote about the company and its founders in Vanity Fair,

“The SoulCycle formula—only in New York and Los Angeles at the moment, but, with Equinox’s purchase of the company last year, soon to be replicated in 60 locations, including Greenwich, Connecticut, D.C., and San Francisco—involves getting everyone hopped up on a cocktail of cardio fitness, motivational sayings, and the frisson of excitement that comes from overpaying for something worthwhile.”

Grigoriadis posits that the price tag makes SoulCylce, “perhaps the most expensive group fitness class in the country.” Clearly they are doing something right, Equinox gym bought the company last year for an undisclosed amount. Even Bloomberg Businessweek is asking the founders for business tips. 

Co-founder Julie Rice loaned the business magazine this tip,

“I have learned more about SoulCycle handing out towels and water at the front desk than I could have ever learned sitting in an office. I always say, ‘If one person has a suggestion and actually voices it, there are 100 people who were thinking the same thing.'”

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