“No cuts. No color. Just blowouts.” It’s the DryBar promise and has made the beauty chain one of the largest blowout bars in the U.S. But an L.A.-based startup called Treat hopes to tackle DryBar where it believes it is weakest – more blowouts for the same price.
Think of it as a sort of ClassPass for getting your hair done. Treat hooks customers up with an unlimited amount of blowout appointments at various partner salons in the city for $125/month (or the cost of three DryBar blowouts).
It’s a “Tom Sawyer” sort of business structure – getting other people to do the work for you while you make a profit – and it’s often a smart one for startups to use (see Airbnb, Uber, etc.). In this instance, it allows Treat to cut the cost of overhead by using other salons instead of renting or buying a brick and mortar business, staffing and running its own salon. It also brings added revenue to hairstylists (and possibly new customers).
The startup says it’s testing out the idea in L.A. with some success and just opened up a beta program in San Francisco. But it has a long way to go before truly competing with DryBar or the many other blowout competitors.
Women really seemed to love the idea of getting their hair done (sans the salon upsell) when DryBar first opened in 2010. The blowout business grew from four to 48 locations by 2015 and inspired many copycats along the way.
I’ve been to a couple of blowout bars myself and have enjoyed the experience. It’s a fun way to relax and get someone else to make my hair look much better than any attempt on my part at home, so the Treat proposal seemed intriguing. I also asked a few lady friends in a very non-scientific poll if they’d be interested in this sort of service. All of them enthusiastically agreed and asked when they could start. So that also seemed promising for the new startup.
However, this isn’t the first time this sort of service has popped up. In New York, there’s BeautyBooked, a comprehensive salon and manicure concierge offering a $60 “beauty pass” for two blowouts a month, and Vive, which offers unlimited blowouts for $175 a month.
It’s also an idea that would be fairly easy to replicate. Styleseat could build out a similar service, for example.
DryBar is still by far the most popular blowout bar, with customers in the millions and $53 million in funding.
Treat is bootstrapped and hopes to raise funding for the idea in the near future. For now, the startup is working on building a list of partner salons to offer the service in SF and will soon launch an additional nail salon service for $49 a month.
Those interested in signing up in L.A. can go to treat.me/. Treat is working on an SF launch soon, but you can sign up on the waitlist for now.