A new you in 30 minutes? Is it possible? ‘Blo’ Blow Dry Bar would stake their reputation on it!
Opening in Vancouver in 2007, the inspiration behind ‘Blo’ was to have a salon that was dedicated to a wash, blow dry and style of your hair in just 30 minutes. By holding true to its core concept the business has grown strong and has expanded to 34 locations that have opened across Canada. But is that the only secret to their success?
I set up a meeting with Noushi , the owner of the PATH, Shangri-La, Yorkville and Yonge St. ‘Blo’ locations in Toronto, to get some insight into the organization and how they became so lucrative.
When I first step into Blo, I’m surrounded by a bold, inviting and very, very pink space. The scent in the air can only be described as pure deliciousness and the music that greets you at the front door is tres upbeat.
Noushi shares the Blo motto, which is both brilliant and quotable, “You aren’t cheating on your hairdresser”. It is a marketable statement because all women and men know the guilt of going to another stylist or colorist to get their hair done. Taking away that guilt really makes the consumer feel like Blo offers a different service than their regular salon offerings. With this marketing message Blo isn’t seen as replacing your hair dresser but rather as a place to get styled in between salon visits.
Each Blo location offers their clients 7 signature Blo styles to choose from. But, it doesn’t end there, the staff, or ‘Blo’ers’, are able to style your hair to a custom request or picture with ease. Blo also offers both everyday and event style options. They even expand outside their locations to offer a full Bridal package and a service called ‘Blo on the Go’. In both cases the Blo’er (and team if necessary) will visit the client’s home or location and do the styling on site. There are no limitations for the Blo’er experts when it comes to style! Noushi tells me “The most common compliment the bar receives is ‘I feel like a million bucks’.”
All of the Blo’ers are carefully selected and trained by the owners of each location. Most come from a salon environment , fully trained on cut and color techniques but choose to work in the style business because of its fast pace and social aspects. Given the convenience of the 30 minute style the pace of the bar is quick and the Blo’ers will see many more clients then they would in a typical salon. This social aspect is very appealing to the bubbly upbeat staff. “They love what they do,” Noushi comments, “because they make people feel good.”
Surprisingly there is very little targeted advertising, the business thrives on positive word of mouth and repeat business. And with the amount of people coming in and out its definitely a plan that is working. I had to ask if its hard to get an appointment? Noushi explains that Blo offers walk in appointments but more and more clients, or hair cadets as they are affectionately referred to, are encouraged to make firm appointments to ensure they will get the day and time they desire. There is a very convenient booking system online or simply calling the desired location to book your appointment is most welcome. It’s unique service and convenience undeniably adds to Blo’s prosperity.
Noushi attributes the success of ‘Blo’ to the strategic locations, expert staff and remaining very focused on their number one priority – styling hair. As such, Blo has managed to remain at the top of their game in Canada since the first location opened in 2007. No direct competitors exist in the market to date. It is remarkable that Blo has been able to corner the market for 7 years running.
Finally, Noushi mentioned that Gwyneth Paltrow recently bought into the company and is planning to visit various international locations, including Canada. A huge advantage of having Paltrow join the company is her celebrity status. Having her involved helps an already successful business become even more successful.
But perhaps the biggest secret to their success is the cost. Women can walk away with beautifully styled hair for $38 and men for $25. When you are in the mood to get your hair styled you MUST let the Blo’ers work their magic on your locks – after your 30 minutes of pampering you really will feel like a million bucks!