Case Study Trailer

Drybar: No Cuts. No Color. Just Blowouts!

Author(s): KIM, W. Chan, MAUBORGNE, Renée, KOO, Oh Young


Drybar was launched in 2010 with the tagline of “No cuts. No color. Just Blowout!” by a hair stylist Alli Webb and her brother, Michael Landau. Blowout service had long been provided in most hair salons, but it was considered an add-on service or an infrequent stand-alone service request that did not incur a significant and consistent revenue stream. Yet Alli recognized an untapped business opportunity in blowout services and she turned this opportunity into a $ 70 million business with 55 locations across the United States in just five years. The case will look into how Drybar changed the concept of professional blow-drying service and made it so compelling to all women regardless of their age or job.

The case is composed of a two part series. Part A describes the industry landscape of the American beauty salon industry in 2008, before Drybar entered the scene. Part B illustrates how Drybar was conceived with a different strategic approach and what made Drybar stand out from conventional hair salons while achieving lower costs. Part B is written as a cartoon storybook, which makes it both informative and emotionally engaging.

Pedagogical objectives:

  • To demonstrate how Drybar reconstructed hair salon industry by looking across alternative industries and created new demand.
  • To review major BOS tools including Strategy Canvas, ERRC Grid, and Noncustomer Analysis in the course of analyzing the Drybar’s strategic move.
  • To highlight the importance of building barriers to imitation in order to prolong the blue ocean.
Case Study: A
Case Study: B
Teaching Note
Lecture Slides

Teaching Materials

Blue ocean pedagogical materials, used in over 2,800 universities and in almost every country in the world, go beyond the standard case-based method. Our multimedia cases and interactive exercises are designed to help you build a deeper​ understanding of key blue ocean strategy concepts, developed by world-renowned professors Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.
Materials available from Harvard Business Publishing
Blue Ocean Shift | Strategy materials available from The Case Centre
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