Drybar Founder Alli Webb never expected her hairstyling business to turn into the multimillion-dollar empire it is today. Since opening her first store in February 2010, the chain has expanded to include almost 90 “blowout bars” in the U.S. and Canada. You could say she’s been blown away by her success.
In a leather jacket, leopard print boots and perfect blowout, the hair care mogul talks to Bumble Bizz, the latest professional networking vertical for Bumble, about the challenges she’s had to overcome in her career.
Perhaps best known for its dating platform and empowering women to make the first move, Bumble is extending its female-first philosophy into the working world with its new Bumble Bizz mode. Bumble Bizz’s “swiping to connect” model has a different endgame: making it easier for women like Webb to find the professional connections they need to succeed.
Located inside the Bumble app, users can switch to Bizz mode to seek out people near them who are looking to network, mentor and connect. Women are once again in charge; men can sign up, but can only interact with women who have reached out to them first.
In a world where women make up just 11% of investment partners in the venture capital world, women need more of these connections. Those who don’t already have an “in” to the industry can find it almost impossible to find the right business partners or financial supporters and female-focused businesses tend to suffer as a result. Beauty-focused businesses like Webb’s can be especially easy for male investors to dismiss.
Noting that she often found herself “talking to a room full of men in suits,” Webb admits her gender is often a factor in business interactions. She says that it took her some time to overcome stigmas and find her voice when pitching her company.
Webb cited Janet Gurwitch of Castanea Partners, who had experience in the retail and cosmetics industries. It was a perfect match. Gurwitch was able to introduce Webb to partners who helped her create an upscale line of hair care products for retail sale, greatly expanding Drybar’s reach and branding in the process.
Bumble Bizz aims to make those rare perfect matches easier to find. “What probably took me years to develop and cultivate in these relationships, you can do in days. Minutes!” Webb enthused.
“You spend the majority of your life at work. You want to be someplace that you love, doing something that you really love.”
For women who want to build their own empire but don’t know where to start, Bumble Bizz could be a powerful tool to help them make the “One Connection” they need to begin.
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