Hot Air in a Cold Market; Does The Brand Make The Cut?

By: Stephanie Bossung

Look at this picture.  Do you know what type of business this is?


A friend sent me this picture from New York and wanted me to guess what Drybar offers its customers.

Drybar.  Hmmm?

My first thought? Who would go to a bar that doesn’t serve alcohol?  But then I discovered what it was and I still scratched my head.

It’s not a bar, it’s a new trend in hair salons across the country.

Drybar’s motto is simple:  No cuts. No color. Just blowouts.  That’s right, for $40 all you get is a shampoo and style.  Salons such as Drybar, offering just that, blow-drying services, are popping up in Metropolitan US cities such as New York & L.A.

Consider this scenario.

You’re a 30 year-old single female New Yorker.  Your daily commute to work in the city takes an hour and a half.  Your typical workday is over at 6:00pm.  Of course, your personal life mimics the lifestyles of the Sex in The City ladies, with late night dinners and cocktails.

After a day of busy meetings and deadlines, your hair looks like you’ve been struck by lightning.  But you don’t have time to run home to fix your hair for a night on the town.  Enter the Drybar.  Forty bucks later, you look fabulous!  Completely practical for the city-dwelling socialite.

So why can’t we have something like this in Lafayette?  What if you opened a new Drybar location in Indiana, with the same marketing dollars and brand messaging?  Would the business be a success?

You could spend thousands of dollars on marketing and have a strong brand message, but if there is not a need for your product or service it will not matter.

Let’s take a closer look.  What does New York have that we don’t have?

Let’s see:

  •  They have an extremely large metropolitan area, which means they have a larger consumer base to draw from.  There are thousands of young and hip New Yorkers who have long commutes to the city.
  • Disposable incomes.  These New York gals are used to paying an average of $300 for a new hairdo at a top salon.  So $40 for a blowout is like me spending $10 at the local Village Pantry.
  • Nightlife.  Hello…It’s the city that doesn’t sleep.  With a vibrant nightlife open around the clock, these ladies have somewhere to go to show off their blowout styles.

So I thought about it for a while.  If Lafayette had a blowout salon, would I go?  While $40 seems a little pricey for just a shampoo and style, I probably would try it out once. But where would I go to show off my lovely locks?

The Checkerboard?  Aces Pub?  All fine establishments, but it’s not like sippin’ cosmo’s on 5th Avenue.

See, just doesn't look right!

See, just doesn’t look right!

So back to my question.  If you opened a new Drybar location in Indiana, with the same marketing dollars and brand messaging, would the business be a success?

I’d be surprised if it did.  New York and Lafayette are completely different markets.

Sure we have women in Lafayette who care about their appearance just as women do in New York. But the amount of available consumers to patron such a place is much smaller, and most women I know have a 10-minute commute home.  Most of us don’t live glamorous lifestyles, or have disposable income to spend $40 on our hair just for a night on the town.

My guess is that Drybar knows its market, and won’t be adding Lafayette, IN to their growing list of locations any time soon.

That’s okay.  New York can keep their Drybar. Besides, Indiana has things that wouldn’t fly in Manhattan. Right?

John Deere in Times Square?

Sure, she thinks your tractor’s sexy, but in Times Square?


About the Author: Stephanie Bossung is an Account Executive at Indiana Design Consortium.  Her hairdresser, Jessica, can give you all the juicy details about Stephanie’s personal life, but you know what they say, “what happens in the salon, stays in the salon.” Jess can also tell you it’s been months since Stephanie’s stepped foot in the salon, she’s been busy helping her clients grow their business. Get connected with Stephanie at LinkedIn or email her at

This entry was published on February 26, 2013 at 9:17 am. It’s filed under advertising, audience, blog, brand, brand affinity, brand positioning, Demographic, integrated marketing, marketing, positioning, Stephanie Bossung and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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