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Drybar Co-Founder Alli Webb On Pivoting To New Opportunities

Yitzi Weiner @ Authority Magazine
Authority Magazine
Uncertainty is just hard. And so many things are up in the air and uncertain for all of us right now. The best thing for me is to talk about what I am dealing with and map out several different scenarios, so I can stay on my toes rather than on my heals. Proactivity is really critical in this season of life.

The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alli Webb, New York Times bestselling author and co-founder of Drybar and Squeeze. She’s the founder and co-host of a new podcast called Raising the Bar–all the stuff you wished entrepreneurs really talked about. Joining forces with her executive coach (and boyfriend), Adrian Koehler, to pull back the curtain on the entrepreneurial life — the good, the bad, and the messy.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I’m a curly hair girl who grew up in the very humid state of Florida. Safe to say my obsession with hair started then. As a kid, I was always becoming intrigued with new things, like playing tennis–I legit wanted to be pro until I hit high school and discovered boys and a social life. I was a pretty happy, easy-go-lucky kiddo with very driven entrepreneurial parents who, from a very young age, embedded in my brother and me what it meant to work your ass off.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Honesty is the way to happiness and freedom. And by that I mean we really can’t be our best self without getting really honest about what we need and who we are–regardless of who we think we might let down or disappoint.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Well, there’s a long list of books I devoured after Cam (my ex-husband & business partner) split up. It was an incredibly painful and debilitating time for me. I had to reinvent myself, which was a slow process. The books that really resonated with me most were:

Broken Open — Elizabeth Lessor

The Untethered Soul — Michael A. Singer

You Are a Badass — Jen Sincero

Super Attractor — Gabrielle Bernstein

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the pandemic began?

Well, over the last 10 years, I, along w my stellar co-founders, started and grew Drybar to 150 locations, employing almost 4000 people. Over the course of the last five years, we have brought in a lot of really smart people to help us grow and scale, which was not an easy process for any founder. But with a lot of support and coaching from those I trust the most, I got through it.

Sadly, most Drybar shops are currently closed due to the pandemic, but we know once the clouds part, women will be very excited to get back to their weekly blowouts.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the pandemic?

We focused on helping women learn more about styling their own hair. I made tons of how-to videos to show women how to manage their locks at home.

Can you tell us about the specific “aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

A big one was relaunching Raising the Bar with my love in love, Adrian Koehler. We try to really get in there with our guests to explore the things people aren’t generally as comfortable discussing but we all feel and need to hear! It’s been so fun to interview folks like Gabby Bernstein, Mark Cuban, GT Dave–so many amazing founders, with beautiful and often heart-wrenching stories.

How are things going with this new initiative?

Great! We are having a blast together. We love the idea of intertwining our lives so RTB is an excellent way to do that!

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are several. First and foremost, my parents. They were innovative and brilliant! They really taught me how to treat people and how to translate that into over-the-top customer service!
Authority Magazine

Next, Michael Landau, my big bro, who has always been my biggest fan and supporter. From the time we were little kids, we have always been thick as thieves and have tremendous love and respect for each other.

Lastly, Adrian has really helped me navigate some new roads in my life: dealing with myself, my teenagers, my divorce. He’s so brilliant. I swear we (me and my boys!) learn something new from him every day!

What are 5 things you wish someone told you before you started leading your organization?

  1. It’s all gonna be ok.
  2. Worrying is a waste of time.
  3. Take care of your mental health and wellness from the jump.
  4. Be extremely open-minded.
  5. ENJOY it! It’s not a sprint; it’s a beautiful marathon.

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

I struggle with this too. Uncertainty is just hard. And so many things are up in the air and uncertain for all of us right now. The best thing for me is to talk about what I am dealing with and map out several different scenarios, so I can stay on my toes rather than on my heals. Proactivity is really critical in this season of life.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Oh, that’s easy–kindness. The world feels so cold and divided right now. I so sincerely wish that people would treat people better. Imagine the kind of world it would be if people could put aside their differences, their presidential choice, race, etc. and just be kind no matter what. That’s my wish anyway.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Oh, definitely Oprah! But doesn’t everyone say that? I just want to spend an afternoon talking to her. I grew up watching her literally every day after school, and I think I cried in every episode–happy or sad tears!

How can our readers follow you online?

The best way is via Instagram @alliwebb @raisingthebarpod!

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Yitzi Weiner is a journalist, author, and the founder Authority Magazine. He is also the CEO of Authority Magazine's Thought Leader Incubator, which guides leaders to become prolific content creators. Yitzi is also the author of five books. In 2017, he created the popular, “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” series that highlights the empowering lessons learned from the experiences of high-profile entrepreneurs and public figures. This series has inspired a mini-movement among writers, with scores of writers worldwide profiling inspiring people to share their positive, empowering, and actionable stories. A trained Rabbi, Yitzi is also a dynamic educator, teacher and orator. He currently lives in Maryland with his wife and children.

Baltimore, MD

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