Marketplace: Blow-dry bar brings the heat to Redstone
October 7, 2016
By her own estimation, it's been a long time since Meredith Wright washed her own hair.
"Probably seven, almost eight years," she said.
It's not that Wright has spent nearly a decade shirking the responsibilities of basic personal hygiene. Rather, she said, she's a convert to an industry that has become widespread in major cities throughout America and now, thanks to her, has made its way to Park City: blow-dry bars.
For the uninitiated, the services blow-dry bars offer are simple: Essentially, they are hair salons that specialize in blow drying and styling instead of cutting hair. Wright and business partner Allison Varner recently opened their own blow-dry bar, h2blow in Redstone, following up on the success of their first location, in Salt Lake City.
Women, Wright said, are flocking to blow-dry bars because they can get professionally styled looks in about 45 minutes without the hassle of doing it themselves. She, for instance, became addicted while working in corporate marketing because it was an easy way to spruce up her look before big meetings or while away on business trips.
"It's kind of like an affordable luxury," she said, adding that h2blow also does makeup for clients. "The one thing women really get from it is confidence. It makes you feel great. It can turn your day around. That's kind of the intangible."
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Like Wright, many women begin going to blow-dry bars to look their best for important events. H2blow often sees clients before weddings, family pictures and proms. But there are also women who view weekly trips to the blow-dry bar as an indulgence similar to visiting a spa for a facial or massage.
But there is one major difference between blow-dry bars and spas, she said. At blow-dry bars, clients can remain productive while getting their hair done, firing off work emails on their cell phones or reading magazines to stay on top of current events. That distinction is crucial in today's hectic world, she said.
"Going into a spa and putting on a robe and sitting there, people don't have time for that anymore," she said. "The world moves too fast, and there's just too much going on. People want something they can get in, get out and be productive while they're there."
According to h2blow's website, the basic blowout — a wash, dry and style — costs $40. But clients can also choose add-ons, such as protein and deep conditioning treatments. Those who intend to visit frequently can purchase packages good for either six or 12 blowouts at a reduced average price or monthly memberships.
Wright and Varner said Parkites are embracing the amenities they offer. They had their sights set on expanding when they opened the Salt Lake location, and it soon became apparent Park City, with its laid-back atmosphere and large population of transplants, seemed like the right place. About one month after opening, they said they have been proven right.
"There are so many tourists here, and a lot of the people who live here come from major cities, and they're used to blow-dry bars and know what they are," Varner said. "We haven't had to explain ourselves up here as much as we did when we first opened in Salt Lake."
Wright and Varner founded the company with little professional experience in the industry. They both had a passion for cosmetology and hair styling, but it's taken an exhausting amount of work, and a desire to immerse themselves in the field, to get h2blow off the ground.
Building the company that way has been rewarding, they said. They hope Parkites will appreciate the attention to detail that resulted from that approach, manifesting itself in everything from the products they use to the lighting that illuminates the blow dry bar.
"(The salon) is all we think about," Wright said. "It runs our lives."
They don't anticipate easing up any time soon. If the Park City location proves successful, they plan to continue expanding, possibly soon. Their vision, they said, is to make h2blow an essential part of the lives of women throughout Utah and beyond. And Park City could play a critical role in helping them get there.
"The first (location) was kind of for learning the industry," Wright said. "And even now, we've thought of things we'd change for the next one. It's a process of always refining, and we never want to be happy where we are."
1678 W. Redstone Center Drive