It was unruly.
Erika Wasser, founder and CEO of Glam+Go just couldn’t get her hair right.
Born from her hair trauma was one of North America’s fastest growing companies built on the simple premise that she was going to exercise and her hair wasn’t going to “have it.” Naturally (no pun intended), Grit Daily caught up with Wasser to talk purse friendly hair care and bringing back great hair days.
- Why did you first start your business?
To be perfectly honest with you, Glam+Go was born from a totally selfish need: I wanted a stylist available at my gym. On days I worked out, I would also need a blowout (I have very thick, unruly hair that cannot be air dried!). But, having spent time in green rooms where full blowouts happen in 30 minutes—I was an on air TV host for HGTV at the time—I was frustrated with the blow out model available on the market; a workout and a blowout could eat up 3+ hours of my day, which isn’t feasible for anyone! The quality and efficiency just wasn’t there. If you think about the woman who is getting regular blowouts, she’s working, she might have a family—no one can afford to waste time getting a sub par blowout.
So, I pitched the idea of a two chair blowout bar within an under-utilized area of my gym, which was exhale Spa at the time, and we opened 30 days later! It was an instant success: one of my first jobs as CEO was guarding the clipboard we used for people to reserve their blowout times (this was way before our app and online booking system!) – women were fighting and crossing each other’s’ names off the list. It was chaos.
- You have locations in NYC, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, DC. How do your customers’ tastes differ by location?
Women around the country have more in common for their beauty preferences than differences, actually! Whether I’m chatting with a Glam+Go member at our TriBeCa flagship or at our new location with Shore Club Miami, most women just want great looking hair—and they want it quickly! That being said, in 2018 we’ve started to diversify some of our service offerings at certain locations. For instance, Miami and Washington, DC are big bridal markets for us, so we offer bridal packages and even have makeup services.
For certain locations in NYC and LA, we offer men’s barbering services. Our philosophy is always to give women great hair where they need it – so if we’re seeing demand for a service and it makes sense for our business, we’re totally open to it.
- Glam+Go is known for not just their speedy blowouts, but also their membership model, which allows customers to come in for unlimited blowouts. How did you come up with this concept, and what is the impact on the overall business?
The question we ask ourselves most often with the business is “how can we make this easier for our customers?” – and that’s really what informed our initial membership model. If a woman is getting a blowout every few days, why not make it so simple that she just pays automatically once a month? We also have a membership model for the woman who only gets a blowout once a week. It also makes sense from a convenience standpoint: members can book at any location, so whether she’s uptown, downtown or across the country, we’re there for her. The membership platform has been very successful, members make up about 40% of our revenue.
- How do you choose your venue partners?
Our goal is to be co-located where women need them most, which is why we most often partner with hotels and fitness centers for most of our locations. From very early on in our business, our partners saw the high value that a Glam+Go location could bring to their property, so we were able to link up with very reputable partners, including Fairmont Hotels, Dream, Gansevoort, Equinox and more. Now the tables have turned and we’re often getting approached by companies interested in opening a Glam+Go on their property, which is a great position to be in.
- What’s next for Glam+Go in 2019?
After an incredible 2018 – particularly an incredible busy second half of 2018 in which we doubled in size to 15 locations – 2019 is looking big and bright for Glam+Go. We are on track to double in size again. We are developing a “purse-friendly” hair care product line (again, designed for the woman on the go!), which will be coming out next year. We’re also working on some really interesting partnerships for next year, including one with a wine brand which I can’t announce yet, but we’ll be doing things like tastings and speaker series featuring female entrepreneurs at our flagship. Mostly, I’m excited to continue to grow the Glam+Go brand and bring great hair days to as many people as possible in 2019.
Jordan French is the Executive Editor of Grit Daily. An award-winning journalist, he is on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com and a Fast 50 and Inc. 500-ranked entrepreneur.
He is the founder of Notability Partners and the co-founder of BNB Shield, Lisbon Hill Farms, Status Labs, BeeHex, BlockTelegraph, and Grit Daily. A biomedical engineer and intellectual-property attorney, French is the author of upcoming book, The Gritty Entrepreneur.