Newly-launched blowout bar Glam & Go offers an easy fix for gym-goers in New York City who want to break a sweat, and still have a good hair day.
The young company’s founder, Erika Wasser, says the idea came from a personal need – and frizzy hair.
“I found myself consistently having to make choices. I wanted to work out, I wanted to go to the gym, I was spending all this money in these gyms, not going, and I realized the reason was my hair,” says Wasser.
As of last year, approximately 58.5 million people are using fitness centers in the U.S., according the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association. Realizing she was not alone in trying to strike a balance between her well-being and professional responsibilities, Wasser saw a business opportunity. Using her background in TV hosting, she looked to recreate what she describes as the “green-room experience,” recalling often arriving with messy hair and being ready in 15 minutes to go on air.
“To us, it’s really the most efficient place to have a blow dry bar – it’s where women actually need it,” Wasser says. “Instead of having to leave the gym, get in a taxi, go to a salon, in the 15 minutes she’s spending in a cab, Glam & Go already has her hair done, and looking great!”
She recruited longtime friend and stylist Doug Di Canio, now creative director at Glam & Go, to help with the venture. They crafted a concept deck in the fall of 2013 and pitched the idea for a pilot program to Exhale, an upscale lifestyle spa and gym with 20 locations across the globe.
“Exhale was always the first place we wanted to open. We really appreciate what Exhale is about and we love the Exhale clientele, so for us this was where we wanted to be,” Wasser says.
Exhale President and CEO Annbeth Eschbach says the company’s goal is to provide guests with transformational fitness, yoga and spa therapies that can be integrated into everyday life – making Glam & Go a perfect fit.
“Exhale serves a guest that wants the best-quality classes, wants the best spa therapies, she’s very busy, she needs to fit it all in, but she wants everything to be the best,” Eschbach says.
Eschbach says Exhale frequently gets business pitches from entrepreneurs such as Wasser, but the bar is set very high. She says the key is to understand and align perfectly with Exhale’s vision before something is considered a good brand fit.
"When Erika, the founder of Glam & Go, approached us about incorporating quick, high-quality blowouts into our overall brand offering, we knew that that would allow our guests to do it all, so we thought it was a really great brand fit,” Eschbach says.
Upstart entrepreneurs who partner with established brands may have more flexibility and time to perfect their business models, as well as expand their customer base, according to Susan Schreter, entrepreneurship educator and author of Start On Purpose.
“It reduces risk to the founder and provides a more collaborative, social environment to startup,” Schreter says.
Glam & Go is self-funded and has outposts at Exhale’s two flagship locations in New York City and one in Sports Club of L.A. The young company plans to expand to 24 locations this year.
"We want to make sure that we're always reflecting Exhale in a good way,” Wasser says. “[And that] any gym we go into has good things to say about us and feels that we are adding a brand value.”
The express blowout company offers four blowout styles – Straight & Sleek, Hot Body, Beach Body and Serious Curves – at $20 for dry-styling and $40 for a full wet-to-dry blowout. Clients can also choose from several braided looks.
Wasser’s hope is that Glam & Go clients leave the chair ready to get to their day “just feeling that much better, a little more complete [and] a little more put together.”
Follow Natalia Angulo on Twitter @natisangulorico.