Beyond Blowouts: Alli Webb's Journey from Hairstylist to Entrepreneur

Audio Description

In 2010, she disrupted the beauty industry with the launch of Drybar, but that was just the beginning. Drybar is now a haircare empire, and Alli has co-founded two new ventures–Squeeze and Becket+Quill. What has she learned along the way? Alli shares her experience, advice, and a glimpse into what's next. 

Transcript

00:00 - 00:33

People love it and people are lining up, and it was just like, I mean, it is like the most surreal feeling, you know, when you think about all the businesses out there and all the things, it's just like the fact that, like, this resonated with women and it worked and people were loving it. It was just the craziest feeling. I cannot believe it was 10 years ago. Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Inflection Point where we talk to entrepreneurs, business leaders, and innovators about their journey and the make or break moments of their career. I'm your host, Stu Katz, managing director at Bernstein. And today we're on with Ali Webb, co-founder of Drybar, Squeeze, and her new venture, Beckett + Quill.

00:38 - 01:05

Ali, welcome to the show. Great to have you. How are you doing? I am good. I'm very excited. As you know, I launched a brand new business today, this morning, hours ago. So I'm like I have that new business, like excitement, butterflies, watching the sales come in. And it's really exciting. So I am having a good day. So this is perfect timing because I definitely want to get into the new business.

01:05 - 01:36

It's part of your whole story. Maybe a good place to start is at the beginning and by beginning I don't mean at birth. I promise I'll fast forward a little bit. Yeah. You know, it's interesting. We work with a ton of entrepreneurs and I get asked all the time, what is it that your clients have in common? You know, what is it that enabled them to be successful? I think the rote answer that they expect is, oh, they went to Harvard, or they went to Stanford, or they did this, because there's this narrative that you're supposed to work as hard as you can in high school to get to the best college to do this, to do that. And it's interesting, right?

01:36 - 02:02

You spent a year at Florida State and said, not for me. And let's start there. What was behind that decision and what led you to that? Well, it wasn't even a year, really. And I mean, it was just I was lost after high school, and I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life, and my parents.... My parents are entrepreneurs. So that was definitely in my DNA. And it was more like older lady clothing stores. So kind of in the fashion space.

02:02 - 02:28

But I, you know, I thought that's kind of what I would do, something more in fashion, but just completely like kind of dumbfounded after high school of what to do next. And kind of was just following the path everybody else is following because I didn't know what else to do. And then that didn't work out. So then I moved to New York City when I was 18, 19 with aspirations of doing something in the fashion world. Long story short, I ended up working for Nicole Miller and Cynthia Rowley, who were kind of like the big deals at that time.

02:28 - 02:46

And this is 30 years ago now. Twenty-five years ago, something like that. And, you know, and that was like fun, but it didn't completely satisfy what I was looking for. And so, you know, I would spend the next couple of years bouncing around and, you know, just feeling like I didn't know what I wanted to do.

02:46 - 03:11

My brother, Michael Landow, who's also my business partner in Drybar and Squeeze and all our endeavors, he was working for Nicole Miller in New York and I was working for Nicole Miller. So we moved back to South Florida where we were raised and opened a couple Nicole Miller boutiques, and we had one in Miami and one in Boca Raton. And at the ripe old age of twenty something, I found myself managing two retail boutiques between Miami and Boca. And Michael and I were fighting a lot.

03:11 - 03:34

And I was like, this is not, this cannot be it. All of a sudden, I was like kind of hunkered down in a career. And I was so young and I didn't, I didn't love it. And I was like, oh, man, how what? And the thread and the common kind of thing that kept coming back up for me as a kid was the fact that I really loved hair and I really wanted to go to beauty school. And my parents were never really super excited about that decision.

03:34 - 03:59

And, you know, but it just is, like one of those first and early, like decisive moments of my life where I was like, I just got to do what I want to do. And because obviously none of this other stuff is going the way I wanted to go, I'm not happy. And I think from a very early age, I was always pretty good about listening to my own intuition of like, if it doesn't make me happy, I'm not going to do it. Like, I just am not. And I don't think I thought a lot about it at the time.

03:59 - 04:27

But in retrospect, I realized that I moved around a lot trying to find happiness, find contentment. And so I decided to go to beauty school, completely fell in love with it and was like, this is completely where I was meant to be. And, you know, and so began my career in hair. And I ended up moving back to New York City again, working for one of the biggest hairstylists in New York and was off doing this until I changed careers again. And then I got into PR for a while.

04:27 - 04:59

And then I met my now ex-husband when I lived in New York. We moved to L.A. He's an advertising creative, brilliant genius, branding guy, and had two kids. And I became a stay at home mom. And that was also like a big dream of mine. I wanted kids so badly, I wanted babies. The distinction is important. Yeah. Yeah. And so we had two kids and I was a stay at home mom and thought I like hit the jackpot because I loved staying home with my kids -- until I didn't. And it was about I would say,

04:59 - 05:31

four-ish years in, where I was like two kids going in two different directions, and I was like, I feel like I'm kind of losing my mind and I'm not using my brain. And I wanted to do something for myself again, which is when I had the idea to start a mobile blowout business, which was really just a way for me to get out of the house for a couple of hours, do something for myself, earn a little extra cash, although I'm sure I didn't actually make any money in that phase. I was only charging forty dollars to go to women's homes to do at home blowouts. And my whole premise was that I'll come to your house when your baby's sleeping and give you a blowout.

05:31 - 05:52

It will be two 20s, super easy. And that business took off, which really is ultimately what led to the birth of Drybar. Yeah, there's so much in there that's interesting. And I definitely want to get into the Drybar story. You know, you leave college, you head to New York, come back to Florida, you're running stores at a very young age, decide that you're not happy, decide you really want to do hair.

05:52 - 06:20

And that's something that you think you're passionate about. You get into that, you're really enjoying that. When you're making those decisions, you come from a background, you said two parents who are entrepreneurs, obviously a brother who has an entrepreneurial stripe as well. Are you thinking to yourself like, this is all groundwork for something to come or is it not that there wasn't that much forethought in it? No, not at all. I don't think I've ever thought too far ahead on anything. Even all the success of Drybar was not premeditated.

06:20 - 06:48

There was no like, oh, we're going to take over the world in blowouts and open a bunch of stores and a product line. But no, nothing was like that. I'm a very like fly by the seat of my pants type of girl, and I would love to say that I was a little more strategic. I mean, I think when we first started Drybar, even before we opened, there was like that like tingle of like this could really be amazing and big, but it just felt so like out there and like abstract.

06:48 - 06:58

I think it was A, gonna even work and B, going to do well. So no, I don't think there was ever a lot of like forethought of things to come, it was more just hope for the best.

06:58 - 07:27

And it's always been like a joke in my family, like my, even my extended family, like they would always say things to me, like everything always works out for Ali, which is ironic because I grew up as really the underachiever, the late bloomer, as I was often called by my parents, because my brother is the quintessential overachiever. He's just naturally smart and business savvy and he's just that kind of guy. And I was always like, head in the clouds creative and like, yeah, it'll work out.

07:27 - 07:33

And I've always like, that's always really been my mentality. But I think it's kind of like ignorance is bliss, a little bit.

07:33 - 08:06

I mean, even when we were opening Drybar in 2010, it was in the middle of a recession, which like I don't even think was on my radar. I prefer to actually not, like, keep up too much with what's going on in the world because it can be so depressing. I mean, obviously I do, but I just try to stay focused and positive and it's really easy to get bogged down in the other stuff. And when we open Drybar in 2010 and people were like, oh, you're crazy. And I remember someone telling me, like, every business that's been in this location has failed. Someone said to me once and I was like, OK, I mean, it just, you know, I didn't let any of that stuff, like, rattle me.

08:06 - 08:23

And I think that that has served me really well. It certainly has. It's interesting that somebody will look at you and say, oh, it all works out for Ali. Obviously, we're here because you've had a successful career as an entrepreneur. And you can look back now and say, OK, here's why it worked out. Well, when you're going through it, it's not that obvious.

08:23 - 08:50

I think it was like not obvious at all. I mean, I don't I think every now and again I hear from, like, an old high school friend or somebody I knew growing up. And even my parents, my mom passed away a couple of years ago. But even my dad is like, who would have thought? I mean, I don't really get those messages from him anymore, but there was a lot of that. And in the early days of the success of Drybar, like who would have thought, Ali? Like, it was like little Ali would have, whatever would come up with this.

08:50 - 09:08

And frankly, I didn't know it was in me either. I don't consider myself first and foremost like a business woman, although I am. I'm just kind of who I am. And it's just funny to think back on how I was just not what I think. I just surprised a lot of people in my life. Well, look, what you accomplished, certainly in retrospect, is extraordinary.

09:08 - 09:24

Right? And there's almost this myth around entrepreneurs that what they do is sort of otherworldly. But at the end of the day, it's real people figuring out how to make things work. Right. And that's part of what's so interesting about this. And my opportunity to get to talk to folks like you is sort of figuring out how it actually did work for you.

09:24 - 09:59

Were there lessons in that? That's why we're doing this. You brought up starting Drybar in 2010, right. To your point, come out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression when you're starting your business. And then you started with family members, you started with your brother, you started with your ex-husband, and you talked a little bit about the experience with your brother and the Nicole Miller days. You guys going at it a little bit and obviously you're close. Yes. Did you spend a lot of time thinking about, do I want to do this with family or how do I do this with family? What was I like? It was an interesting process and it was a lot of us having a lot of kind of heart to hearts in those

09:59 - 10:28

Early days, because I kind of glossed over it, but when Michael and I were we're working together, Nicole Miller, I mean, it really got very bad and we were like literally having screaming fights in the back room. And it was like so juvenile and ridiculous. But, you know, it turned out like anything else to be like a blessing in disguise and something that was great that happened to us because it's so much informed. What would become our new relationship; in those early days of heart to hearts with Michael were very much like, hey, like it can't be the way it was.

10:28 - 11:00

This isn't going to work. And that time in our lives really almost destroyed our relationship. And I remember my parents being like, what are you guys doing? Why are you guys going back into business together again? This is crazy. But we had a lot of level setting. It's like, well, we can't do this, we can't do that. But I'll tell you, I think that the biggest reason it worked was because we've grown and matured for sure, that first and foremost. But I knew the hair industry really well and I knew hair really well. And I'd worked in a salon for years and I had that. Michael didn't know anything about hair. He's a bald guy and was like completely out of his element.

11:01 - 11:10

But he knew a lot about business and about like leases and stuff like I knew nothing about, you know, except not only did I not know about, I wasn't interested and didn't want to care about.

11:11 - 11:40

So the coming together of us was so beautiful because there was so much respect on either side. Like he because like I mentioned, he'd always been like the overachiever and kind of smarter one, is like, oh, here's this business that is like my brainchild, or my idea and my thing. And so the level of respect became very balanced and even and that is why the partnership ultimately worked. And I can tell you in 10 years, I can probably remember like maybe two or three fights and they were doozies.

11:41 - 12:11

But over that span of time, we just almost never fought. Well, that evolution is really interesting. And I want to talk about that. Right. How you went from starting Drybar in 2010, the role you had relative to your brother and sort of what you relied on him for, what he relied on you for. Now, you're in a different role with this new business. So if you go back to 2010, you've got the first location. You know, I've read stories obviously about the dryer cords not being long enough and other things like that. Talk a little bit about, just if you can think back to that experience. You got it... You're getting it off the ground.

12:11 - 12:31

Like what? What do you recall that feeling like? It was so, like, intoxicating. And I remember like it could have been yesterday, there were early indications that this was going to work because like Daily Candy, which was really big back then, had run a piece on us. And that was like, if you've gotten to Daily Candy ten years ago, you were like, you were the sh**. And they had run a piece.

12:31 - 13:01

And so people started booking appointments before we even opened the shop, we were like, oh, my God, what's going on? And so we knew that, like, there was a lot of momentum and excitement building. But, you know, I'll never forget that first day. It truly like it was yesterday where the shop was so busy, we were completely understaffed. I didn't hire enough stylists. I didn't have enough stylists on at the time. I was doing blowouts from the first chair while trying... I didn't hire a manager because I thought I could do it. So I was like in the first chair doing blowouts like strategically in the first year, so I could watch the cash register.

13:01 - 13:16

I could see people coming in and out, I was making sure the blowouts were good, I was making sure that people were being greeted. I mean, it was just like feeling like my head was going to explode, but in, like, the best possible way. And at the time, Michael was still operating at a real estate marketing company. Cam, my ex-husband was still working at his advertising agency.

13:16 - 13:39

So it was really just me. And I remember calling them and we were all like crying on the phone like, oh, my God, you guys, this worked and people love it and people are lining up. And it was just like, I mean, it is like the most surreal feeling when you think about all the businesses out there and all the things. It's just like the fact that, like, this resonated with women and it worked and people were loving it.

13:39 - 14:00

It was just the craziest feeling. I cannot believe it was ten years ago, eleven years ago. And, you know, and now I'm getting that same kind of familiar feeling of launching a business day and watching sales come in and the numbers grow and like, oh, my God, people like it. And I think that's like an entrepreneur is high. I think the thing about being an entrepreneur or a successful entrepreneur is being, like, not afraid of risk.

14:00 - 14:30

It's like I have put a lot of money into this business and Michael put a lot of money into Drybar and I just put a lot of money into Beckett + Quill and to the point where I'm like, last minute things come up and you're like, oh my God, we have to spend more money. And it's like, you know, and it hurts like when you're doing it because you're scared that money conceivably could be gone forever. And that's hard to part with that kind of money. But you have to have a certain risk tolerance to be like, yeah, but I really believe in this and I think it's going to work.

14:30 - 14:54

And you take that leap of faith. And that in and of itself, I think, is what makes like entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs. And if you don't have that, it's pretty hard to survive the entrepreneur journey, I guess. Yeah, I know in my experience, I think what you just described is exactly right. I mean, that's what you find that's consistent among successful entrepreneurs, which sort of leads to the next question, which is you open it with that kind of enthusiasm.

14:54 - 15:10

You're having the success that you're having. You're having a tremendous impact day to day on the business, how it looks, how it's run, how it's perceived by others, so you go from one store over a period of years to over one hundred locations, right. How do you as an entrepreneur make that adjustment?

15:10 - 15:43

Because naturally, you have to give up some control, right? You have to loosen the grip a little bit to grow like that. Maybe talk a little bit about what that experience is like. That wasn't one I saw coming. When we opened the first store, and the first 11 stores, I would say I had a lot of control. And, you know, I remember like when we had, first we had Brentwood and then we opened West Hollywood and Fashion Island in Newport Beach in Palisades. And then we, Michael really wanted us to franchise. So we had opened a couple in Dallas with our very good friends and lawyer who were amazing. And it just kept growing and growing.

15:43 - 16:05

And, you know, and it became very apparent like there were things that I wasn't good at, like payroll. I mean, I remember being like, oh, man, this is not, I'm not good at this and I don't want to screw this up. This is like really important for people to get paid and get paid right. But there I was doing it. And I think that's just like one early example of like, you know, focus on the things that you're good at.

16:05 - 16:23

And in the beginning, in the early startup days, like you don't have that luxury, all hands on deck, everybody does everything. And that's just the way it is. But as you grow, you start to bring in people who are smarter than you at lots of things. And that's really like what we started to do. But that process in itself was was very, very daunting for me.

16:23 - 16:48

And going from making every single decision to now making not every single decision and not being consulted about everything that was happening and having to trust and try to not micromanage everybody and let people do their jobs. I mean, that was not my favorite part, you know, trying to find the sweet spot between, like, OK, I'm just going to give up control of everything to, like, trying to find my place in the business.

16:48 - 17:10

It kind of was like a little bit of like constantly shifting for me of like, what I was, what I was involved in, what I wasn't involved in. And frankly, what I wanted to be involved with and what I didn't. And that whole process, I mean, I haven't really thought about that in years, but that whole process is really, really a struggle for me. It wasn't until more recently, in the last couple of years where I was like, OK, like, I don't need to be involved in every single thing.

17:10 - 17:20

And I've kind of made my mark here and I've set my vision and I'm now kind of letting other people take the reins. But that was quite a process. I could imagine. Let's talk about how things have changed a bit. Right.

17:20 - 17:42

So you obviously have the tremendous success with Drybar and the product line you want, Squeeze. And now you have this new business, which I'd love for you to talk a little bit about in some more depth. But you're clearly a different person than you were when you started Drybar. It would be impossible for you not to be. Where do you see that coming up in the most important ways, particularly as you're, as you're growing this brand new business.

17:43 - 18:13

Well, I mean, it's interesting going from Drybar to Squeeze, which, Squeeze is our new massage concept, which is very much kind of the brainchild of my brother. And then we brought Britney who used to run marketing at Drybar and to run Squeeze. And she's our co-founder and CEO and she's just brilliant and amazing. But that was even a different, I came into, I remember when Michael started talking to me about Squeeze, and I was like, I don't think I have it in me to start a concept like this from scratch again.

18:14 - 18:33

And he was like, no. And really at the time, we didn't have the bandwidth to do it either, because of Drybar. And then that's why we ultimately brought Britney in. And so it was a very different kind of role and also wasn't like, Squeeze wasn't like my... I'm not a massage therapist, wasn't like my passion the way hair was. So my role was very different and is very different.

18:33 - 19:06

I'm an advisor and investor and I really care about the in-store experience, and experience is kind of I think what probably is like one of my forte in business, but it's a very different role and it's much more peripheral than I had been with Drybar, especially in the early days, you know, and now that Squeeze is off and doing really great. And now I'm in a very kind of a different mode with Beckett + Quill, because it's really small and it's direct to consumer, which is really nice just due to where we are in the world today.

19:06 - 19:21

So you just, so much tremendous growth from learning what I did with Drybar and having a little bit more of a like, an elevated view and role in Squeeze. And now I'm a little more in the trenches with Beckett + Quill. But Meredith, my business partner, she's the designer.

19:22 - 19:57

We collaborate on things all the time. But just like I was the hair stylist and Michael and I collaborated, she's kind of leading the charge when it comes to jewelry and I'm kind of navigating the business. I understand marketing really well. And so I'm able to like really pull all that expertise that I learned from the Drybar days and apply it here. You know what's fun about Beckett + Quill is like, and I, and it's so reminiscent to Drybar in so many ways that I'm not, I'm not like, it's not about the money, although I hope the business is really successful and makes money and all of that. But it's just more about like a passion. I really love jewelry. I really love this brand.

19:57 - 20:25

I really believed in what Meredith was doing. And really felt like I could come in and help elevate it to a whole another level, which as an entrepreneur, is like what we do and it's really exciting. And so my role is like somewhere in between what it was at Drybar, what it is at Squeeze. It's a lot of fun. And it's, you know, we're a tiny, tiny operation. It's like me, Meredith, and I brought in another girl that I've known for years to help kind of organize us, which is another, you know, such an important key thing.

20:25 - 20:37

So you started Drybar right after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. And Beckett + Quill right now, we're still in the middle of a global pandemic. You're a glutton for punishment.

20:37 - 20:57

But, you know, the argument is that, you know, when things are difficult like that, that's oftentimes a great time to launch a business. We're dealing with entrepreneurs that are getting PPP loans to try to keep their businesses afloat and then take care of employees, et cetera. How are you thinking differently about launching a business, given the world that we're in right now?

20:57 - 21:30

We started talking about this idea pre-pandemic, and I did kind of go back and forth on whether I wanted to do it and how much money I wanted to put into it, which came down considerably from what I originally thought I would do, because I got nervous, but I figured out I could do it for less. But I think the driving force of this was like similar to like, you know, how blowouts give women this confidence and massages make people feel really good from the, you know, from the inside out and jewelry is from the outside in mentality. You know, getting an affordable, really cute piece of jewelry is a pick me up to women.

21:30 - 22:00

And even if we're on Zoom calls, you get, you can like, you know, it's just something that makes you feel better, which is, I think largely what I've kind of like, If I had to put myself in the category of the kind of entrepreneur I am, it's kind of like in the feel-good space and affordable luxury. And I've always had this deep love of jewelry, but didn't like, I don't like spending so much on jewelry because I lose it, I break, it breaks, like things just happen because I'm pretty hard on jewelry. I don't ever take my jewelry off.

22:00 - 22:29

And the idea of like being able to deliver like a really great experience, a really great product at an affordable price, it just happened to happen in the middle of the pandemic. And not to mention in our little teeny tiny way, boost the economy. I mean, I feel good to be part of that. Like, let's get things back, like let's start get the economy going again. And I think it all is like part of everybody, like feeling better and being excited about something.

22:30 - 22:31

No question. So it's interesting, right?

22:31 - 23:05

You've got this business. You talk about, obviously you as a female founder, female partners on this business. How have you seen the environment evolve for women entrepreneurs? Right. I mean, there are VC funds out there that are focused exclusively on women-owned businesses. There's a recognition in industries sort of across the spectrum, like, for example, financial services, like we've done a terrible job as an industry, understanding how to interact with women, by the way, many of whom control most of the wealth in this country now. Right. So how have you seen that from your perspective, change from somebody who was starting something in 2010 to where we are now in 2021?

23:06 - 23:06

Yeah.

23:06 - 23:23

I mean, it's thrilling really to see how many women are founding companies. I guess partially it's because of like the circles that I run in and what I've been up to for the last ten years, that I feel like the majority, if not all of my girlfriends have their own business. That's who I gravitate towards.

23:23 - 23:45

But yeah, I remember when we were starting Drybar and I remember I used to in early interviews, I used to get asked a lot like what female entrepreneurs inspire me and, you know, and the list was smaller then and it certainly as a kid growing up, it's like the landscape of like companies, corporate companies has changed so much. I mean, a lot of that is, I think, due to social media where you can actually interact with a founder of a company.

23:45 - 23:59

And I think that it felt to me like there are a few women leading companies at that time, or at least I wasn't aware of it as much. And I feel really honored that I was kind of one of those early women to start a company.

23:59 - 24:23

And there's women like Candace Nelson who started Sprinkles or Rebecca Minkoff, Whitney Wolfe. Like all these women that I've come to know in the last ten years who are starting their own businesses, it's like I think there's this kind of snowball effect where women are looking at each other and they're taking a leap of faith and they're inspired by all of these other businesses that have popped up.

24:23 - 24:55

Like one of my very good girlfriends. Her name is Sarah Gibson Tuttle. She started a nail concept called All of June. She was like in the financial world, living in New York, came to L.A. and wanted to open like the Drybar of nails. And she didn't... We became very close friends and she's one of my best friends today. You know, she's such a great example of like, she was totally doing something else, making a lot of money in the other industry but wasn't happy and wanted, had this, like, vision and dream of what the nail industry could be. And she's since, like, killing it. She's in Target with her nail polish.

24:55 - 25:13

She's doing so well. And it's just, you know, there's so many of those stories of these women starting businesses in the things that they love, I mean, my podcast raising the bar, we talk to lots of these women like Ariel Kaye who started Parachute. I mean, I could just rattle off so many names, like one of my best friends, Sarah Harper, at Livescribe.

25:13 - 25:31

Like we're, women, I think, feel so empowered right now because so many other women are paving the way. And it's just like, just feels really to me more like the norm now that women are running and starting so many more companies and they're not feeling as inferior to men as maybe used to be.

25:31 - 25:50

And and yeah. And I think everyone is kind of lifting their heads and taking notice. And, yeah, it's a really beautiful time for women. It's massively important for people to be able to look, to your point, if you were looking at who your role models were, the list wasn't that long. Right. And now that's meaningfully different.

25:50 - 26:12

So you have girls and women coming up, young girls all the way to women, high school, college, etc., saying like this is an option. This is something that I can do. And I think that's good for everybody. I can't tell you how many e-mails and requests and interview requests I've gotten over the years from high school girls and college girls who are in entrepreneurship programs or just decide are not.

26:12 - 26:33

And they just decide to do a paper on you, Drybar. And it's like they asked me if I will do an interview. And I always say, always say yes. And I always talk to those girls because I want to help inspire the next generation. You know, to your point, you weren't there when I was growing up and now letting them know that that is, of course, a possibility. So we could talk all day.

26:33 - 26:48

I know you have other things to do besides having a conversation with me. But one of the things that I wanted to cover before we let you go, you hit on it, which is that the impetus for a lot of the decisions that you've made personally and in business has been what you're passionate about.

26:48 - 27:13

Right. You hope those things would be successful and make money, et cetera. But it wasn't as if money was the primary factor. So you've had the success that you've had. And whether it's an entrepreneur has one liquidity event or series of liquidity events, it's different, right? It's one thing when you're building a business, you're generating revenue and finding ways to live off of that. Then all of a sudden the paradigm of your life shifts. Right. And it's demonstrated itself in the way that you're funding and getting involved in businesses going forward.

27:13 - 27:31

This might be a completely unfair question, but, you know, you're young, and the story is still, there's plenty left to right. How do you see things unfolding for yourself over the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years? Gosh, yeah. I don't know if it's an unfair question or just a question that I

27:31 - 27:33

I don't know. I mean, yeah.

27:33 - 28:08

I mean, it's been a really interesting kind of inflection point for me over the last couple of years. You know, obviously this year has just been the most surreal and bizarre, sad year, but even pre-pandemic, when two years ago I went through a divorce and my ex-husband did all the creative for Drybar, and he was my business partner as well as my brother. And so I found myself in this very interesting spot where we were, we had shared the creative office and I no longer really could go to the office because of our situation.

28:08 - 28:42

And I was like, man, you know? And I realized that, like, you know, my day to day in Drybar is not what it was. And like, yikes, now what? And that grew and grew because my role became less and less. And now I'm still on the board and advisory and all of that. But I'm not in the day to day operations. That was like a weird point of like, now what am I going to do and what's going to happen? So, and for me, like the idea of thinking of ten years ahead is like I can barely think of like next week. So I have no idea. It's more of like one day at a time doing what I love.

28:43 - 29:12

And, you know, it's, it'll be interesting to see what happens with Squeeze. I think that's a business that we're all really bullish and excited about. You know, early indicators of that is that it's going to be really successful once it gets back up on its feet. But I figured out in this time of like inflection and time of like not knowing what I was going to do was like I needed to find something that I was excited about again. And I have looked at lots of different things. And I, as you can imagine, I get hit up to do lots of different things. And this jewelry idea really resonated with me.

29:12 - 29:22

So it was like the thing I want to continue doing. So, you know, there's like the entrepreneurial side of me that I think will probably continue to always have passion projects like this.

29:22 - 29:53

I think, you know, and then there's like the fun side of like I don't know if we talked about this when we spoke last, but I am working on, about to start pitching a television show where I'm basically going into other businesses and kind of helping them, like kind of see what they're not seeing and help them get their business to the next level, which is something I think that I'm good at, with having Britney, who is our CEO of Squeeze and Adrian, my boyfriend, kind of help and advise me because I'm such a like, I cannot do all this by myself.

29:53 - 30:13

I never do it by myself. I always have really good people around me. But so that's a fun project that I'm pursuing. We'll see what happens, I'm in the process of writing my own book, my memoir, which is like a very cathartic and not super comfortable thing to write. It's like rehashing your life. So, you know, there, I have cast a pretty wide net right now.

30:13 - 30:44

And it'll be interesting to see what, you know, what comes back, what sticks, what I'm the most excited about. But I think to answer it in one sentence is like, I'm excited about all the possibilities that the future holds. And I know that's probably not, you know, I know how lucky I am to be in that position because it's not something that everybody is feeling right now due to what's going on in the world. But I still think that, like, there will be a lot of opportunity that comes out of this time and hopefully we'll all be better at some point because of it.

30:44 - 31:04

And we'll figure out how to maneuver through this rough time and rebuild and restart. And I'm excited for the future. Well, you use the phrase inflection point, and I promise we didn't make you use that for people who are listening. I know. I thought it was like, that's the... I love it and I love it. I love it. Yeah. Without even being coached.

31:04 - 31:33

But, you know, look, as you look back over your story and what we covered today, there's not just one inflection point, right? There are a number of them. And if we're doing things right, the likelihood is that there will continue to be many inflection points going forward. So your story to this point is fun and interesting, but also instructive. And so, to your point, having the outlook that you have going forward and being excited about what what possibilities can present themselves and just the opportunity to navigate that, that's interesting.

31:33 - 32:07

And that's something that we'll look forward to seeing as we continue to follow you. And this is my sequel plug. I probably try to rope you back in as you continue to pursue other things going forward. Well, it's interesting, as I have found myself in the last couple of weeks going, oh, my God, people are going to definitely be looking at me to be really, this next thing to be really successful. Like I was like, oh, well, there's some pressure here. And I think that the only way I've been able to kind of relieve that pressure for myself and feel like, you know, it's like this may not be the next Drybar, mine, this next business. And that's OK.

32:07 - 32:38

You know, if it doesn't work, if it's not as successful, it's like, it is the beauty of entrepreneurship is like throwing a lot of things at the wall and hoping something sticks. And I may never realize success in my life again the way I did with Drybar. And that's OK. And if it doesn't do as well, that's OK. It's just kind of about getting up and doing something again that gets you excited to get up in the morning. Well, I think that's a heck of a way to end this and a great lesson to leave everyone with. So, Ali, seriously, thank you for your time. Thank you for taking the time to share your story. It was great having you. Yeah.

32:38 - 33:00

Super fun. Thanks for listening to the Inflection Point. If you've enjoyed the episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts, you can follow Bernstein on social media at BernsteinPWM. Bernstein: Making money meaningful for individuals, families, and foundations for over 50 years. Visit us at Bernstein.com.

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