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Winter 2014
Hair to Stay

More than just a traditional salon, with BLO/OUT, a classic indulgence goes mainstream.

It might look like any other hair salon, but a BLO/OUT Blow Dry Bar is actually a whole new service experience. Located in malls and mixed-use shopping centers, the BLO/OUT Blow Dry Bar offers customers a modern-day indulgence commonly enjoyed by women a half-century ago.

The soundtrack of today’s hit music pumping through and luxurious finishes like a mirror-finished floor and crystal chandeliers, give the feeling of being in a glamorous, celebrity hangout. A customer is offered a drink and then with the help of her stylist, picks from a menu of hairstyles in order to choose a desired “do.” The hair is then washed and professionally styled by one of BLO/OUT’s highly trained professionals.

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“Simply put, BLO/OUT Blow Dry Bar is a disruption to the traditional salon experience,” says Founder Avi Shenkar, 32. “We wash and style hair; we do not cut hair. There’s no appointment necessary, we’re open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. [except where mall hours differ]. Our stylists are trained alike so customers get the same love from all stylists. We have a flat rate of $35. Our atmosphere is high energy and customer service is key. We want our customers to enjoy their experience and feel beautiful.”

Each session usually takes about 35-45 minutes and on the weekends there’s typically at least an hour’s wait time. So although no advance appointments are necessary, clients are encouraged to schedule one on weekends to avoid long wait times.

In addition to the styling services, the salons offer a full-line of add-ons, such as scalp massages, professional makeup services, and more custom styling. The stores also sell the full line of Morrocanoil hair and body products, which is also used to style clients’ hair. BLO/OUT has become one of the brand’s top retailers, according to Shenkar.

The store has also introduced a new service called BLO/OUT Express, a dry-styling treatment that only requires 20 minutes and costs $25. For those that cannot make it to the salon Shenkar has launched BLO/OUT On Demand, a service where the salon sends a stylist to a client’s home or hotel room. Shenkar says this service is popular for weddings and parties. The on-demand service is priced at $65 per person for a Signature BLO/OUT. BLO/OUT salons are available to rent for parties—from bachelorette to birthday celebrations for teens. The salon provides food and beverages as well as stylists for all the guests, says Shenkar, who adds that the concept has been very successful.

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Growth plans

Despite having no specific prior experience as a hair stylist or salon owner, Shenkar does have a great deal of other business experience. While doing industry research, he came upon the blow-dry salon concept, and realized he could execute the concept better than the competition. Being familiar with the area, and with no other major players to contend with, Philadelphia was the perfect place to launch. Currently there are three owner-operated (by Shenkar) locations—two in the Philadelphia area and one in Atlantic City, NJ.

Later this year, Shenkar will roll out franchise operations, for which he has already received many inquiries. Franchise opportunities will include joint ventures (where Shenkar and a co-owner will own and operate the location together) and traditional operations. Fees are yet to be determined.
Shenkar says his salons do well in malls and shopping centers that include women’s clothing and services nearby. The stores tend to attract customers throughout the day. In the mornings, professional women have their hair styled for the workweek or for an important meeting or presentation. During lunchtime, some professional women take a break from their work days, and the evenings are popular with younger women preparing for a special event or a night on the town.

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Shenkar says that above all, customer service and a pleasant experience are emphasized. Each customer receives an electronic receipt, which includes a quick survey. This has lead to some great feedback and touching stories. “I’ve even had numerous clients tell me they have thrown out their blow dryers and will be coming only to BLO/OUT to have their hair done,” Shenkar says.

For more information about BLO/OUT, please visit www.bloout.com.

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Melissa M. Kellogg

Melissa M. Kellogg is a freelance writer specializing in small business, marketing, social media and retail business management. She is based in Edwards, CO, and is a regular contributor to GIFT SHOP magazine. Her work has also been published in various newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Mexico
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