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The art of collaboration

Anjali Merchant and Divya Sabanayagam’s entrepreneurial venture, Dryfix celebrates hairstyles, collaboration and the concept of two is better than one. They reveal their secret formula to the perfect pairings.

 

One of the coolest contenders in the space of beauty, but with a unique twist of championing hairstyles and hairstyles alone, Dryfix welcomes you in with its bright colours and fun attitude to transform your hairdo the way you like. The girl bosses behind this venture, Anjali Merchant and Divya Sabanayagam, showcase how Dryfix is different from the spectrumof salons available today that typically provide over 20 services, with styling as a slightly forgotten one in the vast menu. “We have taken that one overlooked service and specialised in it.” Dryfix has a menu of 18 different hairstyles, covering everything from chic blow-dries and dos for work to elaborate and elegant blow-dries and dos for a wedding. The menu is split up in three categories—you can choose from a Quick Fix, a Classic Fix and a Pro Fix and select any style within the category depending on your requirement or mood. And that’s exactly what a great hairstyle is at the end of the day—a brilliant mood enhancer! The perks of this hairstyle and blow dry-only salon is that you no longer have to scour Pinterest, Google or Instagram for the perfect hairstyle and then hope for your regular salonist to be able to achieve it. Nor will you ever again have to go to an event with a bad hair day on. With Dryfix’s extensive offerings and brilliant expertise, you know exactly what you’re getting, how long it will take and the exact price—the pricing is fixed, and doesn’t change with the length of your hair or the stylist you choose, like most of the other salons on the block. The bonus: it’s a fun experience all-inall: you can walk in, plug your laptop in and get your work done, binge on Netflix, or just spend quality time with your friends, all while getting your hair styled. Win-win-win, right?

The inspiration behind Dryfix comes from the confidence one feels when they are having a good hair day. Both Anjali and Divya realised when their hair was styled, they felt more self-assured and positive. And they both discovered striving for this achievement of a good hairdo was very difficult in India. “I remember showing an image from Google to my stylist who assured me she would be able to replicate it in 30 minutes. Two hours later, I left with unnatural ringlets and a surprise dent in my wallet. I ended up going home, washing my hair and styling it myself,” describes Divya. When she went to London Business School, she shared this experience with her roommate, Anjali, and to her surprise, she wasn’t alone in this quest and ultimate disappointment. Anjali too had the same experience, several times over. The two girls struck a chord with this common experience and it led them on a mission to provide a great styling experience for all women in India. “We rushed from finance classes at LBS to styling classes at Vidal Sassoon, and finally returned to Bombay armed with a business plan and a hairstyling certification,” explain the two girls. They go on to say, “we both graduated from business school with a lot of uncertainty. We were starting a business in an unfamiliar industry and were unknown to the set of challenges ahead of us, but we were comfortable with it. It took a strong vision, comfort with the unknown, and being able to find solutions even when you feel like there are none, to create and scale the business.”

“INSTEAD OF STARING AT A MIRROR UNDER A WHITE LIGHT, WE GAVE OUR CUSTOMERS THE OPTION OF USING THAT SPACE AS A WORKSTATION OR ENTERTAINMENT ZONE. WE CARE ABOUT BOTH THE STYLE AND THE EXPERIENCE….”

But when it all came to life, it did so in great design and spirit. First of all, the space is endearing in itself. Right from the word go the girls knew that the aesthetics were critical to the customer experience. “When we told everyone that the chairs wouldn’t be facing the wall, people thought we were going against the basics of space utilisation. We then told them they wouldn’t be sitting in front of a large mirror, and now they just called us crazy. But we like crazy. We like changing things up.” And change is exactly what they did. The duo understood that everything begins and ends with the customer. The Dryfix customer is informed, busy, and cares about their hair. They no longer want everything at one place at substandard quality, and rather want the best of each service. DryFix therefore uses products that ensure the long term health of a customer’s hair, not just a 30 minute temporary hurray. Furthermore, the layout of the space was designed keeping in mind the busy woman and the ethic was constructed keeping their discernment in mind. “We value her time. We know that she has to plan her time around watching that latest episode of her favourite TV show, or finishing that last email, or just finding time to spend with her friends. So we created a space where women can address those needs, while getting their hair styled. In stead of staring at a mirror under a white light, we gave our customers the option of using that space as a workstation or entertainment zone. We care about both the style and the experience. Our ultimate aim is to ensure that every customer walks out of Dryfix feeling and looking like a Queen.” Anjali and Divya have got it down to the T. Even their brand colours were chosen keeping the customer in mind, intended to be calming but also to stand out and be memorable.

Beyond Dryfix’s revolutionary concept, design and mission, what makes them stand further apart and shine like no other is how they have mastered the art of collaboration. “Dryfix is a bold brand and is constantly pushing boundaries to create a unique experience. We partner with other brands that have similar values and share our ethos. As a female-founded company, we also believe in partnering with other women-led organisations to grow and learn from each other. When we do a collaboration, it is an exciting journey to see it unfold and even more exciting to create such unique and diverse experiences for our customers,” the girls explain. The customers are their secret formula. The girls keep learning about them, in terms of the brands they are interested in, their likes and dislikes—it is the customers that create the initial link when a collaboration is on the cards. The basic aim in finding the perfect association is by ensuring the brands are a good match for each other, and working closely with the founders to create the most memorable experiences for the customer. Some of the most noteworthy collaborations that Dryfix have had include: Dryfix x Papa Don’t Preach: The collaboration with Shubhika, founder of Papa Don’t Preach, was to launch the brand’s western collection at Dryfix. The customers who walked in got the rare opportunity of getting styled by Papa Don’t Preach, while Dryfix created hairstyles to match their outfits. This was one of Anjali and Divya’s most favourite partnerships. They even held a photoshoot prior to the collection launch and hosted a lunch at Dryfix. Their muses for the photoshoot were women in business across different industries. Speaking on the experience, “We had a blast the entire time and loved getting creative with the Papa Don’t Preach team. It’s been very satisfying to build community with each collaboration.” The next collab was with Starch The Label. Founded by Anushka Rajan and Ushma Vaidya, Starch is a clothing brand that specialises in all-white power dressing for women. It was a match made in heaven as both brands are highly specialised and shared a similar focus in making women feel confident. Another interesting pairing was with Protein Bakeshop, a health food brand founded by Rashi Chowdhary. Dryfix inherently knew its customers would love to indulge in Protein Bakeshop’s protein truffles. As for important collaborations, the one with Carmesi definitely was. Carmesi is an all natural, sustainable sanitary product founded by Tanvi Johri. With educating customers as the priority and discussing topics in this realm considered taboo, Dryfix recognised that Carmesi was pushing boundaries and it inspired them to join hands. Dryfix launched their brand and displayed sanitary pads instead of shampoos all around the store. What a way to say go bold or go home! For more information on cool, new, exciting collaborations coming up at Dryfix follow them on Intagram @thedryfix.

Happy hairstyling!

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