Good vibes, good heart and good hustle, feminine and powerful with an edge is what Melbourne's must-visit blow dry bar The BLOW is all about. Founded by beauty industry elite Phoebe Simmonds, The BLOW's mission is to empower women so you feel that you’re ready to do you with courage, curiosity and confidence. With stunning pink decor, a fun and approachable environment (no intimidation barrier here ladies!) and a commitment to giving back through their charity partner Share The Dignity, The BLOW is your go-to for the best Blow Dry in Melbourne! I spoke with founder Phoebe all about her business journey, The BLOWS philosophy and what empowerment means to Phoebe personally.
Hi Phoebe, thank you for joining us for our #bethegirl interview series! I am SO excited to chat to you today about your business The BLOW. First up, can you tell me about your professional background?
I’ve always been in beauty. When I was at uni (Commerce at Melbourne Uni), I worked in the internet/mail order team at Mecca packing orders and occasionally writing content for their site. After uni I moved to London and worked in marketing for Nude Skincare, a natural skincare brand owned by Bono and his wife Ali Hewson. Halfway through this stint, Nude was sold to LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) and we were put under the guidance of Parfums Christian Dior to transition into big brand practices, the steepest of learning curves a 25 yo from Melbourne can ever get! After four years in London I was keen to move to Singapore and get experience in the Asian market. I moved over with Benefit Cosmetics (another LVMH brand) and was responsible for driving their business and exposure at Sephora as it was ramping up it’s expansion in emerging markets like India, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. After 5.5 years overseas I was ready to move home, and headed to Sydney as Marketing Director for Benefit Cosmetics with a team of ten focused on driving integrated brand awareness and creating big retail moments with our partners Myer, Sephora and online retail.
Wow, that is quite an amazing career journey so far! So how did The BLOW come to be?
When I would travel to the US regularly for work (Benefit’s HQ is in San Francisco), I noticed that many professional Americans see Blow Drys as a weekly or twice-weekly necessity. Just as how manicures and brow shaping have evolved into an essential part of many women's routines, Blow Drys in the US are no longer seen as a luxury, but a tool women regularly rely on to feel polished and confident to conquer the world. I knew that Australian women would feel the same way as North Americans, if there was a business on their doorstep that would meet their needs, which is fast and effortless Blow Drys in a convenient location. I thought I had the experience (if not the hair skills) to build a brand that would bring the convenience of centrally located Blow Dry Boutiques, that offers a consistent service and competitive pricing. It was important to me that we also create a fun and approachable environment through hair stylists with a ton of high energy and warmth and interiors that turned heads and expressed everything The BLOW is all about: good vibes, good heart and good hustle, feminine and powerful, with an edge.
"The BLOW exists to make your life as effortless as possible. To create a community of women who lift each other up. And to provide Blow Drys that make you feel like you can conquer your day with confidence."
You have just celebrated your first business birthday! Congratulations! What has been the most memorable moment for The BLOW so far?
Thank you! It feels good. We’ve had so many great moments, one in particular that stands out is our International Women’s Day initiative. We opened 6am - 9pm and gave away free Blow Drys all day, asking instead for guests to make a donation to Share The Dignity, our charity partner. The community rallied and it was wonderful to have the boutique buzzing with women wanting to support other women, everything The BLOW is all about. We did over 90 Blow Drys and raised $5,820 for Share The Dignity, to help them in their efforts to provide sanitary items to homeless women and protect victims of domestic violence. In one year, we’ve donated almost $15,000 to Share The Dignity, mostly through giving $1 from every Blow Dry we do, day in, day out. As a small business, I think it’s important we use our voice and our funds to try to make a small difference to the lives of women who need our support the most.
The biggest challenge you think you have faced and overcome and how?
Personally, it’s always been a challenge to feel okay in myself that every day I’m doing enough to keep pushing the business forward. A ton of internal struggles that I help to manage through a work life balance that includes time to myself- think yoga, journalling and walking to work. As a business, I find recruiting incredibly challenging because our brand is so unique and I hire on DNA. We want stylists who are fearless and fun and are obsessed with styling. We look for unicorns and we know it when we see it!
So what can our ladies can expect when visiting....how would you describe The BLOW customer experience?
The BLOW exists to make your life as effortless as possible. To create a community of women who lift each other up. And to provide Blow Drys that make you feel like you can conquer your day with confidence. A guest experience at The BLOW is collaborative, fun, high on positivity and reassuring. We value our guests time - we serve up fast and effortless Blow Drys so they can get in, get out… and get it. A lot of women like myself have difficulty articulating how they’d like their hair styled, so we have signature styles with accompanying illustrations that they can easily choose from. And of course, a really good head massage is a must- we always have time for that!
"The community rallied and it was wonderful to have the boutique buzzing with women wanting to support other women, everything The BLOW is all about."
I am are totally crushing on the design and decor of your beautiful salon, what was the inspiration behind the design and how did you bring it to life?
For the aesthetic and brand identity, I leaned heavily on my friend and interior designer extraordinaire Lauren Foy of Collingwood architect firm Tecture. She was my first call when I had the idea to start The BLOW and she took it and ran. The brief was simple: the anti-salon, feminine with an edge, good lighting, good hustle. We drew on inspiration we’d seen all over Instagram and Pinterest and then developed our own vision from there. Lauren was so involved the process that it’s her handwriting on our logo and our ‘good hustle’ neon sign. That makes me smile every day seeing it and knowing how much support I had from incredible friends throughout the whole journey.
I love your philosophy: "That hair can exude power and help you sell the best version of yourself, not a made up version of perfection. That you’re ready to do you, with courage, curiosity and confidence." and "scheduling in your signature 45 minute Blow Dry like we would schedule in any other meeting so you can get in, get out … and get it girl." How do you think this empowers women?
I don’t believe in perfection. It’s an overused word that has now lost its meaning in our age of Instagram. What I’m interested in is transformations, emotional and physical. We work with our guests hair and their personal style to make them feel fresh, polished and invincible. I hire stylists who represent our brand DNA, who are positive, driven people who want the best for our guests. When I started The BLOW I wanted to take out the intimidation barrier that guests can sometimes feel (myself included) when they visit a salon. Hair should be fun and stylists should be approachable. Guests should be able to walk out feeling invincible.
I must know Phoebe..what's you favourite do: The Mane Event, Rich Girl Hair, The Glitterati, Give it to me straight, Baby got beach, Vavavoom or The Step Up?
It’s like choosing a child!! For 9-5 The Mane Event. It’s big, bold, sweeping with a ton of movement and bounce and always makes me feel invincible. For weekend vibes, I’m obsessed with The Glitterati. Playful twists and minimal height at the crown always makes me feel just a little bit more glamorous.
Thank you Phoebe for giving TDP the inside scoop on Melbourne's go-to Blow Dry bar! For the ultimate salon experience in Melbourne ladies check out The BLOW and if you are visiting Melbourne and need an amazing 'do you can find The BLOW team at 146 Little Collins Street (between Russell and Exhibition). The opening hours are suited for busy gals so you can pop in before or after work if that suits you better. For all the deets and to make a booking check out the website. Follow their Instagram and boss lady Phoebe for all the latest updates, hair inspo and all round #girlpower! The BLOW is totally on my must visit list next time I am in Melbs!