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‘The Feel-Good Company’ aims to champion female-led businesses

In this article:
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Brittany Driscoll, Squeeze CEO and Alli Webb, Drybar Founder, joins Yahoo Finance’s Kristin Myers and Alexis Christoforous to discuss aiding female entrepreneurs and business outlook amid the pandemic.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: Welcome back. There's a new company that will help female-led businesses called The Feel-Good Company, and it was started by two powerful business women themselves, Brittany Driscoll, CEO of Squeeze, and Alli Webb, the founder of Drybar. Thank you both for joining us today.

I'll throw this out to the both of you, and perhaps, Brittany, you can start first. Why did you want to start this company, especially at a time like this? I'm seeing so many women leaving the workforce because of the pandemic. It feels as if a movement, an initiative like this couldn't be better timed.

BRITTANY DRISCOLL: Thanks. Well, we agree. I think that for us, when we started Drybar, when Alli started Drybar, and I worked for the company for four years, we always used to talk about how when you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you can take on the world. And when we started Squeeze, our second venture which is a massage company and obviously a feel-good experience, we really realized that through our expertise in architecture, and branding, and creating a great team culture, and then technology, which is a big differentiator of Squeeze, that we really had all these amazing components that created a feel-good experience.

And we're both so passionate about championing women and wellness in particular is going to just continue to be a focus for Americans, especially as we come out of the pandemic, that we felt like what a great opportunity to-- to support women who are wanting to create great experiences and specifically within the wellness space.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Alli, talk to us a little bit, though, about the effect the pandemic has had on these kinds of businesses, which are, you know, generally close interaction. I mean, you're talking about a massage-- I would love to have a massage right now, but there's a little trepidation there, right-- or getting your hair blown out. I mean, what has it done to the business and how have you had to-- to pivot?

ALLI WEBB: Yeah, I mean, you know, the service business is amongst the hardest hit. And Drybar and Squeeze, you know, our other company was-- was deeply affected by it, and we closed down very early. We're just now reopening most of the Drybar locations across the country. And I'll tell you, they are busy. Women are coming back. Just like you said you want a massage, this-- we're seeing the same thing in Squeeze.

We finally opened the door to Squeeze again. You know, obviously the big difference now is that there's tons of precautions in place. We're making sure that everyone feels really safe from not only our stylists and therapists, but our clients, like everybody across the board feels really comfortable, and we're taking all the precautions necessary. So, you know, it was a really rough year and-- and really hard to-- to manage it internally.

And we-- you know, I mean, Brittany did such a great job of this, of, like, staying really connected to the therapists and the same on the Drybar side with the stylists. And knowing that this was eventually going to end and we were eventually going to get back in, as Brittany alluded to, it's, like, people are really anxious to get back into their routine to do the things that make them feel good, not to mention look good. So yeah, I mean, we are, like, fingers crossed that this-- this lasts and, you know, that we can put that all in the past.

KRISTIN MYERS: I'm curious to know how much you think community and network is really integral not just to the success of businesses that are led by women, but also to helping them-- as you mentioned, this year has been such a struggle for so many people, to helping other entrepreneurs, other business owners essentially navigate the really difficult times?

ALLI WEBB: Yeah, I mean, I know me and Brittany are both so passionate about this. And we-- we actually just started a podcast that's giving advice to women in business. And it's part of why we started The Feel-Good Company. And really, it's Brittany's brainchild, is to help other women and to be a network, and a community, and a place for women to go and to give as much advice and help as we can.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Talk to us more--

BRITTANY DRISCOLL: Yeah, I mean, just--

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah, no, go ahead. Go ahead.

BRITTANY DRISCOLL: I was going to say just to piggyback on that, you know, building a business, starting something from scratch is so hard. And having-- you know, for me when I built Squeeze, having Alli and Michael as my business partners and then just the idea of now being able to champion other women and help them along the way, community and having someone to lean on is so incredible. And you feel that much more confident that what you're doing is actually going to make a difference and you can keep at it.

And I'll say that, you know, in addition to what we're doing at The Feel-Good Company, at Squeeze, we're franchising, and we're planning on scaling nationally. And the reason that we wanted to do that was specifically to what you were just mentioning, you know, the idea of all of these small business owners around the country having the network of each other to lean on in creating these great feel-good experiences within their communities. So, I mean, you know, we're so passionate about that, and we're very excited to get all of these experiences, you know, out and around the country for people to take advantage of.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: I'm so glad you brought up franchises, because that was actually going to be my next question. Alli, I believe Drybar is franchised. And I'm wondering-- and I see now that you-- you have the same plans for Squeeze, for the massage company, what have you been hearing from franchisees during this tough time? Have you been able to offer any kind of monetary assistance? Have some of them had to let go of their franchises? What has it done to that part of the business for you?

ALLI WEBB: Well, Drybar is not fully franchised, but about half the or-- half of the organization is. And yeah, I mean, it was-- it's been an interesting kind of unraveling of some-- some stores, and some cities were able to open faster than others. And the franchisees have held on quite beautifully and are-- have been thriving and getting-- a lot of them were able to open quicker than we were. Our corporate stores in LA and New York took longer to open. So, you know, there's-- they've hung out just like we have and things slowed down temporarily, but they are back and up and running now.

And as far as-- as far as franchising Squeeze, I mean, Brittany can really speak to this better than I can, but there is a lot of interest in people wanting to open their own businesses now. I think it's also part of, like, this being a time of renewal and trying to find out what your next thing is. And like, I think the pandemic has been a real kind of education for all of us and, like, what do I really want to be doing with my life, and my time, and this opportunity that's now available to own your own business? And it'd be somewhat pretty much turnkey with Squeeze, because we've done so much of the heavy lifting. We're seeing so much interest in that right now, which is really exciting and hopeful for the future.

KRISTIN MYERS: Absolutely. And I know I can't wait to also get a massage and now also, looking at the both of you, get my hair done. I'm looking forward, when I feel comfortable enough, to do that. Brittany Driscoll, CEO of Squeeze, Alli Webb, founder of Drybar. Thank you both for joining us today.