Chic, fun & fast with a prosecco bar and private events lounge, Duck & Dry is one such world where the traditional rules of hairdressing do not apply. Having created beautiful hair for thousands of clients since its launch, the company has introduced its own range of blow dry essentials fusing modern science with natural active ingredients. It all began with Yulia Rorstrom, the Founder and CEO at Duck & Dry. Passionate about beauty and entrepreneurship, and with a desire to create an exciting new brand, she left her career in finance and set out to create a modern styling destination. With the goal of professionally styled hair to become part of an everyday beauty regime. Uncompromising on quality, yet affordable in a fun and vibrant environment.
Experience in Different Sectors
Yulia Rorstrom didn’t have a beauty background at all! After finishing university, she knew she wanted to work in Management Consulting & gain experience, and utilize the skills that she learned during her studies, within different sectors while also getting involved in high-level projects. But then coming from a family which is immersed in the world of business, she quickly realized that she wanted to set up her own business. So, Yulia hadn’t planned to set up a blow-dry brand, but it all kind of happened! She identified a niche in the market and set about creating a distinctive brand within the industry.
In the 5 years, since Yulia started Duck and Dry, she also gave birth to 2 children – her eldest is 4, and the youngest is 2. She decided to not pick one or the other, or wait for the right opportunity for either one of them. “If you just throw yourself in it, you will battle your way through”, says Yulia. She does think that a support network around oneself is very important, especially if you’re a “single” entrepreneur as opposed to co-founders, and that support network looks different for different people. Yulia has got a very supportive Ukrainian family. Her mother came to London for 6 months each time she had a baby, and she would never be able to do it without her, along with a full-time nanny and a very hands-on & understanding husband. Her weekends are spent as much as possible with the family, so she’s not missing out.
Finding Managerial Style
Working in the services industry means Yulia Rorstorm has a really big team, and for her, one of the biggest learning experiences has been finding her managerial style. Yulia was not a readymade product, she is still not, but she has made leaps and bounds of improvement. One thing she also tries not to do is shield her management team from the bigger picture and how they’re going to get there, “because engaging people in the broader scheme of things is what galvanizes them and gets them to follow you.” says Yulia. She also adds, “It’s so important to be patient when thingsmight not be going your way, extremely determined to ensure things get done, flexible and adaptable as things don’t always work out the way you plan, and you have to constantly self-motivate yourself – it’s mostly all on you, so if you’re not pushing yourself regularly, then it’s hard to achieve what you envision for your brand and business.”
Cultivate Relationship with People
One of the things Yulia has learned which is most poignant is that very often people don’t work for a brand or a company, they work for a person. Yulia says, “It doesn’t have to be me, it could be their direct manager, but I do try to cultivate that relationship where people think of how their performance and attitude affect each other.” It’s important to connect on a human level. She also adds, “I’ve also learned that it is important not to let your emotions get to you too much, especially in front of the team, and to lead instead with enthusiasm and happiness.”
Establishing and running your own business is an extremely challenging journey. As CEO, the main challenges involve the daily grind of dealing with various issues, difficult questions, assessing your successes and failures, as well as seeking new opportunities. Most challenges are encountered during the first 3-5 year initial set up phase.
Quality Styling in a Fun Atmosphere
Yulia Rorstorm comes from an entrepreneurial family. Her parents have always had different businesses and in the back of her mind, she always wanted to create something of her own. Yulia was interested in the power of a brand and what it can create and achieve. At the time, she was doing a lot of traveling for both work and pleasure. The US, of course, is huge for blow dry bars, and what struck her most about them was the experience aspect. “It wasn’t about quick and cheap styling; it was the buzz, energy, and the excitement surrounding the whole visit”, says the leader.
Yulia was also inspired by Japan, not from a blow-dry perspective, but there is a huge concentration of salons in Tokyo, and each one of them has a different personality. They don’t feel like your traditional UK hair salon. Whether they had quirky uniforms or a coffee shop or art gallery, she liked this concept and wanted to combine something that was brand and experience-led, but done in a London style.
That was how Duck & Dry was born. The company is all about quality styling in a fun atmosphere. It is more of an experience rather than just a quick in and out. The company positions itself as a destination—a must on your to-do list! Rather than going for a cocktail with a friend, you can come for a Prosecco and a blow-dry. The organization has taken something which could be considered as a functional service and created an experience around it.