Columbus' newest blow dry bar adopts the coffee-shop ambiance

Want do you get when you combine blowouts, pastries and a warm cup of coffee?

You get The Blowdry Cafe, Columbus' newest blow dry bar-opening its doors this Saturday, March 1, at 9 a.m.

The concept, which removes the color and cut from the salon experience, is what co-owners Jessica Daniels and Ashley Blackstone call an "affordable luxury." You go in, get your hair washed, rinsed and styled to your liking for $35.

The Blowdry Cafe is all about projecting the coffee-shop atmosphere, complete with warm, earthy colors and comfortable seating. The "menu" of styles ranges from the "French Press," sleek and straight, to the "Spiced Chai," messy and beachy waves. Add a conditioning treatment, or "Added Cream," for $10. Guys can even go in for a "Cup of Joe" for $15 (scalp massage included).

The salon will also have makeup application, chargers for iPhones and Androids and a lookbook for clients to flip through. Bridal packages are available, too.

Blackstone, who also owns That Gym on Grandview, and Daniels, an esthetician at Salon Lofts, said the café concept really comes back to creating a comfortable atmosphere for the client.

We talked with the two about their favorite menu items and how to preserve a good blowout. Read their answers below.

-Taylor Starek, @taylorstarek

What makes you passionate about great hair?

Blackstone: We call this an affordable luxury. You don't have to spend $200 to get great hair. I'm passionate about it because I've been doing it forever, like when I went on vacations or for special occasions. It was just never a specific salon like it is now. So it was kind of a no-brainer for me. It's so much more affordable and a good blowout can last two to three days. You never know. And we're opening at 7 a.m. two times a week to try to capture the women who want to come in before work or if they have a job interview.

Daniels: What girl doesn't want her hair to be fabulous? If you have a bad hair day, it can ruin your whole day.

What can new clients expect when they come in?

B: Customers will be greeted by one of our receptionists, and she will check her in, offer her something to drink-coffee, mimosa, wine. We'll have pastries every day. The client will be greeted by her stylist for a consultation at her station, and they'll go from there. And so the client will be taken through every aspect of the process. When women walk into salons, you almost tense up a little bit. You're not sure where to go, where your headed, if you're supposed to sit up or lay back or wait. So we want our stylists to take all of that question out of it for our clients so they can feel comfortable. They don't have to guess what they have to do next and hopefully love the style they choose. There's a whole education process our stylists will do with the clients, so they can leave feeling like they've spent $35 not just on one night of hair but that they've learned something about the product, about the tools and how to preserve the style.

How do you preserve a good blowout?

D: Product-wise, one of our biggest selling items is going to be the dry shampoo. That's just going to help to eliminate oil build-up and keep the lift and the volume. Also, tying the hair up in a certain way at night when you sleep. Stylists will walk clients through that. That also helps preserve the volume, the curl.

B: You could have a Macchiato on a Saturday night and wake up with a Cappuccino or a Spiced Chai. That's not a bad thing at all.

What's your favorite item on the menu?

B: The Macchiato [big hair with volume]

D: The Spiced Chai [messy and beachy waves]

What makes The Blowdry Cafe different?

B: I think it's our whole ambiance. I've been to several blow dry salons and none of them have had this feel. We always wanted these colors, this situation, this setup. I've had great experiences at all of the blow dry salons I've been to. The thing is… not everyone gets to interact with each other all the time, which is a big complaint with bacheloretteparties and bridal parties. They go to a big salon, and they're in separate rooms or one person's here and the other's at the end of the bar, so we wanted it to be everyone mingling, everyone together. We're also stressing the training with our stylists. It's not just about the hair. It's about the experience with the client.

D: And we're having a phone app. That should be ready any day. So when you hit on the app, you can see our menu, you can schedule appointments, and it'll give you directions on how to get here. And they can also take pictures if they've had their hair done here, and they love it and they want to add it.

B: For Jess and I, this was a long process, and it was a lot of hard work because we didn't have any money to start this business. We just knew we wanted to. We wrote a business plan, we approached investors and really in the end, besides one investor, three approached us. That made us really happy. Because they knew our work ethic and they believed in the concept and the idea. It's not like we said, "We have some extra money. Let's see how this goes." We also want to be an inspiration to other small business owners, especially female small business owners.

Photos courtesy of The Blowdry Cafe