We wonder if someone once told this week’s Spotlight-er to “go blow herself” and she just came up with a much better alternative. Why do it yourself, when someone else can do it for you? Hair. HAIR. Get your mind outta the gutter. Erika Wasser, owner/creator of Glam&Go Blowdry Bars, is no stranger to paving her own way. From her stand-up comedy to her entrepreneurial spirit, from her forward thinking to her always on/camera persona, she is surely a kaleidoscope of talent and drive whipped up into one bold, well-trussed package. If we do say so ourselves.
SPOTLIGHT: Erika Wasser
So, what do you do for a living… (the good, the great and the hidden)?
The good? And sometimes the great? I started a company called Glam&Go, the blow dry bar for people on the go. Essentially, I put small scale blowdry bars in the most convenient locations possible – gym locker rooms, residential/corporate towers, hotels, etc. It was based off just a selfish need of wanting a stylist to do my hair at the gym. I was used to green room express styling and thought “what if I could recreate the green room where all women need it most?” We now have 11 locations across 4 states – and are growing to 25 locations throughout 2014. So that’s the “great.”
The hidden? I’ve replaced the excuse of not going to the gym because of my hair, for just about anything else. I still don’t go to the gym. I also write, host and do stand-up. I have a TV project in the works that’s in the process of being sold. Hopefully we’ll shoot this summer. Comedy is my first love.
What was the spark that got you to start Glam&Go?
I started Glam&Go because I have no metabolism and frizzy hair. I was hosting SPACEStv, and, when we stopped filming in May of 2013, I was getting auditions at E! News and similar networks. I was showing up to casting calls competing with girls you had to squint to see and I realized, “Sh*t! I need to get to the gym.” The problem, however, is that I can’t do my own hair. So, getting to the gym was fine, but looking like I was coming from one wouldn’t work while I was running to meetings with managers, my agent and auditions – I couldn’t be the “bigger girl” [size 8, by the way] AND have bad hair.
Coming from years of green room experience where I would show up to set and in 15 minutes have to be camera ready — whether post-gym or with dry hair — I wanted to recreate that experience for myself where I needed it most! And it turned out other women needed it too.
What’s your biggest challenge being your own business and brand? What’s your greatest reward?
The biggest challenge is, frankly, that you become what you do. Everything you do becomes a reflection on the brand and the business, and as a girl with a mouth and a love of vodka/wine it can be a frightening place to be. As a stand-up, sometimes it worked in my favor, but in business…? Luckily, at my current level no one’s paying attention to me and I’m not at the ‘Jay-Z level’ of being “a business… man.” But, that’s definitely the goal. People judge you for things that may have nothing to do with your ability to run a business, or the quality of the service you offer, and that’s scary. I’m not a perfect person in a society where sometimes the bullsh*t outweighs anything of relevance.
The opportunity to be an entrepreneur is the greatest reward. You’re in a position to truly manifest a destiny for yourself. Unfortunately, that’s something a lot of people will never realize – either because they’re scared, or can’t execute, or for a million other reasons. It’s an exciting time in my life that I’m just really thankful for.
Is being a woman of both business savvy and punchy personality an important balance?
I think so. Frankly, business is just relationships. That’s truly all it is. Especially a business like ours where we are going to national, high-level brands and having them take a chance on us. Really what they’re taking a chance on is me.
We’re aware you’ve cornered a huge market on something you just innately knew needed to be filled: what tidbit, that’s not in the manual, would you lend to an upcoming up-starter who reminded you of yourself?
“Everyday is not going to be perfect, but that doesn’t mean it did not have purpose.” I heard that line in a gospel song that came to me through a Spotify playlist. I had had one of Glam&Go’s worst days, which now we just call “Tuesday”, and it really hit me. Some days are going to suck, things are going to go wrong, and, in starting a business, you have to be ok with that because the sun will rise tomorrow and you can try to do a little better than the day before.
If you could have a cocktail party with women who inspire you, for any reason(s), which 4 would you invite? Living or dead.
I love Joan Rivers. Dorothy Parker for her wit and tolerance. I’d love to see what Marilyn Monroe looked like in person and I honestly think Ru Paul and I could be really good friends… if only she’d come to my party! I think RP is just a business genius. He did it on his terms, his way and ended up taking a taboo and making it an empire. Does a man in a wig count as an inspiring woman?
Most importantly… stand-up or improv?
Stand-up. Not even a question. Yes, and?
Erika Wasser is a stand up comedian, host and entrepreneur. She’s performed all over the country, written for Glamour Magaine, the Tyra Banks Show, and weekly in US Weekly& InTouch Magazine for their fashion police. She hosted INspaces with Erika Storm Wasser on SPACEStv, a google funded YouTube home & design channel. In the fall of 2013 she founded Glam&Go, the blow dry bar for people on the go, bringing great hair to where women need it most. Called a beauty trend of 2014 by The New York Times, SHAPE, Good Morning America and more, Glam&Go has grown into 11 locations across 4 states, and plans to be national by early 2015.