Women in Business Q&A: Robin Moraetes, CEO & Co-Founder of DreamDry

After 17 years at CAA as a senior executive growing global brands through innovative marketing initiatives and consulting for companies like Moët & Chandon, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Coca-Cola, Bliss Spa, Dell, Chipotle and Abercrombie & Fitch, Robin co-founded DreamDry with leading stylist Rachel Zoe. As CEO, she oversees all elements of the salon experience from the branding, design and technology to the unrivaled personalized customer experience. DreamDry is a next generation blow-dry and styling salon that incorporates innovative technology with unprecedented personalized services to provide effortless beauty, efficiency and affordable luxury to its clients. DreamDry first debuted in the heart of Manhattan's Flatiron neighborhood (35 West 21st Street) in February 2013; soon after, in September 2013, the second location opened near the bustling Columbus Circle (315 West 57th Street). Taking the blow-dry salon concept to the next level, DreamDry offers personalized client care, e-services and programs, express styling, extended hours, a rewards program and signature hair styles. Both salons' decor features an ultra chic color scheme of black, gold and silver, reminiscent of Creative Director and Co-Founder Rachel Zoe's signature style, and each boast an exclusive VIP area available for private appointments and events. Since opening, DreamDry has provided women with an enduring attention to service, achieving a client's dream hair in 40 minutes or less. DreamDry experts, trained under the DreamDry Academy, transform clients in an instant into one of their Hollywood-inspired looks.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
My Mom is my biggest mentor in life. A single mom who worked her way to the top to own not one, but two companies, she taught me to never give up and to always follow my dreams.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at DreamDry?
I learned quite a bit from my 17 years at CAA, but three things really stand out. One: Culture is key. Collaboration and communication were key elements of the CAA culture and I try to tie that into everything I do at DreamDry. Two: Teamwork. So cliche, but so true - there is no "I" in TEAM. Enough said. Three: service, service, service. Know your clients, anticipate their needs, and identify ways to personalize each and every experience.

It can be tempting to want to take on everything yourself when you set up a business; after all it's your baby. However, it's important to surround yourself with a good team so you can delegate and take advantage of other people's strengths.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at DreamDry?
Making the dream a reality has been both the biggest highlight and biggest challenge, but that's part of the fun! To take something from a concept to a successful business is full of highs and lows, some you are prepared for and many you never see coming. The day we opened the doors of our first location was one of the greatest moments for me. And each time we reach a new milestone, both small and large, I get that same amazing feeling.

What advice can you offer to women who want to start their own business?
When you start your own business you have to live and breathe it for at least the first year while you get things up and running, and the chances are you will always spend more time on it than you would a typical 9-5 job. With this in mind, you should choose something you are passionate about and won't get bored of quickly.

Be a graceful go-getter. When you start a new business you literally have to live and breathe it for the first few years, so choose something you are super passionate about and don't give up. In the beginning there are countless hurdles to overcome and it can be tempting to try to take everything on yourself or just give up. However, it's crucial to surround yourself with a good team so you can delegate and benefit from other people's strengths.

What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?
I come from the world of client service, so it's all about listening (both to their words and their actions) and reading between the lines. You've got to really hear what they are saying so you can deliver what they truly want on a consistent basis.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
As much as I would love to have a good work life balance, the reality is that when you are founding and launching a brand new business, that's not really possible. Right now, it's all work. And I'm ok with that. If you are passionate about what you are doing, you'll be happy. But, it's important to stay healthy so you can be your best, most productive self, so I always make sure to get in at least a few spin classes a week at Flywheel - it helps clear my head and gives me that "me moment" for at least 45 minutes.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
The idea of leaving a stable job to start your own business is absolutely terrifying (exciting... but scary for sure). To do this, you need to have a ton of confidence, both in your service offering and self. Sometimes women don't like to flaunt their talents, but to be successful you absolutely have to be your own biggest champion, especially when pitching to potential investors and partners.

The idea of leaving a stable job to start your own business or investing your life savings in a start-up is undeniably daunting, so to run a successful business you need to have lots of confidence; in your product and yourself.

Some women can be reserved about promoting their talents, but you'll need to be your own biggest champion when pitching to potential investors and clients. There's no place for false modesty when you are trying to build a business.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
A good mentor should be able to challenge you and scrutinize your suggestions, not just someone that says YES to everything you throw out there.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I'm inspired daily by all of the the amazing women in my life, especially my co-founder Rachel Zoe. She followed her passions and is now one of the most influential forces working in fashion today. A master multi-tasker, she plays the roles of CEO, Mom, Stylist, Designer, and Editor. Proof that if you work hard, have a vision and see it through you will be destined for success.

What do you want DreamDry to accomplish in the next year?
We want to fuel our growth and spread the DreamDry addiction everywhere by continuing to provide an elevated beauty and lifestyle experience via more locations and curated product offerings. Our ultimate goal is to empower as many women as possible to have the confidence to go out and conquer their days looking and feeling more glamorous than ever.