It all began with Yulia Rorstrom, the vision and energy behind Duck & Dry.
Passionate about beauty and entrepreneurship 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.
In 2014 Yulia opened doors to the Duck & Dry’s flagship store where you can enjoy a glass of prosecco, browse through a menu of on-trend blow drys and chic updos or get a trim by a skilfully trained stylist.
Meticulous attention to detail, bright and beautiful interiors, feel-good vibes and a buzzy atmosphere proved an instant success.
With the brand following growing quickly and to meet the needs of the stylists and clients, Yulia developed a range of hair care and styling essentials for a professional blow dry. Dreamt up in London and crafted in Somerset, each product is carefully formulated fusing modern science with natural active ingredients. Delivering results while being kind to your hair, all products exude our signature scent of the wild English meadows for the ultimate Duck & Dry experience.
We are a young and innovative brand with big ambitions so join the flock!
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I actually don’t have a beauty background at all! I left my successful career in finance to become CEO of my own business. Hailing from an entrepreneurial family, I always knew I wanted to establish my own brand one day. It was only after a few trips to the US and Japan where I felt inspired to start my own blow dry brand, as I loved the experience element they had over there. That’s how the idea hatched to create Duck & Dry – which quickly became known as London’s finest blow dry bar.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
After I finished University, I knew I wanted to work in Management Consulting and gain experience and utilise the skills I learnt during my studies, within different sectors whilst also getting involved in high-level projects. But then coming from a family who are immersed in the world of business, I quickly realised that I wanted to set up my own business. So I definitely hadn’t planned to set up a blow dry brand, but it all kind of happened! I identified a niche in the market and set about creating a distinctive brand within the industry.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Establishing and running your own business is an extremely challenging journey. As CEO of a brand, the main challenges involve the daily grind of dealing with various issues, difficult questions, assessing your own successes and failures, as well as seeking new opportunities. Most challenges are encountered during the first 3-5 year initial set up phase.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
I am really proud of what we have achieved with Duck & Dry as a brand – expanding from a single salon, to branching out to multiple locations, creating our own product range, as well as launching our sister brand Duck & Dry Xpress within Primark stores. It is always an amazing feeling utilising opportunities that present themselves and seeing these ideas bloom and flourish.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
In order to see your vision turn into a reality, you must remain persistent and determined. Constantly seeking and implementing new opportunities is key to expanding the business. It is also important to have an agile business model so that you can adapt to the market. But most importantly, the main thing is not to give up when things get tough!
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I have not had the opportunity to mentor someone, however I would definitely be open to doing so or even having my own mentor myself. It is really valuable to have someone to discuss ideas and issues – whether that is with a fellow entrepreneur or someone within the industry. You can get so easily absorbed in the daily grind, that sometimes you need to take a step back and assess yourself and your business with another perspective.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?
As a mother of two young children, it has been really difficult to find good and affordable childcare. I am a strong supporter of women going back to work, but this really needs to be supported by more accessible and affordable childcare solutions. I love being a mother and an entrepreneur, but this could not have been possible without a great full time nanny and amazing family support network to enable me to be available for my demanding role as CEO.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Be patient! Things take a lot longer than you think and that the end result might not be the same as the original plan. So you must be prepared to be flexible, agile and patient.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
We have been really fortunate that Duck & Dry has grown naturally and garnered both client and industry support. However, we are largely London based and are currently working on growing it as a consumer brand both nationally and globally. We are looking forward to putting more resources into developing our services and innovating more cool products very soon.