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Creative Retail Awards nomination

Congratulations to our clients Blow Bar Co for making the Retail Focus Creative Retail Awards' shortlist for their fabulous bar-salon at David Jones Sydney.

The store-in-store bar-salon opened in October 2020 and has been giving it’s clients brilliant blow-dry hairstyles, complete with a glass of champagne in hand.

Leigh Dole, Founder and Director of Blow Bar Co, closed the circle on a life-long dream to see her brand and concept, Blow Bar Co, open in the prestigious David Jones Elizabeth Street flagship store.

When David Jones first approached Leigh with their proposal, she was struck by the yesteryear images of the department store, and it reminded her of early memories of her Mum dressing her up to spend a day shopping in the iconic Elizabeth Street store. They harked back to a time where a trip to David Jones was an outing in itself.

The recent $220m redevelopment of the store has seen it restored back to its original elegance and stature. When David Jones invited Leigh to open a Blow Bar Co on level two, sitting with some of Australia’s most well-known fashion brands, Leigh knew it was the perfect opportunity to see her dream come to fruition.

Although Leigh Dole dreamed up the Blow Bar Co concept six years ago, steadily opening salons across Sydney ever since, opening in partnership with David Jones is the jewel of the Blow Bar crown. Leigh describes the experience: “As both brands strive to deliver an unrivalled retail experience, this partnership is a wonderful way to increase our brand footprint into Sydney’s CBD while offering the David Jones customer a place to enjoy a blow-on-the-go between meetings, or a retreat for those enjoying a leisurely day out with friends.”

Blow Bar Co clients know when they arrive at Australia’s leading department store, David Jones, it’s their time to unfurl, order their favourite drink, and let the Blow Bar Co team do their work. The Blow Bar Co menu consists of the best hair, make-up and lash styling, paired with a top end wine and cheese selection. This combination of glamour and pampering is an exclusive partnership, giving shoppers a unique experience.

Blow Bar Co is a unique concept where clients feel like they’re walking into a bar, but it’s strategically fitted out as a world class blow salon.

Located on level two at David Jones Sydney CBD, Blow Bar Co sits directly opposite Sydney’s leafy Hyde Park. The corner position means clients are immediately met with a priceless view over Sydney, seen from the New York City-inspired bar.

Blow Bar Co-Founder and Director, Leigh Dole, was adamant the David Jones salon had to capitalise on the breathtaking views of the park and surrounds, while maintaining the brand’s overall design integrity.

Leigh’s design brief for retail interior design agency, Lex Design, was simple and focused: “Our clients need to arrive in a space where they’re invited to leave their regular lives at the door and step into a world that is dedicated to them. They need to be immersed in the Blow Bar Co experience, and know when they arrive, it’s time-out during their busy work day, to celebrate their hen’s party or for a well-earned champagne glamour break during their shopping day.”

Lex Design has previously worked with the Blow Bar Co team on previous projects, so they were up to speed with the brand’s strong branding aesthetic. Chris Ballard, Lex’s Design Director, explains the importance of maintaining the balance between bar and salon: “The Blow Bar David Jones salon needed to draw from both sides of the brand’s concept. It was integral that we pulled in the well-known Blow Bar Co look of subway tiles and industrial finishes, and offset it with practical areas that can facilitate hair and beauty treatments.”

Whilst there are multiple unique features throughout the salon, the lasting impression is made by the hero black and white palette, the bold cast-concrete bar, framed against the backdrop of a stunning, Sydney skyline.

Blow Bar David Jones is the fourth store, Founder and Director, Leigh Dole has opened since 2015. Prior to opening Blow Bar Co, Leigh has experience working in leading salons both in Australia and overseas.

With this combined experience, Leigh knows her clients and what they want: “After 16 years of working in the hair and beauty industry, I spotted a gap in the market where women were missing out an opportunity to be together, sit, have a drink, and leave the bar looking better than when they arrived. With every new salon that I open, our unique concept is reaffirmed and our growing business is a testament to that.”

The $220m redevelopment of the David Jones Elizabeth Street flagship store, where the newest Blow Bar Co has opened, has transformed the space into Australia’s leading and most prestigious retailer. With this significant investment front of mind, the Blow Bar Co store design had to tread the balance between maintaining its own brand integrity and complement the distinctive David Jones aesthetic.

The store design delivers this delicate balance and there are many respectful nods to the heritage-listed building’s features, such as the high ceilings and full height sash windows. By making them a focal point, Blow Bar Co clients can sit, enjoy a drink before and after appointments and take in the beautiful surroundings, all whilst frequenting the Blow Bar Co salon.

Layout has also played a key role in the salon’s success, and the hierarchy of brand’s requirements steered the floorplan. Signage, exclusive product lines and the concierge all sit prominently at the front, where they do their best work. From there, the bar extends into the salon, where clients sit, read the menu, and select their preferred style and drink. Toward the windows sits the make-up bar, where the artists capitalise on the natural light that spills through the full-length picture windows. Neatly and privately tucked at the back are the washing areas, where clients can lie back at ease.

To launch the Blow Bar David Jones salon, Blow Bar Co worked extensively with David Jones’ head office to bring the store design vision to life.

Lex Design began working with Blow Bar in 2019, with the creation and launch of the Waverley store. Lex Design specialise in retail interiors and were brought on to the project to provide expertise in floor planning, to optimise retail points and to ensure the Blow Bar Co style was represented throughout the 90sqm tenancy.

As a tenant of David Jones, it was imperative for Blow Bar to feel there was cohesion between the department store and the space they wanted to provide their clients. David Jones invited Blow Bar Co to be a part of the relaunch of the store, so they knew the two luxury brands were complementary to each other.

David Jones General Manager of Beauty, Rachel Duffy-Packer, said the partnership delivered “an exciting and experiential new offering within our stable of the world’s most coveted beauty brands and services”.

“We are delighted to welcome Blow Bar Co to Level 2 of the David Jones Elizabeth Street flagship,”

“Blow Bar Co is a truly innovative proposition and one we believe will resonate with David Jones customers,” she said.


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