I Tried the Dyson Hair Dryer that NYC Fashion Week Loved. Here's What I Thought

The Dyson demo store takes retail into the 21st century and beyond, just in time to try out the hair dryer that 2018 NYC Fashion Week is loving.

I rarely get this excited about walking into a new store, but the Dyson store experience last week was something totally different. More like a glamorous lab or postmodern museum than just a store, this new shop on Fifth Avenue, from the British inventor and industrial designer James Dyson, sells Dyson’s four main products: its vacuum cleaners, supersonic hair dryers, purification systems and desk lights. In an environment akin to a test kitchen with dance club lighting, I perused the sleek space on Fifth Avenue, moodily lit, displaying its gorgeous tech products on walls or on oversize, gray floor cubes. In the “floor testing area,” you can sample the Dyson vacuums on different squares of floors, using any kind of debris or floor spillage: on one wall, little glass jars hold everything from pet hair to cheerios, allowing you to shake your chosen "spillage" on the floor to see how well the vacuum gobbles it up.

Similarly, you can try out the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer: in the back of the shop, a trained stylist will shampoo and wash your hair and then place you in a salon chair for a blowout, using the hair dryer, which claims spectacularly fast drying time (I timed the session, which came out to 12 minutes to completely dry my past-the-shoulder-length hair, almost half the time it usually takes at home with my own dryer). My hair also came out shiny and sleek, with no product added, another promise of the hair-drying machine (the shampoo and blowout are complimentary, by the wall). I was not the only one impressed with the hair dryer, apparently, since the hair dryer was used at a variety of fashion shows this past February during the 2018 New York Fashion Week. 

Finally, for the icing on the demo cake: To show how the Dyson purification system works, you enter a small room with a computer sitting on a desk and a screen projected on the wall, which describes the air quality in the room. A Dyson employee sprays hairspray directly onto a working purifier to show how quickly the system picks up the odor and foreign element in the air (the screen changed to "poor quality" in a few minutes), and then automatically, the purifier switched into high gear to eliminate the odor: I watched, entranced, as the system went to work and the screen changed from "poor" to "good" quality. You can download the application through your own Wi-Fi at home, therefore being able to check in with the level of air quality in your own home on your computer or laptop while the purification system is on.

On the walls are timelines and mini-stories about Dyson and his various products, including stats on how long it took to get the prototypes right for these machines.

How often have you walked into a store needing some sort of appliance, but just not sure, despite the boasts of your salesperson, if the expensive gadget you are looking at will actually work to your liking once you got it home? The Dyson store has figured out something entrepreneurs should have figured out a long time ago: By empowering a customer to test a product thoroughly before buying leaving the store, they can decide on their own level of satisfaction, not only allowing them to leave certain they bought the right product, but also ending the all-too-familiar syndrome of buyer’s remorse. 

Finally, the beauty of this store is that here is zero pressure to buy anything, so if you are strolling around Midtown, I urge you to go into the store and play! James Dyson is on to something big here.