By Roxanne Washington The Plain Dealer
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) RevAir (myrevair.com), short for reverse-air, is a new hair drying tool which suctions water from the hair into a tube that resembles the wand of a vacuum cleaner.
With a spouse who has long, naturally curly tresses, Scott Thomason sees the struggle some women endure blow drying and flat ironing their hair into a silky, tamed finish.
“My wife has curly hair, and she would spend an hour or more blow drying and flat ironing it because she just doesn’t like it,” Thomason said of his wife, Tami, who is his business partner.
Nowadays, Tami dries her hair in less than 10 minutes with one hand, no accompanying brush needed, and flat ironing is optional. Why the drastic change?
RevAir (myrevair.com), short for reverse-air, is a new hair drying tool created by Thomason, a mechanical engineer, and his two founding company partners, Kip Cooper and Debra Isaacson.
RevAir is different from traditional blow dryers, which blast heat into the hair and scalp. Instead, RevAir extracts water from the hair through an attachment into a tube that resembles the wand of a vacuum cleaner, simultaneously drying and straightening. The wand can accommodate hair as short as two inches, to as long as six feet. RevAir’s patent is for 20 years.
Even though it’s curly, Thomason’s wife’s hair wasn’t all that motivated Thomason and his partners to create RevAir. The invention came about because of a single father who struggled with creating ponytails for his two daughters.
Cooper, Thomason’s friend and now business partner, was in the United Kingdom visiting his sister, Isaacson. He told Isaacson that when he was raising two daughters, he made ponytails by suctioning all of the strands together with the wand of a vacuum, and then, with a rubber band encircling the tip of the wand, sliding the rubber band on to the gathered hair. Isaacson believed her brother was on to something.
“He (Cooper) called me and said, ‘We should make a device that does this,’” Thomason remembers. “I said, ‘It seems a bit silly, but I can design something quick and we can try it.”
The concept eventually went from a tubular ponytail maker to a suction tool that dries hair.
“But we realized that you couldn’t just take a round tube and suck hair in it because the hair bounces around and it can physically damage the hair and tangle,” Thomason said.
He began prototyping RevAir concepts in his barn in Aurora in 2015.
“It was very difficult, but we finally got it,” he said. “It was one of the hardest design challenges of my life, and I’ve worked on many types of products, including automotive products and medical products. There is a lot involved with bringing consumer electrical products to the market.”
Confident that RevAir would take off, he invested his life savings (he also has investors) into bringing the reverse dryer to the market.
“After having many women test out the original prototypes, we heard time and time again ‘This would change my life,’” said Thomason. “Some women even cried because it was so life-changing for them. We saw the difference RevAir can make, and I felt we had an obligations to bring it to the market.”
RevAir the company was moved from the barn into a cavernous warehouse in Macedonia in January 2018. The dryer hit the market in July 2018.
“We started with 5,000 units in inventory while we began to get the word out and educate the public through ‘influencers,’ including women’s magazines, beauty bloggers on YouTube, and so on,” said Thomason. “We’ve sold about 20,000 units,” he added, but he declined to reveal how much the company has earned.
RevAir dryers retail for $399, with a one-year warranty.
Thomason graduated from Cleveland State University in 1995 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
“I lived at home in Garfield Heights and paid my way through Cleveland State,” he said.
For a time he worked for MTD Products, which makes outdoor power equipment, and the now-closed Picker International, makers of medical equipment. He also was a partner in an engineering consulting company helping other companies design products.
RevAir has about 25 employees. The Thomasons both are 47. Their children, Jake, 20, and Sarah, 17, work in the cavernous shipping and receiving space.
The company has a marketing manager, graphic designer, public relations manager and also works with a digital marketing firm.
RevAir parts are made in Mexico and Greater Cleveland. Assembly and shipping are handled in the warehouse.
RevAir sold out over the holidays, Thomason said. So far the reverse dryer has been snapped up by personal users, not stylists. The company also has a line of hair care products formulated for different hair types and needs.
RevAir uses half the wattage of standard dryers. It seals cuticles, which minimizes frizz. And it’s a two-in-one device in that it dries and straightens hair simultaneously.
RevAir works on all hair textures, from coily to stick straight.
Ladosha Wright and Jamie Press are two professional cosmetologists who have gone from traditional blow dryers to RevAir, they say.
In October, Wright, owner of Reverence hair salon in Cleveland Heights, began using RevAir on her clients, most of whom are African-American, and many of whom wear their hair natural rather than chemically straightened.
“I would say RevAir cuts down on dry time by about 70%,” said Wright.
“You separate the hair into 3-by-3-inch sections, slide the sections into the opening at the end of the wand, and it dries the hair in the natural direction of the cuticle. It helps seal in moisture, and the hair comes out softer and more manageable. We’ve had 100% success. We haven’t had one client who said she didn’t like it.”
The tool even works well on tape-in hair extensions, something that many of Press’ clients have, she added. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.