Our start-up of the week is Laundrie, a dry cleaning and laundry on-demand app launched in Dublin and rolling out nationwide in 2016. The smartphone service will allow users to get their suits and jackets cleaned with just a few clicks.
Laundrie was developed by a young Irish entrepreneur, Evan Gray, who spotted an opportunity in the market for such a convenient service. People’s lives are becoming increasingly busy and, therefore, they are looking for ways to save time and hassle. Consumer demand encourages services to evolve and adapt to shopper’s needs and these insights brought about the development of the unique service of Laundrie.
This premium dry-cleaning and laundry service collects and delivers directly to the customer, with a 48-hour turnaround time. Laundrie provides free delivery and collection for all orders over €20.
‘People who set up businesses aren’t necessarily the smartest or the best funded or have the greatest idea. They’re the ones who took a risk and did it’
– EVAN GRAY
“Through the Laundrie App we want to change the way dry cleaning and laundry is done,” Gray explains. “A customer simply downloads the app, books a collection and delivery time to suit (up to 10pm anywhere in Dublin), and they receive their clothes back in 48 hours. No more rushing out to make it before 6pm in the evening or having to run down on a Saturday morning only to leave their clothes for over a week.
“People want these tasks in their lives to be straightforward and easy, Laundrie creates that world and makes living a little easier.”
Laundrie is specifically targeting professionals looking for efficiencies in their lives.
“Whether they’re currently using an ironing service or going to the local dry cleaner, Laundrie will improve their experience.
“The current model of a retail location on the high street with a fragmented owner-operator base across the country is greatly improved upon by Laundrie from a consumer and operator point of view. Our operation provides convenience, scalability and competitive pricing, therefore benefitting both the customer and us.
Gray worked in corporate finance at Dell for four years after leaving college where he studied business and law.
“I’ve always been entrepreneurial, he says. “In my house, discussing potential businesses and taking apart current businesses at dinner was the norm.”
A customer downloads the app, then uses it to select what they need to have cleaned, and when and where they need a collection.
They next thing the customer sees is a Laundrie driver who’ll collect their items.
Through the app, they can track the exact process their clothes are going through, right up until they get their clean clothes delivered.
“Ultimately Laundrie wants to play a significant part in dry cleaning/laundry services across Europe. We are working through different go-to-market strategies in order to bring Laundrie to customers in other European cities.”
Customer satisfaction is the best starting point
As Gray points out, in any new business, customer acquisition is a key challenge, particularly for a business where there’s quite a bit of trust involved.
“’Are these guys going to do a good job? Are they going to bring my clothes back’? etc. So this was always a large concern.
“But we’ve been surprised on the uptake going as well as it has. Many customers test Laundrie out, see the great results, and then reorder and give us a larger amount of clothes! The most important thing is our customer retention, which I’m happy to say is very strong.
“We are currently funded for the foreseeable future, however, we will be looking for investment when we proceed with further expansion.”
Gray points out that the biggest challenge so far has been competition. Rocket Internet has just launched ZipJet in Dublin and will no doubt target the same geographies as Laundrie as time goes on.
Nevertheless, Gray has conviction, believes in his technology and accepts competition as the natural order of business.
Just do it
He finds the start-up scene in Dublin to be extremely collaborative and helpful.
“One of the great things about being Irish is the willingness to help each other, whether it’s just sitting down for a coffee or getting more involved in business strategy. It’s so easy to become siloed as a start-up so I believe it’s hugely important to meet others who may be facing issues very similar to my own.”
His advice to other start-ups is to have no fear and at least give it a go. “Just do it, people who set up businesses aren’t necessarily the smartest or the best funded or have the greatest idea. They’re the ones who took a risk and did it. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity because you’ll be waiting a long time.”
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