4 Friends Invested S$3.2M ‘For The Love Of Laundry’
With its quaint wood-paneled exterior tinted in green, For The Love Of Laundry (FTLOL) looks like a typical retro-inspired laundromat in the heart of the central business district.
This laundromat is actually a multi-million dollar business serving clients like Facebook, Julius Baer, Louis Vuitton and Club 21. It also processes over 30,000 textiles per month.
What sets FTLOL apart from other laundromats is that it offers an eco-friendly and sustainable laundry service that uses non-toxic chemicals on your fabrics.
Founded in 2011, this 10-year-old laundromat has quietly expanded to six outlets across Singapore, including high-traffic malls like United Square, One Raffles Place and Asia Square.
With an initial investment of S $ 1.2 million and funding of S $ 2 million, the laundromat has since “become profitable”, according to its founders.
FTLOL is the brainchild of four family friends: Russel Yu, Keiri Okabayashi, Wee Teng Chuen and Wee Teng Wen. The company is now managed by Russel Yu and Elaine Yee, its general manager.
“(We started the business because) at the time the options for laundry services were extremely limited,” the founders explained in a joint interview with Vulcan Post.
“You (find) either a huge commercial chain that focuses on churning volume or an independent store with a limited range of services.”
Sensing the opportunity to develop a new type of laundromat, the four decided to develop what they call a “full-stack” service, offering customers a “seamless drop-to-delivery experience”.
This includes building their own factory to process textiles instead of outsourcing.
“It allowed us to introduce the technology into completely new processes in the local market (but) because there was no precedent, there was a pretty steep learning curve at the start”, explain the founders.
FTLOL’s key technology is GreenEarth, a toxin-free liquid silicone commercial laundry technology. It is a better alternative to Perc (perchlorethylene), a chemical cleaner widely used in laundromats and household detergents.
Perc has been shown to cause skin irritation and cancer with prolonged use and has been banned in countries like France, Denmark, and some US states.
Despite the dangers of using Perc, its price and effectiveness have popularized the solvent since its discovery in the 1930s, according to the founders of FTLOL.
“As new studies are conducted and information is uncovered, people are starting to realize that the cost savings associated with using Perc do not outweigh its negative impact on our health. , our clothes and our environment. ”
In addition to being non-toxic, GreenEarth is also better for clothing. All-natural silicone “gently rejuvenates the most delicate fabrics, making your clothes cleaner, more beautiful and more durable,” say the founders.
“It is our responsibility to keep our customers’ favorite outfits so they can be worn over and over again instead of being thrown away.”
A 21st century laundromat
There has been an increase in environmental awareness since the turn of the century as people actively turn to service providers that echo their values, observe the founders of FTLOL.
“The shift to mindfulness and conscious consumption has also influenced the behavior of consumers to buy less and buy better. Growing demand and inbound traffic from repeat customers (led to expansion). “
FTLOL has opened stores in high traffic residential and commercial areas close to their target audience segments, prioritizing road-accessible locations for their customers to transfer laundry loads.
In line with sustainability efforts, FTLOL also has a hanger return initiative that reduces waste and raises five cents for each hanger returned for the Cambodian Children’s Fund.
Home pickup and delivery services have also gained popularity thanks to Covid-19, according to the founders.
In addition, new sources of income in cleaning household textiles and leather goods have emerged.
FTLOL has also developed an online platform to streamline reservation and fleet management processes.
To promote scalability, the team seeks to improve its HR, quality control processes and technology.
Their end goal is to establish themselves as a “one stop shop for all cleaning needs of the modern conscious customer”.
Featured Image Credit: FTLOL
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