3. Building a Business And Saving The Planet Down Under With Brand New Laundromat Owner, Toby Dankbaar

From Sydney, Australia, we hear from Toby Dankbaar about the start of his adventure in the laundromat industry. With a focus toward being eco-friendly from start to finish, Toby shares the carefully crafted vision he has for his blossoming laundromat and the inspiration behind that vision. Be prepared to be inspired by this upstart who is raising the bar in the laundromat industry.

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Episode Transcript

all right I’m not gonna hold the
suspense any longer let’s go down to
Australia and bring in Toby all right
we’re here with Toby Toby thank you so
much for being on the laundromat
resource podcast we’re excited that
you’re here today thanks Joan yeah
really excited to be here as well and
yeah can’t wait to uh to share our story
with whoever’s listening yeah what we
can’t wait to hear it and but before we
kind of get jumped into what you’re
doing right now because you have a
really interesting business model and a
really interesting thing that you’re
doing and but before we get into that I
would love for you to just share with us
a little bit about who you are and how
you got into the laundromat industry
sounds good
I grew up in in Sydney Australia I spent
all my high school years here and then
actually was fortunate enough to head
over to the u.s. to Seattle um got a
scholarship on the rowing team that so
spent some time in the States came back
and did my masters in Sydney and then
landed in Hong Kong for four years as a
rowing coach so definitely if there was
a word to describe me it’s will travel
and yeah sort of had a really unique
opportunity to explore parts of the
world and make lots of great people and
then in terms of the story of how I yeah
got until laundromat ownership would be
bit about two years ago one of my
friends are now business partner and
sort of approached me with the concept
of modern laundry and his parents were
visiting from from Spain visiting in
there in Sydney for his wedding and they
stayed in will the Malou slash Potts
Point area where we have our lawn about
now and they stayed in an Airbnb which
didn’t have laundry so they had to use
one of the local laundromats and they
did yeah they just said to Carlos why is
everything so nice in Sydney but then
when suppose the laundromat we you know
there was some friction in the
experience so yeah just got in I’m
thinking about
I am and so that he did some initial
research and then given my background in
marketing and sort of retail and and
branding he he approached me and we sort
of went from there yeah that’s that’s
pretty funny that you say that because I
think that that’s kind of a universal
experience for a lot of people with you
know in laundromats where you can be in
the nicest areas and for whatever reason
there’s just so many laundromats that
are so rundown and old and dingy so
that’s pretty funny
but yeah good on you guys for finding
that problem and figuring out a solution
to it
yeah thanks fanny I think yeah there’s
definitely we hope that what we’ve kind
of we’re three weeks into into into our
business now in terms of opening the
doors to the public and the response has
been great so far but yeah just hope
that you know we have sort of met I made
in the market and that what we’ve
presented is uh is something yes I think
that you know table boats want to use
and will advocate for and get a really
good experience with some we’re excited
so cool looking me can you tell me a
little bit about how the process of
actually getting to that point three
weeks ago were you open the doors how
did you get to that point from idea a
couple years ago all the way to throwing
those doors open a few weeks ago yeah
we’d love to share it we we both kept
our full-time jobs so it meant that that
hence why it was sort of a two-year
yeah just meeting you know started with
meeting at least once a week sort of
going over how we wanted to I guess what
would be our vision for a modern laundry
how we wanted to approach the business
you know what sort of experience we
would want if we would together have a
need to use a laundromat you know given
that you know if we were residents it
would normally be that you either had no
internal laundry or or a shared laundry
which is the case in in the suburb that
we’re based in or the community and then
also if we were traveling and there’s a
big backer and tourists sort of
population in this area people traveling
through people staying in the local
backpackers and hotels given its
proximity to Sydney CBD so yeah just
really I guess meeting frequently
sharing ideas speaking with other people
that we then you in the industry or that
worked in the industry reaching out to
our network and sort of you know I guess
when you have an idea then it’s like you
know well is it’s you know as a business
model viable is this something we want
to be doing we’re passionate about
laundry yeah and I guess all the things
that sort of come with that initial
phase and then once we sort of made up
our mind that we that we really wanted
to give this you know and have the
confidence that we could give this a
crap yeah sort of meant more frequently
started to set up a company I guess you
know a lot of people say during the
process I don’t share your ideas because
someone will just copy you and then when
you set up a business you realize well
actually there’s a lot that goes into to
you know being able to swing the doors
open and so I’d get for me saying you
know don’t be afraid to to share things
in you know ask for help and although
the pipes
because you know an idea it’s just an
idea it’s what you do with it so yeah I
love that too
because you know we’re talking before we
hit the record button but there’s such a
scarcity mindset in the laundromat
industry and you know you made the great
point that you know of all businesses
laundromats don’t need to have a
scarcity mindset because it’s a
necessity it’s one of the the main needs
that people have and and we all benefit
when we you know share those ideas and
and learn from each other and so I love
that I think that’s great yeah I guess
yeah we want to sort of advocating push
push more for that note on the mean
within the law tomato industry but sort
of you know across across the industry
and sector as well so absolutely so you
kind of went through and and you know
created essentially created a business
model that you wanted to work you know
work towards and yeah process of
creating the actual business which is
you know not necessarily the funnest
part of the deal but how did you how did
you decide if it was a good business
model or not you mentioned you know
trying to figure that out did you just
through talking with people or did you
do any specific market research or did
you just yeah how’d you do that
yeah I was a combination definitely I
think both my business partner and I and
our network have you know either
know people that have run their own
businesses or are involved in high
levels within organizations both sort of
big corporates and and small businesses
the other process was mostly through
initially I guess a lot of talking with
people and then also doing a lot of
market research in in the area that we
sort of thought there was the most need
in terms of population density you know
as I said people with either shared or
no internal laundry that it currently
experience and some friction in their
laundry experience or that sort of
transient a slash tourist
which which which some areas tend to
tend to be so we yeah went around to all
the different laundromats in the area
you know looked at what what service are
offering what was the experience like
the comfort you know what were any of
the pain points what areas did we like
and we also look globally for
inspiration you know which laundries are
are doing it well which kind of have a
clear value proposition which are
communicating you know areas beyond just
you know doing laundry whether it be
something around the environment or you
know comfort or you know just offer it
offering something unique you know a
unique selling proposition that they
might have um whether it be you know
laundry and beer or laundry and coffee
or yeah I can see how people lives
definitely put lots of different spins
to the way they do it but I think you
know if if the idea is started with a
customer in mind then you know that’s
the right way to go about it so uh yeah
that’s sort of where we in terms of
market research of you know just sort of
looking at Euromonitor and different
things around the industry as a whole
and then sort of narrowing down to you
know we as is specifically you know a
self-service laundry for people coming
in off the streets and then we offer a
pickup and delivery service for small
businesses in the area looking after
things like tails – tails that type of
thing so yeah yeah it’s just sort of
again with the businesses in mind seeing
you know the saturation and small
businesses in the area are they using
laundromat so they’re using the big
conglomerates that kind of give you the
textiles and then have a contract with
you to wash those stone yeah just just
really sort of I guess because having
one laundry which we do at the moment
but hopefully more is quite localized
and specific to an area and you know
kinda need to be in there and we were at
least coming
the area we don’t live in the area but
we will come into there at least once or
twice a week just to come and sit and
understand you know what are the needs
of its community as far as their their
laundry yeah okay so you thought it was
a good idea and you kind of set it up so
did you guys build it from the ground up
did you buy an existing one and renovate
it how did that all work out we built it
from the ground up yeah so we we kind of
looked at you know is there any
franchise type model out there that you
know is hitting the mark we couldn’t
find any not that we wanted to do that
but we just thought it’d be worth sort
of looking and yes since I guess you
know as you said a lot of the
laundromats that you see are maybe not
updated but just kind of have been there
existing for a while we yeah just said
look let’s but to put our mindset to
building us from the ground up doing it
the way we want to do it and being in
control of you know the decisions that
we want to make so everything from
finding I’m a commercial lease the space
to setting up the company to finding you
know the the equipment so the washers
and dryers we wanted to use the pump
system detergent yeah pretty much every
decision came came down to the two of us
it was just sort of methodically
thinking through I’m starting with a
customer what end it was the end
experience we wanted to be and then
working backwards from that as far as
you know how we you know source
different things and had different
conversations and it was strange because
often we found a lot of the questions we
were asking some of the either the
suppliers or people that in the industry
hadn’t really heard before or they would
quite often say like you know but here’s
the way it’s currently being done but
often we were sort of like well
I think you know for the customer this
can this can definitely be rethought and
sort of reimagine sir that’s the way we
went about it
yeah that’s awesome I I love that I love
that you’re injecting sort of fresh
ideas and fresh just ways of looking at
you know I run in a laundromat
I think that’s needed in our industry
and I think that’s a you know I think
that’s a way the way forward
you know it’s moving move in that
direction what are some of the what are
some of those things that you consider
you know maybe a little more unique to
your laundromat I know you have a unique
sort of premise maybe you can tell us a
little bit about you know about your
laundromat your specific laundromat and
what your you know the idea behind it is
of course yeah so I guess it all starts
with our vision so almost from session
one we probably jot it down maybe ten or
so key points that we thought was the
way we wanted to do things so our vision
is that with the planet at the heart of
every decision we make we wanted to be
the company that this understands and
satisfies and the laundry needs of the
community that we’re in so that sort of
with their vision that sort of
determined the way that we set things up
so I guess in terms of the environment
part we yeah just look to do things or
what we thought at the time you know
would be you know the best for the
planet so everything from the
plant-based biodegradable detergent that
we’re using the way that with our
supplier of that detergent we’re able to
send back the can the drums that they
come in to be washed out and refilled so
there’s a nice life cycle around that
very calmly if the efficiency of the
health and machinery that we’re using so
we’re using the quantum touch line from
from Speed Queen so you know the ability
to dose the right amount of water based
on the cycle that people are choosing
you know the option you know for people
to you know
OPFOR for cold what should they want and
still get a really good a good clean
given that about 70% of our a washes
energy consumption goes to heating the
water um so yeah just really freak me
around you know what I guess in my own
laundry use and also my business
partners we kind of we were just in our
home watching just doing what we’ve been
shown by our parents which was kind of
just throw unsure can they go in with
your stuff she was hot water cuz you
know choose boiling hot water because
that’s gonna get everything clean you
know don’t mix your colors and whites
throwing a ton of softener all that type
of stuff that we just said like well is
it needed and then we went back to like
testing it ourselves seeing who was
doing you know best practices to who was
getting a great result without you know
really putting hush chemicals into into
our water system will we being honest
about the result you know in terms of
this is really getting things clean you
know so they’re here efficiency of the
washers and dryers was big but also in
terms of uniqueness around the
experience for the customer I guess they
keep coming back to that because that
was sort of always where we based the
decision we made and we say well if we
want to best understand and satisfy the
Nets the laundry needs of of a committee
then we need to start with the customers
in all the people in that community so
hence you know things like we’ve made
our model completely completely cashless
because Australia is one of the fastest
adopters of of cashes payments so
everyone was always saying you know oh
we loves it or we hate carrying paid
needing to change coins or carry coins
yeah and also we’ve got a pump system
which the means that no one needs to
bring any of their own detergent to our
so our laundry so it’s sort of its
adding convenience for travelers because
they don’t you know they’re gonna be
here for a few days they don’t want to
buy a big jug of
liquidus they’re only gonna use it once
or twice and also the benefit of you
know I guess less plastic in in the
going to landfill just based on the fact
that you know we’re we’re providing the
surgeon complimentary with each wash
so yeah just things around that
convenience that speed really sinking
through each part of the customer
journey whether that be before they
arrive being able to look on the website
and see the statuses machines you know
how many being used how long left in
each cycle through to once they arrive
you know sort of quickly stating you
know how to use the machines a
touchscreen yeah just keeping it super
simple but really effective at getting
your clothes clean and then draw a few
choose – yeah that man I think that’s
awesome I I love you know first of all
thank you on my behalf for my kids and
you know for doing your part and making
sure that you know the earth is gonna be
around and in good shape for them and
grandkids and stuff I just I think that
that’s huge I would love for Milan med
industry to be thinking the same way and
it sounds like you know what you’re
doing it would be a good model for
people who are building new laundromats
to to kind of take a look at and you
know to utilize in their and their
builds to because you know not only is
it you know great for the environment
and a great customer experience but it
you know the convenience factor of not
having to bring your own detergent not
worry about that and you know having the
you know system you know is awesome for
the customer but it’s also awesome
for you I would assume you’re not
collecting all those coins and
definitely yeah yeah no it actually it
means that everything fades into kind of
an insights platform that we have real
time data on you know how many turns per
day exactly how much revenue you know we
can even start to factor in
we haven’t got our first water gas and
electricity bills yet but once we do we
can factor in you know basically have an
average cost per cycle in each machine
and work out exactly you know how much
you know see katfoe live basically how
much are we spending and how much how
much we’re bringing in plus the benefit
of you know things like maintenance
which machines are being used more
frequently so you can you know we can
move washer one into position three and
that one gets a little bit more use to
kind of keep you know keep maintenance
down low you know things like cleaning
out limb filters more regularly based on
you know how often the closest dryer to
the the washer is getting used which is
tends to be right now that the most is
our our experience as kind of as you
come in it’s sort of it’s a square shape
so it’s wash on the right and then dry
sort of in the middle directly in front
of you and then there’s like a relaxed
sort of chill-out zone with charging
ports and free Wi-Fi and complimentary
filtered water and reading material and
stuff like that on there on the left so
it tends to be that the dryers right
sort of first in line as you get to the
drawing station are the ones that are
used most frequently but yeah great to
be able to learn to see that stuff based
on being completely yeah completely
cashless as you said yeah I love that
good right now in my laundromats
I’m having an I’m I’m getting a lot of
that data but I’m having to use
spreadsheets to do and it’s just not the
most convenient you know I’m I’m
chomping at the bit to get you know just
that data a little more precise and a
little more easily consumed than
spreading definitely yeah this we all
look at too many spreadsheets already
happy to share some some information on
well we’re currently using you know
after this and then um yes II see your
favorite isn’t something that you can
implement for your business yeah so yeah
I love that well I want to hear about
some of the numbers but real quick
before we get into you know I know your
your laundromats to you and it’s you
know it’s kind of fun to see you know
one just blossoming and to see how it’s
doing in your how it’s doing and what uh
which can go in well and what you know
what’s been a struggle or or just
different than you expected but before
we get into that I just I’m curious as
to what you know for over the last few
weeks that you’ve been open what what is
your workweek look like and what do you
kind of anticipate it looking like down
the road yeah good question so we with
both but both my business partner and I
have been here a fair bit and then so
it’s just sort of that was always in our
minds because even though we want you
know the model to be mostly cell service
we thought that definitely with
something quite new and modern they
needed to be a bit of an education phase
on you know mm-hmm everything from
usability of the touchscreen to you know
just being here to learn really was was
sort of what what we said you know like
the first year is just for us is going
to be a lot of learning and you know
improving and you know we definitely
went into this with souls what you know
in the startup world you call a bit like
a Minimum Viable Product know meaning
that we hadn’t you know refined or got
as close to what we thought we wanted
from the start but just that we knew we
were going to be constantly you know
getting feedback and proving on
everything from you know the touch
screens to the experience but yeah I’d
say you know it’s been long long days
both being you know observing customers
in the shop while being kind of a host
so you know people come in we would show
them how to use the touchscreen you know
educate them on the model if it was
their first time in here
that’s proved to be I think you know a
big part of white people have sort of
advocated and and spread word of mouth
because of our willingness to kind of or
just openness to sort of you know I’m
eager to show people how to use the
machines and remove that you know I
always felt like when I went into a
laundromat that oh if it was my first
time there I was a bit unsure on you
know you know which machine to use what
to do you know am i welcome in here is
this like is this fun for customers or
for them to use for their air B&B ease
or whatever they’re doing so it’s just
nice to kind of have someone there to
sort of talk you through it on the first
one and then we’ve also left left on
some days it completely self-service we
have the ability just to lock all the
areas that are sort of either back of
house or a retail sustainable retail
away and and observe as people come in
and it was been funny to see like the
shift in people that have used it a few
times actually start to educate yes as
soon as that come in for the first time
you just do yeah just really love to
survey was great to see that you know we
were just we’ve got we can we sort of
got CCTV cameras that can monitor the
shop but it’s more so been just not a
security thing but actually just seeing
how people move around the space and
talk with each other and you know share
information and so yeah it has been long
hours to start probably 60 70 hour weeks
on average but we do see that shifting
as we a vision for what for what we’re
doing as owners is more towards my
business finer and I are more managing
corporate you know pick up a new
delivery service for gyms and cafes and
salons in the area plus other small
businesses and then so that’s fun of
will be our focus if we’re actually
physically in the shop you know and also
being hosts as people come in during
those hours but then for the models to
be shuttle service for a majority of the
the other parts of the day so it’s
exciting to ya to be able to get to that
point the harder we work now the the
quick so you know we can get to that
point and yeah I think because of my
business partner Carlos his experience
with his wife owns a owns a really
successful patisserie and floristry I
mean close by actually in woolum islands
where we are in Potts Point and just
hearing her not so much struggles but
you know the fact that as owners they’re
quite operationally involved in as you
can imagine
the preparation of the desserts and the
pastry part but also what goes into the
flowers so that the first few years you
know it was it was difficult to manage
the other parts of your business which
you know you really need to focus on if
you’re gonna grow and so yeah we had
that that in mind quite early that you
know we said as much as we’d love to be
you know uh you know take bag drops and
do people’s laundry and and be there all
the time we also said well if we’re
gonna really you know with a mission
with a vision of you know spreading this
to the the areas that need it and making
you know if we’re gonna really truly
make an impact on laundered being more
sustainable than we need to be in more
than one location so how do we free up
our time to you know look at look for
site to do the marketing talk to
businesses and yeah just just running
grow our business based on having the
time and the resources to be able to do
that yeah yeah that’s yeah that’s sort
of a Phase two of you know well it kind
of leads to the next question is you
alluded to the fact that you’re hoping
to get more so as what’s your what
direction are you heading towards in the
future what what are you hoping you know
you’re hoping to get more you hoping to
get a lot more or yeah what’s your
current so we saw those yeah now it’s
broke it down into sort of short medium
and long term without being too specific
I think we definitely have have goals
and you know our objectives to meet
those goals but we didn’t want to I
guess we just sort of said like let’s
make this a little bit more organic and
you know this isn’t just a you know 5 or
10 year thing and then we’re done it’s
it’s sort of more as I guess an endless
game even that’s them you know this just
can go as long or as short as we wanted
to but let’s um let’s I guess our short
term is to have to have to within we
want to have our second location open by
uh by the end of the year that’s sort of
a big performance at the moment yeah and
then I guess we’re looking to have four
or five and the next sort of probably
five years probably four in the next
five years would be great and then yeah
from there I guess we’ve also talked the
opportunity of even doing more of our
own or potentially looking at something
like a licensing model to allow us to
spread this to more areas than made oh
very cool i like i like that i like that
it’s uh you know it’s big goals but it’s
those are those are all very attainable
goals I feel like so I I think you might
even find that you know after you get a
couple under your belt and you really
learn it all it might accelerate even
more quickly than you’re expecting so
yeah that’d be great yeah that’d be a
nonsense nice thing to have I think yeah
well I guess you know with my background
in retail as well I can against them
also same when that hasn’t gone so well
so here we’re not Lee make sure that
we’re you know it isn’t just growth for
growth’s sake but we’re really we’re
ready to grow and that we’re going for
the right reasons I think that want to
be the determining factor yeah so smart
well I mean it sounds like you’re doing
everything real smart so let’s let’s get
down to business
now I know your your laundromat is is
freshly opened and so we’ll just kind of
keep that in mind but just get it you
curiosity let’s let’s learn a little bit
about your laundromat so you said you’re
in Sydney right is that that’s right
yeah so we’re in Potts Point which is
about maybe a 10-minute walk to the
Sydney CBD five minutes by train it’s
right near the famous Kings Cross um
area and yeah great area really awesome
community like a lot of the residents
are being very supportive a lot of the
small businesses you know or coming by
to say hello and wish us the best and
you know offer extend you know an invite
to different things and you know to let
them know if they can help in any way
things like that so yeah it’s a cool
area very her to go to be in this
community yeah that’s that’s awesome I
love that the businesses are supportive
in the area so you have one right now
with hopes of another one by the end of
the year right and did you did you lease
the space or did you buy the real estate
we laced the spice and then it actually
it turned out that our landlord became
our builder oh yeah
he actually has his own construction
company so and does retail fit out so
yeah it’s it’s kind of we had them its
benefits in that and kind of working
towards the same goal and envision which
is yeah well I guess yeah very blessed
to have that opportunity to to partner
together on that yeah whenever you can
kind of align your interests with the
landlord’s interest that’s a that’s a
good thing so what what are you charging
for for your washes yeah we’re gonna be
going on Aussie prices here we it starts
we start our smallest washer is 9.5
kilograms so probably a little bit
bigger than actually most laundromats
in this area that they normally start
you know around that sort of some of
them have a for you know three to four
killer machine and then sort of ranging
up to maybe a seven or eight and then
their biggest might be a ten so we
started started with the sort of higher
age so for nine point five killers
including our premium detergent it’s
seven dollars fifty we then have a
fourteen kilogram machine which is 12
dollars 18 kilogram machine which is
fifteen dollars we then have our two
sizes of dryer to support the relate
relating washers so 14 kilogram washer
is $7.50 which would still testing and
playing around with the timing there and
then our 20 killer machine is um is ten
dollars and that’s sort of so we’ve got
three of the nine point five watches two
of the 14 kilogram washers one of the 18
so quite a small but we’re just
operating in er about a 42 meter squared
space a lot smaller than the typical big
Mecca laundries in in the States
yeah and they’re now here what the Big
Lots of lobster names yeah yeah yes so
we actually we went we stripped that
right back and just said let’s make what
we do more efficient and kind of
incentivize people to keep things moving
through the process and then we have for
the 40 kilo gram dryers and two of the
20 to support both the 18 for the gram
washer and that some of the 14 sort of
the more heavily loaded 14 yeah washes
as well so yeah twelve twelve machines
in total currently just because of the
way that our card reader has been set up
we’re not able to sort of offer a like
multi ven type price where say you add
some extra an extra rinse or sanitize
you know able to adjust the single pulse
amount on the card reader but that’s in
development of another
we have to be able to you know look at
different ways to to price based on
just to meet our customers where they
are but also yeah just I guess a lot of
that for us has been just communicating
up our value proposition given that we
are you know I guess slightly more than
competitors in the area but then when
we’ve broken it down sort of price
particular it becomes a lot more
comparable so that sometimes just have
been a bit it’s an easier way for a you
know potential customers to understand
what they’re getting you know the value
they’re getting rather than just looking
it at the price yeah yeah I’m gonna be
honest with you I have no frame of
reference for anything you just said I
have to go do research because I don’t
know what a kilogram is and I don’t know
what in honesty dollars worth and I
don’t know what a square metre is so you
just give me much you won’t video anyone
but yeah I guess we’re definitely
probably slightly higher than
competitors in the area and in the
what oh you know we think what we what
we’re offering is definitely worth it
worth the value that we’re providing and
given that we you know we do see such a
range of you know resonance that might
live in the area that given us proximity
of the city you know have a fair bit of
disposable income to someone that’s just
backpacking you know eighteen years old
they’ve come from bleonard from Europe
and you know they might just be looking
at at bottom dollar but you know if you
are able to kind of communicate your
value in that limited time that you have
their attention you know often that you
know we’ve seen that yeah people have
just made the choice to want to get
their clothes either a little bit
cleaner because of you know the more
modern equipment the premium detergent a
more relaxed atmosphere somewhere to sit
somewhere to use Wi-Fi all those little
things you know custom and how they come
to their purchasing decision so I mean I
probably mean why do the main challenges
for us is just that value proposition
which I think you know if I was to say
one or you know or to give all takeaways
would be yeah making sure that you know
you’re constantly working on what value
you’re providing rather than just
looking at you know lowest price right
all the time I think that’s the spot to
be – I think being slightly higher than
other people but offering significantly
more value like you’re new and I think I
think that’s a sweet spot and it’s gonna
serve you well in the long run so kudos
to you yeah so you’re right yeah you may
not know this yet but do you have any
feel of how many turns per day you’re
doing yeah I’ve seen
because of that insights platforms we
have really a very nice Lea got a yes
sir last week which was our third week
we did three point two turns per machine
per day which is actually yeah like we
thought we’d be at that mark by about
months for so huh a little ahead of our
projections and that was purely
self-service so that wasn’t that wasn’t
any of the corporate like we’ve got for
corporate clients that we that we
service currently a couple cafes and a
massage place and speaking with the gym
today which is exciting but we yeah
three point two turns which was about an
a hundred percent increase on the week
before in terms of in terms of revenue
so yeah going the right way you keep it
at eight hundred percent a week growth
and you’re gonna be in good shape in no
time that’s right yeah
but it’s good I guess it’s been good for
us to say that you know we were I guess
quite conservative in in our projections
and that way it sort of been hitting
them or meeting them nearly every day
like so I can guess yeah it’s it’s a
good place to be in financially and for
your cash flow when you I guess you know
made sure that you’ve got enough money
there to to support both you know your
growth but also just you know fixed and
variable cost that you’ll that you’ll
incur some yeah yeah good okay so right
now you and your partner are attending
it is that correct that’s right yep so
we are
splitting our time sort of half days and
sometimes we both stay the full day but
we are also leaving you know to see
other sites and to have meetings and to
just you know we just go for a walk to
talk to businesses attended probably
half of the day and then unattended the
other house at the moment
and we just kind of base that on like
you know where we’ve seen there’s quiet
times you know we’ve been just sometimes
sit back of house you know answering
emails creating you know delivering our
marketing campaigns reaching out sir you
know building our CRM or customer
relationship management tool to you know
reach out to the businesses that we want
to be speaking with um you know
proactively and understanding what are
their needs and were they currently
using and what was our last interaction
with them you know it does all take care
it all takes time and then energy to do
that so that was why we said you know
let’s that’s nice it would be just to
make as much revenue as possible to have
stepping back and away from it a little
bit to focus on other is in the long run
gonna be the way to go
yeah are you guys doing any like online
advertising or we’re offline advertising
not really wouldn’t say advertising
definitely marketing like we’re not
spending anything online we are actively
looking and I guess my background in
marketing has been executing you know
marketing campaigns from social media so
we’re on Instagram Facebook LinkedIn
anywhere where our customers gonna be
gonna be and wanting to connect with the
brands that they buy from or learn from
or educate you know we said mm-hmm that
we didn’t just want to market or engage
people at the moment of them you know
you can’t or not you can’t but our
approach wasn’t that we want to just
tell people to buy from us all the time
we want to provide value early on in
their you know in their customer journey
I guess for laundry customer journey is
ongoing so we wanted to you know someone
looks up a blog on how to wash more
sustainably they might find our content
they might learn a little bit about us
while we’re doing you know what
detergent were using you know settings
for your washer and dryer
that type of thing but we’re also you
know we’ve got a Google my business page
and that we’re constantly updating we’ve
got some flyers that we printed on on
recycled paper that you know we made
specific to the promotion of Your Honor
to run so we ran like a little opening
promotion where we incentivize people to
download our speed queen speed queen app
which then connects with our store which
is our loyalty program so we offer our
customers our loyal customers every
seventy-five dollars they spend they get
10% of that back to used towards a
complimentary washer or dryer
nice but the the apples so I’m axel
zinnias for the laundry if they want to
leave they get they can look on the app
and see exactly how long on their wash
is left or their dry they could go and
get a coffee and then get a text message
or email saying your laundry we’re ready
in four minutes head back to a lab to to
keep moving it through the cycle and so
convenience for the customer ease of use
you can look in the app and see which
machines are being used before you come
down to see if it’s a busy or quiet time
to come you can also yeah just lots of
benefits in the app you can preload your
account with credit there so you just as
soon as you get there connect with a
washer pay for it right there and then
and put your things in and off you go so
that’s awesome Olivia
we definitely said you know what we had
the benefit of the app has been
developed by Speed Queen we definitely
said we don’t just want an app for an
app sake or because you know we get data
it was more just the data is a nice
benefit of of this because as they sign
up they need to put in their name and
email phone number and all that good
stuff that eventually when we do have
value to offer them whether it be an
invite to or the events that we run we
run like we’re gonna run some
sustainably focused events in our space
we’re local artists with local
businesses – yeah – just share stories
on what they might be doing a particular
industry or how they’re living a more
eco-friendly or you know eco-friendly
lifestyle and things like that you know
when we come out with new blog content
if they’ve read before they you know
we’ve got a place where they can
subscribe and get more of that yeah all
that type of stuff it’s just less
transactional and more more just in a
brand that people associate think of
when they haven’t need to do their
laundry I love all of that
I love I think I think what you guys are
doing is so cool just on on multiple
you know from building it from the
ground up was that scary by the way
building that thing from the ground up
never done it before and you know doing
things a little bit differently than
what you’ve seen around and seems scary
yeah I think there was some that’s
definitely always I guess with any
business probably gonna be severe
associated for both my business partner
and I this was a first venture into the
entrepreneurial world so there was
definitely that fear but then yeah
building something that you know I guess
a lot of the initial research and things
we’ve done you’re just gonna be based on
assumptions right like you can never
fully know that there’s that made there
until you’re open and even though
someone might you know take one of your
questionnaires and say that yes you know
they’re experiencing but when they get
to their shared laundry it’s always full
and people have left powder on the floor
and the machines are older you know but
now we’re actually so yeah there was the
fear but now it’s nice to see that you
know I guess if you have spent their
time really doing it the right way and
thinking about it the right way that you
know we’re hearing a lot of these
stories now come up you know at real
evidence of people that have said you
know ah my building just got top-loaders
and put something in and it ripped up my
cashmere thing and and Here I am like
I’m just gonna it’s easy
to me they come here and know that I can
get a good wash quality sir
no it was interesting to hear that like
even some of our assumptions that were
like no one’s gonna walk more than 500
meters to do their laundry whereas we’ve
had people come from like suburbs it
might be five ten kilometers away just
because they found us on Google and we
had our hours updated simple things like
that that you’ll have Wow like who knew
right to tell you there but yeah I’d say
so definitely don’t be turned off by the
fear just let it motivate you to really
put the time in to do the right type of
research and investigative work to be
confirmed in in your assumptions and
then when you do have a chance to test
it you know make sure that you do it and
then improve your experience yeah very
very lean startup of you I love it
it’s great yeah yeah well actually yeah
that uh is it Dan I think his book yeah
the way I did it I was actually read
that the whole the whole faith so we did
take a lot of that Lean Startup approach
which is sort of built on sort of
Japanese manufacturing model through – I
guess we thought about laundry is a
start-up and less of just starting a lot
of romant business if that makes sense
yeah I love everything you’re saying is
just resonating with me I love the witty
you’re just you guys this mindset is you
know coming into it and how you’re
thinking about everything and I I don’t
know I just I think you’re destined to
be you know going like gangbusters in no
time like you like you are already so
this this little segment I like to call
the secret sauce
what I want to know from you is you know
and you know taking into account it’s
early still but what’s something that
you found is is really working well for
you that other owners could implement in
their business and see good results you
know in their business too I think for
us it’s being
it’s been having having a purpose if
that makes sense so as I said from from
early on we sort of said like you know
this isn’t you know are we gonna be
just by hopefully or just by it you know
the thought of making lots of money
which is you know you do need a business
stopper right but we also just said you
know having that purpose those you know
delivering on our vision of being better
for the planet but also you know really
looking to understand the laundry needs
of your customer has just as least for
me I can’t speak for colors but I know
he feels he feels the same way it’s
given ya just that extra bit of
motivation and and like a self purpose
if you will so like not just a purpose
for the business but something in my own
life so that I you know when um when I
might be sitting there at 11 p.m. when
my wife’s and baby have gone to bed and
you know I could easily fall asleep
because I’ve had a long day you know I’m
there looking through you know the big
corporation website be called being like
a they’re a not-for-profit that helps
for-profit businesses balance purpose
with profit so they come in and you do a
self-assessment and then they come in
independently verify you based on your
social and environmental performance and
then give you the certificate and I
think there’s about three and a half
thousand brands globally now that a part
of this fecal but yeah just having that
purpose that gives you that little bit
of motivation you know I’m getting up at
about 5:00 a.m. at the moment to make
the hour bus ride into into the lab each
morning and yeah having that purpose as
well this isn’t just like a money-making
process for us and hopefully comes too
but it’s it’s something a little bit
more and just hearing yeah now hearing
the feedback from customers and
educating them and seeing their own
habits change that’s well and I didn’t
know that
oh wow that’s in
I didn’t realize that a washer it can be
more effective when it’s a little bit
more full because of you know the
friction between the clothes and the
agitation you know a lot of people tend
to want to put which is strange to see
you like you know people want to spend
more just because they think a bigger
washer is gonna get a a better clean
weather they might think that hot water
is its best or they might think that
they need to you know put a half bleach
or chemical in to remove a stain so it’s
that education and that knowing that
what we’re doing hopefully is both
better for the customer n and the planet
and then you know being able to make a
difference in a bit of a changes that’s
been what’s at least yeah really
motivated and driven us to keep pursuing
that yeah yeah I mean probably getting
sick of hearing me say but I just love
what you’re saying and I think that I
think you’re right I think you know
having a big why a big reason a big
purpose of you know why you’re doing
what you’re doing and you know I think
for a lot of business owners in general
and laundromat owners too it’s it’s easy
to slip into the this is something that
I used to make money and we forget about
the customers we forget about the
importance of you know how we’re doing
things and why we’re doing the things
we’re doing and you know just having
that at the forefront kind of driving
you and motivating you and helping you
you know guiding the decisions you’re
making I think is huge so yeah thanks
for thanks for that secret sauce that’s
that’s a valuable one I like that I want
you to speak to you know you you know
maybe six months ago you know somebody
who’s new who’s maybe an investor or a
business owner who wants to get into the
laundromat industry you have one piece
of advice that you would give to
somebody who’s new or or to yourself you
know six months a year ago
I think what we’ve learned through this
whole process is don’t be afraid to ask
for help both of your networking and
also people that you know might be in a
position or you know where you want to
get to or own a laundry that you see is
operating really well I think at least
for both of us you know at the start we
were you know we were you know maybe the
first few weeks sort of keeping it just
between ourselves and then as we started
to you know realize that well we both
don’t have an accounting background here
we’ve never run a business you know we
just started to realize that you know
this isn’t a burden that you’re putting
on people by asking them for help it’s
actually people people like to help
people get a sense of you know that they
feel reward just as rewarded as you do
when they when they do help and then it
really helps to speed up the process and
thinks through some of these complicated
things it might just be spinning through
your head that would take you a lot
longer to get the answer to if you if
you didn’t reach out to those people and
just the opportunities that it opens up
as well as far as you know partnerships
and exploring different avenues that you
might not have thought of that you know
suddenly become you know really
important parts of your business model
or what you’re doing in terms of
sustainability or thinking about things
a little bit differently or how to
manage your time a little better all
those things so yeah that would be
probably the pro tip that I would share
is you know ask ask your family ask your
friends you’re gonna get a lot of you’re
probably gonna get a lot of people you
know some of them just sort of you know
not being that responsive just because
it is laundry and it doesn’t excite
everyone instead you’ll get a lot of
people that are you know believe in you
and want to see you do well
want to share want to share you know
their thoughts and their
variance would be yeah I think that’s so
good when I first got into the industry
I didn’t really talk to a ton of people
about it and I didn’t really know who to
talk to about it either so I think you
know I yeah I think it’s huge to you
know not go in on it you know on your
own alone for the first time and reach
out to other owners and you know some
some are gonna talk to you and some
won’t and that’s okay uh but but don’t
be afraid to talk to other owners and
other business owners and you know get
that input get that advice especially
for areas that you’re weaker in like
accounting or whatever so awesome yeah
oh man yeah I think like it’s so many
because you realize that so many hats
different hats that you need to wear a
different different points so um you
can’t be expected to be an expert in in
all areas so yeah really
find on the right people who you think
of the right people they might not be
the they might be able to introduce you
to someone who will syndrome and go
after it be persistent as well you know
someone says no the first time doesn’t
mean you know they won’t be receptive
again some yeah I love that
do you have any resources that you would
recommend you know books or blogs or
youtube channels or podcasts or anything
that you would recommend you know that
maybe helped you along your way in
entrepreneurship or investing or
something like that you have anything
that comes to mind
yeah we talked about one earlier so that
was the late startup which is a book on
count remember the author’s name now
there’s also like the work of simon
Sinek and also spoke about him a little
earlier it needs for a great book called
grammar start start with why that is all
around you know really setting ending
the purpose for you and then for for the
business and and how that flows on to
you know and gives you energy for
everything that you and all everything
that you’re doing I’m also a big podcast
man so I quite like oh I doubt this
which is an NPR podcast by a guy Roth’s
and he interviews now big CEOs and and
people that have started businesses
people like brands like Patagonia yeah a
whole range of a whole range of business
owners on there I think he’s gonna grow
maybe 40 50 podcasts but you know
leading entrepreneurs and they just
cover their story on how they started
you know how they how they came up to
the idea what what were their initial
steps to building you know what was
their vision for the company what what
was some of the roadblocks and yeah just
their journey an end story into
awesome ie I’ve keep hearing about that
podcast and I haven’t listened to it yet
so maybe just put me over the edge and
I’ll finally uh listen to him big
podcast guy – so yeah jump off now yeah
they’re nice and I think there’s half an
hour and yeah it’s just it’s it’s
amazing hearing you know these people
without now very successful that went
through a lot of the same challenges
that we’re really facing now I have a
will trace so uh I thought that it was
just yeah it was great to hear that
we’re not alone in this and then even
the biggest friends went through what
we’re going through and then just to
keep keep pushing in and keep working
towards your goal yeah I love that well
last question for me is what’s what’s
the best way for listeners to connect
with you maybe they have questions maybe
they’re interested about the way that
you’re doing business or maybe they just
want to connect with you there down
under down there with you and maybe want
to meet up with you what’s the best way
for them to connect with you perfect
yeah now I’d love to love the
opportunity to meet anyone that and and
speak with anyone that wants to reach
out you can reach me on my email which
is Toby Tod why attack launder lab la um
dr la be calm a you you can also follow
us on instagram which is on the web
underscore official and yeah probably
the two best ways to reach me or connect
with toby dankbaar on lincoln awesome
well Toby it has been awesome having you
on I really appreciate you coming on and
telling us about your journey and wish
you the best of luck and we’re
definitely gonna have to have you back
on for an update here down the road and
and hear how things are going and you
know how many you have in your in your
portfolio by the end of the year thanks
man yeah yeah definitely excited for
this next next little phase of growth
and and what we’re doing it’s really
been good to to reflect
what’s uh yeah I guess what’s happened
so far
and what’s the come but also the chance
to meet you and share some of this with
with other listeners well awesome we
really appreciate you and for laundromat
resource podcast this is Jordan and Toby
and we’re signing off we’ll see you next
week thanks guys stay guts man I told
you it was gonna be awesome I told you
that what they’re doing is very cool
very well-thought-out and just a really
amazing concept I was just struck by how
far down the line they thought in terms
of making this an eco-friendly
sustainable laundromat and not only
wanting to serve their customers the
best that they can and bring the value
like Dave Minze talked about last
weekend show number two but also in you
know doing what’s best for our planet
and doing what’s best for the earth and
so I I just I really love that and it
really inspired me and I’m I’m taking
another look at the way that I’m running
my laundromats and seeing hey what are
some things that I can do what are some
ways that I can just make sure that I’m
doing the best that I can for not just
my customers but also for our planet for
my kids and grandkids when I have them
and your kids to whether you have them
yet or not so big thank you to Toby big
thank you to you guys for sticking
around and listening to this I hope you
pulled something amazing out of this
episode that you can implement your
business or something that inspires you
to keep moving forward towards your
goals whether that be for financial
freedom or whatever it might be I hope
that you felt inspired today and got
something that will help propel you
along that path so thank you again for
listening this is the laundromat
resource podcast show

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