Further education

2 July 2019

The Guild of Cleaners and Launderers Conference and Exhibition did exactly what it set out to do for committed dry-and wetcleaners – it educated, informed and galvanised


Dry- and wetcleaning operators from around the country were at the Guild of Cleaners and Launderers Conference and Exhibition, held in March at Meriden in the Midlands. There, an impressive list of speakers gathered to deliver information and advice.

Exhibitors engaged delegates in the breaks beween papers with demonstrations of their products and services and there was plenty of interaction between presenters and their audience with some interesting debates and Q&A sessions. Here is a summary of the presentations

Colin Paterson, TFS/Tarheel Training Centre

“A common-sense approach to customers can stop a lot of grief,” said Paterson. “Cover yourself. Take pictures of high value items when you take in. Just like a pre-service inspection on a car, cleaners should be doing the same thing with garments taken across the counter. Don’t let people leave stuff in a plastic bag – you cannot price properly or cover yourself against complaints.”

He went on to alert the audience to the value of Guild services, praising the Guild Amber Alerts that are “a real boon to cleaners”. He also warned of the dangers of mis-labelling by manufacturers and, in the case of retro and vintage items, no labelling at all. “We are seeing more charity shop purchases. Other people’s problems being bought cheaply and brought to you. In vintage clothes, the labels are almost certainly obsolete.”

Leon Wennekes, CINET

“Meet the World’s Most Extraordinary Business in Textile Care; Raising International Standards” (Global Best Practices Awards showcases combined with some major trends in the industry).

Wennekes showcased innovative businesses such as Dobbi powered by Persil which have realised home collection and delivery is the way forward to capture the domestic market. The Amsterdam-based startup is offering a new, digital laundry delivery service where items are picked up, cleaned and returned in 48 hours. Two strategic partners have invested in this promising business model: the natonal postal service, PostNL and Henkel, with its top brand Persil. (The name of the service refers to Dobby, the house elf from Harry Potter, who can only be freed if someone hands him a piece of clothing.)

Dobbi can now be used by all Amsterdam residents, and the service is rolling out in other Dutch cities. Check it out at https://dobbi.com/en/

Also visit CINET’s website www.cinet-online.com where you can order ‘The World of PTC Volume VI: Digitization and E-Commerce, New Businesses & Showcases ITS and RTC’ for more best practice case studies. 

Frank Ziermann, CEO of Böwe

“Textile Cleaning from the European Perspective”

Drycleaning  has come a long way in the nearly 200 years since its invention in Paris, told delegates, but with the appearance of new textiles, solvents and legislation, it is hard to follow for everyone. “New machine technology. Some laws are so stupid. Banning perc is on the cards. Rules are strict, and not universal. For example, in th USA, California, which is banning perc has different rules to other states. We can do fur leather, textiles…but you need more than one solvent for all these – 20 different solvents are used in our machines and every company producing detergent has a solvent.

“It seems that every 4-5 months a new solvent appears. Check it out.., which is why Bowe came up with its Multisolvent machine solution. You can now use all solvents wit out re-tooling. For example, a Bowe perc machine can be modified into a multi solvent machine with a Böwe parts-kit for £37 Euros – you will need an engineer for a couple of days but even so this could save €9k on conversion.

“There is also much-improved solvent consumption covering a ratio of 100k garments/250g solvent. The machines can also dry better with a special drum with perforations making a volume stream which offers short cycle time and low energy consumption.” He invited delegates to the Bowe academy and show room in Germany’s Black Forest area to see for themselves. “Spotting, finishing and so on – play around, find out what is best for you.”

Böwe has also developed a drycleaning machine that kills germs. “I am the first to develop this system and I can tell you the running costs are ‘not too bad’.”

Graham Warren, CEO Caraselle

“Marketing in a Service Industry”

Warren admitted it is all gloom and doom nowadays when it comes to drycleaning shops but “let’s not take that as read,” he said and urged retailers to take their futures into their own hands by changing their mindset. .

“Marketing - its not what you do, it is how you do it. Are we a retail or service industry? I like to think we are retail as we sell face to face. Some staff are smiley and friendly some are not. Your staff must represent you and they need to put over your passion and vision. They must be well trained, motivated and to know what they are talking about.

“I started in retail aged 14 at Marks & Spencer. Retail is everything – you have to sell yourself to the bank, to staff you are recruiting and you have to sell your goods to your customers.

“Drycleaning is on the way down, laundry is on the way up. How many drycleaning units are left in our industry today? (Ken Cupitt reckons 2,500 drycleaners are left.) Protect yourselves from this by taking in more domestic laundry. You will see customers more when they are dropping in shirts than for the occasional suit or furnishings. Make yourself indispensable, get into their lives. They are often time poor and cash rich, maybe juggling two jobs. Instead of selling what you think they need, why not give them what they want?

“Delivery and collection makes things personal. By doing this one drycleaner I know is now a sort of concierge to a wealthy block of flats and as he is asked to look after windows, curtains and so on.” Thereby illustrating contact with the bublic can lead to greater things.

Colin Oakley, Laundry Efficiency Group

“Best Practice; Major Trends”

Oakley’s premise was that achievement of best practice can be achieved by the adoption of ozone technology which can cut running costs, provide disinfectionand produce excellent results wirh very little detergent. He told the room the system is as valuable an addition to drycleaners and wetcleaners as it has proved itself to commercial laundries where his Laundry Efficiency system has been tried and tested over the past couple of years. For more information and to look at case studies, visit http://www.laundryefficiency.com

Roger Cawood FGCL, SDML Training

“A Master Class In Stain Removal”

Roger Cawood discussed stain removal and delved into his vast experience to pass on his knowledge to an appreciative audience. He is regular contributor to LCN and we will be featuring a Cawood Masterclass in a forthcoming issue.

Tips he passed on included:

¦ Don’t deal with friends and relatives.

¦ Get a client form from the Guild to fill in with clients

¦ If, for example, you take in a cocktail dress covered in water-based stains ask yourself if this is manageable in terms of drycleaning.

¦ Arrange an appropriate service time and take a contact number.

¦ Be realistic about how long it takes to do the job and how much it will cost.


Brian Pearce FGCL, IDC Consulting

“Common Failures in Wet- and Drycleaning”

This was an excellent illustration from yet another expert LCN contributor (with supporting contributions by Stacey King of DTC who writes LCN’s What Went Wrong). Highlights from the presentation included timely warnings about the use of fluorescers and  optical brighteners. More from Brian Pearce and Stacey King in forthcoming issues and online.

Mutual support

With so much to learn, and so many experts to learn from, the event underlined the importance of the Guild and the really worthwhile work the committee does for its members. Their time is given free because they want to give something back to the industry they have helped to make.

The Guild is there to help its members do the best they possibly can by offering practical training, exams and qualifications, interprets legislation, advice on any problems and facilitating best practice. The Guild is and invaluable resource to operators, esoecially during diffcult trading times like the present, so do check it out if you haven’t already. 


CONFERENCE CALL: John Taylor of Wigan Drycleaners

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