Time to wise up – and skill up20 May 2021
Adrian Redgate of National Dry Cleaners shares his personal opinion on the current situation for drycleaners
LCN caught up with Adrian Redgate of National Dry Cleaners who was not in a mood to hold back. He said: “The drycleaning industry doesn’t have any support now, through lack of support from both the mainstream and independent garment care sectors. They don’t know what this means but when perc is brought to the fore regarding being phased out along with new legislation undoubtedly coming, they will be stamping their feet saying ‘where’s our help?’.”
Redgate is also worried about the, what he says, are poor skills currently within the garment care sector and warns that the rise in wetcleaning, while positive if operagtors are trained correctly, is leading to an even lower skill set. “I have a personal concern that wetcleaning has built a brand by saying how bad drycleaning is for the environment and your health. If done correctly drycleaning is perfectly safe for everyone and wetcleaning can complement the garment cleaning service for the customer. Tell the customer how good you are at caring for their precious garments, then back it up with great service by knowing what you are doing.
“I have supported all the industry bodies the best I can while running my business. The TSA were always more of a laundry association which, rightly so, was supported by the laundries and even the smaller guys, and when the board have their own business to run they need to focus on what helps their sector.
“The move to UKFT was a good idea, maybe rushed and certainly not handed over correctly at the time of changes at the TSA and the history of the garment care sector was not taken into full consideration.
“I believe more could have been done by UKFT to announce its takeover and intentions for helping the garment cleaners. I suppose that may have been a result of a vicious circle of not knowing what is wanted because members never give feedback. This wasn’t a problem just for UKFT. The Guild has had the same problems for years. The sector doesn’t realise that they cannot be helped without communication both ways.
“I think the only way an arbitration service would work well nowadays is if it gets support from trading standards. I had an issue with some lost garments last year and the customer and small claims court weren’t interested in the fact that UKFT agreed that I had offered the correct compensation under the Fair Compensation Guidelines. We’re in a compensation heavy world now and it is only going to get more that way, and again with no trade association we are scuppered.
“I’m sure this decision, made by the industry, not just UKFT, will undoubtedly have consequences for the garment care cleaners that do want support and understand the meaning of such. There’s so much that could have been done but sadly there are too many people expecting others to do it for them and have it handed to them on a plate. The industry needs to move forward and away from the idea of ‘Its always been done that way’.
“It’s a changing world and the industry needs new ideas to survive. The same old ideas and information available needs to be seriously addressed and updated to raise the skill set for today’s world.”