Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More to demistify dry cleaning and make it worth investing in.

1) An analogy: Let’s make this as interesting as possible. We really deeply empathise with all those here and every where before us. They tried their best to make sense of dry cleaning. We are now eagerly awaiting the industry response to Which? in May’s issue, hopefully, provided Which? have supplied them with detailed information asked for. We said yesterday that if foundations laid in dry cleaning were ill reasoned and unfit for purpose, then whatever world industries have built upon them are also unfit for purpose. Let us give you a foundation analogy, then:

2) Imagine that people don’t know the Tower of Pisa is leaning. Also imagine that the Italians have built a coffee shop on top of the Tower. The industry, you, dry cleaners and consumers alike are enjoying your Cappuccinos. I walk in with a supply of spirit levels in my rack sack and try to flog a few to any enthusiastic DIY punters. Few inspect samples by placing them on coffee tables.

3) They realise that the bubbles in each instrument does not rest in the centre between the two demarcated lines. Instead, bubble travel and rest on one end of the glass tubes where the table surface is higher than the opposing end.

4) An assumption is made that an enormous amount of publicity has been done to impress the world how structurally sound, robust and erect (plumb or vertical) the Italian master piece is. Therefore, you all suspect my spirit levels to be dodgy and knocked up in haste in my garden shed. I am laughed at, and ridiculed. I walk out, stunned and wondering what else I could do to convince you all that the Tower is leaning, and we must do things to stop it from toppling over (the demise of dry cleaning and near choking to death of fashion, sheep farming, and the rest).

5) I would have been so outnumbered that I could not even draw your attentions to scoop the froth from your cups and observe the coffee surface in your cups. Given an opportunity, I will have drawn your attentions to the simple fact that the coffee surface would have been nearer to the rims of your cups on the same side my spirit bubble was resting inside its’ glass housing! The coffee surface would have sat deeper on the diametrically opposing side of your cups, obviously.

6) Would DIY enthusiasts among you have suspected the coffee tables to have been off plumb and bought my spirit levels? Logically we don't know, but I will have caused a crack in the otherwise common belief that the tower had been veritcal all along. We will have created a debate among us. Well, 20 years ago, the industry did not consider my innovations in dry cleaning. But they did not enter a debate either that defied simple logic. They still may not. The difference is that no longer do I sell my goods from a rack sack, but I have a shop now and can sell to any one, without their involvement if need be!

7) With the tower analogy in mind, let us explore the 18 conundrums we mentioned yesterday. We have omitted two that would have given away valuable IP (Do not count bullet points on fashion gods and goddesses. We simply impress you with our continued work on fashion espionage, shall we say?) We look at 16 conundrums while we are still in the coffee shop on Tower of Pisa (Points could not be bulleted, so Roman numerals are used instead) :

i) Why name shops Cloud Nine - , Exquisite -, Supreme, American (in London) -, French (in America) – You wouldn’t Believe Us If We Told You, So We Won’t – Dry Cleaners? Why steer clear of the phrase “clean”? Aren’t we telling the 21st century consumer and fashion designer that we cannot clean? Why be resistant to the phrase clean?

ii) Similarly, why publicities in world Yellow Pages don’t say shops really, really clean clothes? Are they telling us they don’t?
iii) Why prominently promote shirt service if you are a dry cleaner? Is laundry used as a bait to attract dry cleaning, telling the customer that the dry cleaning service here is rubbish?
iv) Another good one: Why advertise professionalism in cleaning wedding dresses that are cleaned once in a life time, instead of displaying posters in shop windows showing suits, skirts and neck ties that need cleaning every week/month? Are shops telling the intelligent punters that they may make a mess of their suit and skirt, but ha, ha! Give them your wedding dresses! Which category of garment brings in repeat business? Where is the sense?
v) Why do you get 100,000 different answers to the same question about any single stain in as many dry cleaning shops in the world? Why would you get 2 different answers about the same stain on the same garment in the same shop if you presented the problem garment twice in an interval of 6 months?
vi) Why do Hoffman press covers get dirty 10 times quicker than ironing board covers do in homes? Could it be that dry cleaned work is dirty and steam at the press loosens dirt, where the vacuum for removing steam sticks the dirt to the press cover?
vii) Why doesn’t dry cleaning make sense to any one, including the industry? I just subscribed to Which? and await industry response in future issues. Will responses contain elements of common sense, and how much of it? For goodness sake, we communicate with dead planets and moons light years away, and tell others whether atmospheres are mostly made up of methane, nitrogen and whether temperatures are hot enough to melt our space crafts. Here we are on earth and can’t explain in plain language why dry cleaning does not clean. Which? has served an ace of a service and its’ 15 love! Can the industry serve one of their own, or will again blame others as they have done in the past?
viii) Why not insist that consumers inspect our service thoroughly before making payments? ix) Why not have plain see through polythene covers with no logos and art work that conceal substandard work?
x) Are consumer wishes and expectations known to the industry to base design and service philosophies upon? Industry design and service philosophies have been top to bottom. Our research indicates that no consumer surveys have ever been carried out to determine customer wishes and expectations. We conducted our own for nearly two years and recorded what consumers want. The result gave us 9 items of quality parameters. These were used to re engineer dry cleaning bottom to top, and it works.
xi) The industry has own standards for cleaning. These are rejected by consumers. The industry remains unaware that it is cleaning for itself. This is really true, and we were amazed to have read that we had Miss Dry Cleaning Contests for various regions, and girls were crowned the equivalents of prom Queens or whatever. Were consumers invited to events to vote? Did the popular press write about it? Not as far as we know.
xii) Is lack of after care the reason for Australians (CSIRO/TFTR) spending precious research funds in seeking solutions for wool to dry quickly? Have they totally given up on dry cleaning? If yes, then have we ever got news for them?!
xiii) Similarly, could the introduction of organic wool be another short term quick fix to divert consumer attention from real issues – man’s inability to provide acceptable after care other than laundering?
xiv) Again, is the inventing of fashion terms such as the rural look, rustic appeal, relaxed feel, and the rest ploys such as shaking a rattle to an infant to look at the camera while photographed instead of looking at dad making faces pissing mum off with the camera ready to capture that magical moment? Aren’t consumers brain washed to accept that it is OK to look like hell wearing things as if worn in bed the night before? Could have hair styles (choppy cut) matching the get up and go appeal been designed to complete the picture of being untidy and looking dreadful, but indoctrinated to thinking one is looking really good?
xv) Lets’ be blunt: Has any one seen Hillary Alexander and Anna Wintour attending catwalk shows? They look absolutely dreadful. What the hell are they wearing as role models and goddesses of fashion for women to follow? Bloody hell!
Why did Yves St Laurent retire early? Why was Karl Lagerfeld the last fashion god to submit to dressing down and wore jeans with a sport jacket? Why did the late Gianfranco Ferre pack up and concentrated on China? He nearly gave up hope on Europe? Answer: Because Perc cleaning was safe in China from the hands of energetic environmental campaigners.

xvi) As mentioned yesterday, why should you clean matching items together or they will show colour differentials? Laundry doesn’t have these problems. An untrained school boy produces better results to (wash or dry clean care label) matching items than a professional dry cleaner does. Why? Why should dry cleaners be trained? Why they shouldn’t?

xvii) Technical but very important: Why do you get fluff build up on high surfaces in the back of established shops (e.g. top of steam pipes and shelves)? You don’t on equivalent higher surrounds to domestic washing machines, or better still in coin op laundrettes? In the former case (dry cleaning), could fluff pass through filter meshes of dry cleaning machines? If so, then fluff (lint) remains spread over garment surfaces. Fluff is then lifted in shop air by the steam pressure at the press and deposited on high surfaces. By logical deduction, could dirt smaller than 20 microns also pass through filters and remain deposited in fabrics? Is that why press covers get so dirty that pores get blocked with dirt and renders the vacuum pump ineffective?
xviii) Who is smarter of the two? The Mongolian Yak farmer who hasn’t stopped wearing wool for 6, 000 years or any of us in the West who nearly stopped wearing wool jumpers a decade ago in freezing Scandinavian winters. Why couldn't we buy a single warm pure wool jumper last winter in shops in Stains and Hounslow major shopping centres? 100 shops in all?!
xix) Why did one reputable chain have dedicated only about 25% of the sales area to dry cleaning, and the rest to sale of umrelated goods. These were (please bear with us): Home cleaning, duvets (we wouldn't) umbrellas, laundry (we wouldn't), films, camers, luggage, locks, picture frames, photo albums, tumble dryer sheets, anti bacterial wipes (useless for cross infected suits, but lets not go there), flight socks, folding money belts, and passport holders.

xix) continued: Shop sign read "... Dry Cleaners". Excuse us, but isn't that misleading the customers? The shop is actually is sort of a travel shop, who happens to do some dry cleaning on the side! And the technology developers and promoters wish to sell the technology to some 5,000 independent UK cleaners using Perc?! No wonder no one is buying. Also, Consumers are intelligent, and they probably wouldn't wish a travel shop to clean their day to day business -, leisure -, formal - wear, let alone their expensive couture.

Note: Who said we could count? And in roman numerals, too (one bulleted item too many). We should stick to dry cleaning rather than pretending to be mathematicians!

8) You may not get satisfactory responses to your quest for solving dry cleaning riddles that have defeated the world for half a century, until and unless you leave the leaning Tower. Alternatively, if you love the view from up there (not so much as loving Perc but being stuck with it, really), then straighten up the Tower. To us, this has been to re engineer Perc technology. It has been our leaning tower, and we have adjusted the sway to make it erect. We have done the hard work. Your job is easy now. Just join us.

9) Some of the comments in bullet points above have been hard hitting. Our intentions must be understood in that we have had so few opportunities in 20 years that we make the most of this wind fall. Not for personal reasons alone, but to benefit all of you and your businesses, and to serve public health too. Alternatively, has the fantastic, hostorically tested, and unbeatable British intelligence been used some how?! We will leave it there. Work this one out yourselves...

10) No doubt, for me it has been an immeasurable opportunity that cannot even happen once in a life time, and don’t I know it? I am aware of all implications as you are in us failing to get this far. But we have not failed, and the harsh and bumpy roads I have travelled on were laid with land mines too. I have paid directly proportional prices to the size of my innovations. But every bit of it has been worth it. Investors may prefer oven baked entrepreneurs who continue to remain full to the brim with passion, dedication and drive no matter how hard you hit them. We are the one and CCCC International and off shoots are live wires.

12) Who else will try to convince you that dry cleaning could be almost interesting and put it in words you've never read before? Find us one and we will keep on telling them to bugger off, until they do. Again you will be left with us as the only one invest in. Its' easy when you know how. As you can see, we do.

13) We feel you are going to like our brand logo for We will let you have a peep soon. We had to start without you on this occasion, and our design is the final version that has cost us a good part of £10,000 plus VAT. Sadly, we will not be able to incorporate your views, but we will have other logos too, where you could take part. We are “democratising innovations” as per research conducted by Professor Eric Von Himmel of The Sloane Business School of Harvard University. His book of the same title was published last year and should make good reading for businesses who wish to develop IP.

14) Thank you for reading. We could build the blog in ways we feel fit. Why not approach the build up from bottom to top just as we have dry cleaning? Your contributions and queries will make the blog lively and fit for purpose. We will have met your demands and expectations. So, fire away. We are building brands for you to be proud of. Have your say in shaping them.

Mohammad (Kaz)

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