LookSharp is a Quality First Cleaner
The increasing presence of discount dry cleaning has transformed the dry cleaning industry to prioritize price over quality, and shortcuts have become the norm at every step in the process. A volume discounter must drive high volume at low cost, and this is accomplished by slamming clothing through a process of harsh (potentially hazardous and carcinogenic) chemicals and detergents, pressing them in bulk, rushing them on hangers and on the conveyor to be ready for customer pickup. In this speed and efficiency driven process there is no time for:
- Pre-inspection of garments
- Treating stains
- Post-cleaning inspections and redos of items requiring extra work
- Individual pressing of garments
- Special care for special for delicate items like buttons, trim, lace, special fabrics, etc.
Due to the intense pricing pressure that has been driven by the rise of discounters, many full service cleaners have been driven to cut costs in similar fashion:
- Reducing their pressing and finishing labor by pressing in bulk rather than individually
- Eliminating pre-cleaning and post-cleaning inspections
- Eliminating pre-treating or stains and redos of stains that need additional work
- Cutting corners in equipment maintenance
- Using cheap filters and detergents, even to the point of eliminating most spotting agents from their processes
- Migrating to the cheapest quality hangers and finishing products, and eliminating categories of finishing products altogether, such as tissue paper, garment covers, etc.
In short, to generally deliver a “discount” product at a “full service” price.
The LookSharp Quality Process
We design our processes to reflect our values: Care and Quality.
Care and quality are incorporated into every part of our processes, from our machinery maintenance routines to our detergent choices to our inspection processes.
No vendor shows up at our company telling us “I can save you money on this cheaper product.” Rather, we constantly challenge our suppliers: “Are you sure we are using the best solutions available?”
Our processes are under constant improvement; here is a sample of the things that make our processes stand out.
Inspections and sign-offs – garments are inspected upon:
Highest quality detergents, cleansers, maintenance products and maintenance routines
- Staff are given autonomy to choose the best products for the task, not micro-managed to control costs
- Highest quality filters and maintenance products, changed frequently
- Machinery maintenance routines optimized for quality, not stretched out for cost
Cleaning in small batches and pressing individually
- Garments sorted by color, fabric type, and special considerations (buttons and trims), and cleaned in small batches – white with white, delicate with delicate. Cashmere is not cleaned in the same lot with denim.
- Garments pressed individually, not in bulk
Highest quality finishing products
- Garment hangers, clips, covers, and bags all selected for quality and care, not for cost savings
- Skirts are hung with clips, or on skirt hangers, not pinned to hangers with dangerous straight pins
- Paper garment covers preserve the care taken in pressing until you are ready to wear the garment
- Tissue paper absorbs moisture to preserve your garments until you wear them
Hence the LookSharp mantra is to fight the low-quality trend and to question, with every product we use and in every process, whether we are sure that we are delivering the highest quality.
Quality Dry Cleaning must be Eco-Friendly
What is “Eco-Friendly Cleaning” and why is it a cornerstone of any Quality Dry Cleaning operation?
Dry cleaning is the use of chemical solvents to clean clothes, rather than water. Legacy, older chemicals used in dry cleaning are hazardous for a variety of reasons:
• Some are highly flammable
• Some are potentially carcinogenic
• Some are hazardous waste and dangerous to groundwater
In addition to characteristics that are hazardous, they generally have other less than desirable attributes:
• They leave a smelly residue on your clothing
• They irritate some allergies
• They are harsh on your clothing, dyes, buttons, and trims
Nonetheless, these legacy Hazardous Waste solvents are still in widespread use today, especially by “discount” cleaners. The reason for this is simple: They are strong, industrial strength cleansers, and they get your clothes fairly clean with minimal effort on the part of the operator. They are the only way, for example, that a discount operator can charge only a couple of dollars per item, get them reasonably clean, and still make money. You just push the clothes through the process, steam them a bit so they look pressed, and for the most part the clothes come out looking “kind of okay.”
Modern, “Eco-Friendly” dry cleaners use cleansing agents that are gentler on your fabrics and dyes, do not leave smelly chemical residue on your clothes, and are generally better for allergy sufferers. They are, however, less harsh and not as effective on stains.
Consequently a good full-service Eco-Friendly cleaner spends a lot more time evaluating clothing fabrics and stains, and spot treating the stains with specialized products that are appropriate to different combinations of stain type, fabric type, color, etc. Quality Eco-Friendly dry cleaning is labor intensive, requires experienced and trained operators, and requires careful inspection and evaluation at every stage in the process. Our staff, for example, will often discuss stains with you, ask you if you know what they are, label them, and develop an approach to treating them that is appropriate for the stain type, fabric type, and color, and other characteristics. This is in contrast to legacy “Hazardous Waste” cleaners, who don’t need to bother about these things, since they are using a strong, industrial strength cleanser and it will probably get out most stains without any special attention from the operator.
Our motto is “We take care so you look sharp,” because quality garment care requires a high level of attention to detail; we believe that, when we deliver the highest level of care, customers reward us with their loyalty.