A hard-working and frugal midwesterner can always justify sending a suit or dress to the cleaners. But soiled undergarments?
Since its inception in 2009, Mulberrys Cleaners has looked for ways to set itself apart. With the launch of home laundry service this March, it offers a luxury once only available to royalty or Kardashians. (A small amount of work that can be delegated to an underling remains: Customers sign up online or through Mulberrys’ mobile app, schedule a pickup time, gather the laundry in a bag and select a return time.)
CEO Dan Miller aims to broaden his base with the new service. “We hope to expand our reach to a younger clientele. People are getting used to having what they want, when they want it, on demand.”
Miller’s goal is to do 10 percent of sales in laundry by the end of the year. (Dry cleaning currently accounts for 85 percent of Mulberrys’ revenue with alterations, wedding gown cleaning and preservation, shoe shine and repair leather and cleaning making up the rest.) Laundry is priced $2.99 per pound, as opposed to dry cleaning, which is priced by quantity and type.
The option of having laundry picked up within an hour is currently only available to those in the Minneapolis area—with plans to expand to St. Paul by the end of the year, assuming more-conservative St. Paulites are willing to turn over their sweat socks to a stranger.
Mulberrys offers next-day delivery for laundry service, but “our goal in the next few months will allow our clients to schedule pickup at breakfast,” says Miller, “and have their clothes ready by the time they are home from work.”
While eight staff drivers do majority of the pickup and delivery, the Mulberrys Driver mobile app takes an Uber approach, where interested drivers input personal information, which then allows them access to a list of pickup and delivery orders. “In the next few months we will be able to send a notification when your driver is on their way,” says Miller. He adds that before a new driver is allowed to accept jobs, they must pass a background check.
Laundry isn’t the only thing on Mulberrys’ agenda; the company is set to expand to Los Angeles later this year. –Kate LeRette