We are publishing an interview of Mr. Shouvik Dey, Founder, The Wash House – A Pune based Laundry startup which offers laundry, drycleaning & ironing services in customised ways.
About the founders
- Shouvik Dey – IT Graduate with 7+ years of work experience in IT industry.
- Gaurav Bose – Finance PG with 1+ year of work experience in financial sector.
They started working together for almost 1.5 years ago. They were used to get their laundry done from the local laundry guys and felt there was a disconnection between the service providers and the customers. They switched and tried online laundry guys but still they weren’t happy with them and that is where The Wash House – Laundry Services journey started.
Give us a brief background of what founders were doing before starting the venture.
Both of us were working with MNCs with a zeal of starting up something of our own.
List all the names of the core team members, along with their skill-sets, specific domain expertise & designated roles. How do you see them evolving over time?
- Shouvik Dey – Co-Founder : Being an IT graduate I have the skill set to use IT automation to ease day to day activities. Quick thinking & good analytical thinking has helped in resolving many problems that we came across. I have worked in Software Testing so attention to details have always been my priority and that has helped us a lot in our venture.
- Gaurav Bose – Co-Founder : Having strong financial background has helped us in managing our finances & financial decisions.
Both of us learnt how laundry industry works. Basics of how different chemicals are being used to take the utmost care of the fabric and give the best quality laundry back to the customers. On the way we groomed ourselves to handle customer concerns & queries in the best possible way to get the maximum customer satisfaction.
What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
The problem of getting the same quality laundry everytime is what we are trying to solve. As per forbes article dated 12th Apr 2017 Laundry industry in India is $76B out of which only 5%(Approx) is organised. So there is a huge market which is still to be tapped and to make good money out of it.
What challenges did you face when you were starting out?
With zero knowledge about how laundry industry works the major challenge for us to understand how things exactly work. We worked with some of the reknown laundries to understand the processes and practices adopted by them and how we can improvise on that. Once we got a bit of understanding the next major challenge was to get laundry industry experienced people to work for us. Post overcoming the above challenges the next hurdle was to generate the initial traction to test our service quality and work on the customer feedback.
How did you get the initial capital? What returns does it have? Tell us about the investors (if any)
We are completely bootstrapped and have invested the savings that we had accumulated over years.
Please tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
We did a market survey online and offline to understand the needs of the customer and challenges that they are facing with the current available options. We also did some research to understand the pricing factor and customer buying patterns in the areas that we currently operate. Through further research and analysis we understood that this is going to work in areas where most of the population is either bachelors or working couples and we identified such areas and launched in those locations in Pune.
What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have?
We assumed that quality service is the only factor that can help us be successful but through course of time we understood that we need to blend price and quality both to get the initial traction of customers.
What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
The uniqueness is the customized solution that we give to every customer. We talk to customer to understand what are they expecting from us before processing there order.
What is the strength of the startup and the scale of operations? Who do You Perceive as Your Competition?
We are currently 10 people team including the founders and are increasing the count month on month.
What is the revenue model? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
We charge the customers for different services that we offer i.e, Laundry, Drycleaning & Ironing.
Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them?
For Laundry we primarily target Bachelors & Working Couples and for Drycleaning we target families with higher income ranges.
How did you get your first customer?
We got our first customer through offline marketing, then it went on with facebook marketing and mouth to mouth publicity.
What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product leading to something bigger? If so, how?
We are currently operational in 10 areas of Pune and plan to open up in complete Pune and then move to other cities having the appropriate target market.
Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? Please explain in details:
Currently we have around 600 registered paying customers and around around 40-50 hits on website every day. We are currently running at 15-20 orders/day which is again growing month on month with an average per order value around Rs. 350-400
What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
We have a plan to open up our services in complete Pune.
What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Competition is very aggressive so take your steps correctly else it would be a failure in no time.