CleanTie is a matchmaking service that matches local dry cleaners with people in need of laundry service pickup.
Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Margaritov’ regarding his start-up company “CleanTie”;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “CleanTie” is all about?
CleanTie is a matchmaking service that matches local dry cleaners with people in need of laundry service pickup.
Users can go to the site, type in their zip code and get matched with dry cleaners in their area that offer pickup.
Then they can place their order online and we send the dry cleaning order directly to the business. Users can also leave reviews and rate the laundry services.
2. When has “CleanTie” been founded? And what stage is “CleanTie” currently at?
CleanTie was founded in 2012 and launched in June 2012.
The CleanTie startup is currently in the expansion stage. The CleanTie website is fully functional and we have over 200 laundry vendors registered in over 25 states.
CleanTie is also now expanding in the United Kingdom to accomodate the needs of Olympic travelers.
3. What is “CleanTie”’s business model and how does it work?
CleanTie’s business model is business to business and business to consumer.
The business to business aspect refers to our need to partner with other businesses in the laundry and dry cleaning industry.
The business to consumer piece comes into play because we market to consumers in need of dry cleaning service so we can refer them to our affiliate vendors.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Co-founders Dariy Margaritov and Ryan Del Rosal were friends traveling on business when the idea for CleanTie was born.
Other members of our team were found through an internet site that matches businesses with professional contractors.
We currently have a PR person in place, someone who does social media marketing, an account manager that works with our vendors, and a few other people who manage blog writing and article writing.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
At this point CleanTie doesn’t really have any competition.
Some invidiual dry cleaning businesses offer laundry pickup requests through their website, but customers would be limited to just the one option.
CleanTie is different because it allows users to search and view numerous dry cleaners in their area, read reviews and choose the best one for their needs.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has “CleanTie” achieved so far?
CleanTie is growing more rapidly than we ever anticipated.
We launched in June 2012 and by July 2012, we had already expanded to 25 US states with a United Kingdom launch planned.
We have been feautured in many local news publications and industry publications, such as American Drycleaner and the Dry Cleaners Blog.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is “CleanTie”’s competitive advantage over them?
We don’t really have any visible competitors at this point. Our biggest threat is laundry businesses that have their order pickup request form on the website.
Our competitive advantage is that we offer options for our users.
They can select from many dry cleaners in their area. In addition, the advantage for dry cleaners to sign up is that they may end up with customers they wouldn’t have had otherwise and there’s no fee for the to add their business to the site.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Getting a good team in place to run with our business is always a challenge.
We overcame this by evaluating our team’s personalities and experience to determine who was the best fit for the company.
Another challenge was getting the word out about the business.
We had to consult with our marketing specialists to figure out the best plan of attack and develop a marketing strategy.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
I think in general people just don’t realize a service like this exists.
Many people think of dry cleaning and laundry service and just assume they have to know someone or look up a business in the phone book.
When in reality, the CleanTie internet service makes peoples lives so much easier.
The internet really is a great tool and our business is just another example.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
CleanTie is going to succeed because we won’t accept anything less.
Our success thus far, in such a short amount of time is indicative of what our success level will be over the long run.
The CleanTie team will keep reaching out to more dry cleaning vendors and keep marketing to customers to create the best laundry matchmaking service possible.
This is a service that really makes peoples lives easier.
11. If “CleanTie” succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
When CleanTie succeeds we will first expand to more geographic locations.
This service makes peoples lives easier everywhere, not just the United States and United Kingdom.
Additionally, we may open up the service to dry cleaners who don’t offer pickup as well, such as coin op laundry mats and more.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build “CleanTie” based on?
Spilled milk was the inspiration for CleanTie.
Founders Dariy Margaritov and Ryan Del Rosal were traveling on business when spilled milk almost ruined an important business meeting.
The co founders didn’t know where to take the suit to be cleaned because they were in a strange city. Thus the idea for CleanTie was born.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
We’ve learned to expect the unexpected. You can never fully anticipate what can happen when you launch a business.
Sometimes things move much quicker than you anticipated and you have to be ready to expand and adapt.
If you can learn to roll with whatever happens, you will be so much more equipped to handle a successful business.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Six months from now our biggest problem will be that we’re so busy!
We anticipate the CleanTie business to grow by tenfold in the next six months, so it really is hard to anticipate what new challenges that could bring.
But whatever the challenges may be, we are ready and willing to face them as a team.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
Easy. Fast. Clean. Bottom line is that CleanTie saves people time. It takes the guess work out of finding a dry cleaner that is trustworthy and reliable.
And for dry cleaning vendors it’s a form of internet marketing that isn’t complex or expensive.
They can get new customers without going out of their way to find them.
16. How did customers/users find out about you?
Our customers find us primarily through internet marketing. We have been featured on a number of blogs and websites.
CleanTie also has a Facebook fan page, Twitter page and YouTube channel. Users can also find us through the search engines.
In some cases, customers will read our press releases and come on to the website.
17. Who are your current customers/users? Who are your target customers/users?
Anyone and everyone. Dry cleaning businesses and vendors are affiliated with us and we send them orders.
Our customer users include people of all ages, shapes and sizes.
We appeal mainly to busy people, who don’t have time to do their own dry cleaning or who have expensive suits that need to be cleaned.
18. Where do new customers/users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
Customers mainly come from the internet. They find us through our press releases, news coverage, social media pages and search engines.
Once they get to the CleanTie website they can search by zip code to use the service.
The service is appealing because it doens’t cost anything to use and it saves them time.
19. What do your customers/users say about your product and/or service?
CleanTie customers and CleanTie vendors are happy customers and vendors.
What we provide offers value and saves time. And to top it all off, it’s free for the customer and free for the business to add their listing.
We only charge a small referral fee for every customer order that is sent to the business.
As far as we’re aware, everyone is happy so far and we strive to keep it that way.
20. How are you going to scale?
Our projections are based on the number of laundry vendors affiliated with us, the number of customers placing orders and the number of referrals we send over.
As we see these numbers continuing to grow, we know we’re headed in the right direction.
The CleanTie goal is to get vendors in every state, and customers in every major city coming to us for their laundry service needs.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
Nothing comes to mind as far as a missing feature. We’ve had a few laundry services that don’t offer pickup ask if they could join the site.
This is a feature we anticipate adding to the CleanTie service in the future, but isn’t currently available.
Everything else has been pretty well thought out and we haven’t had any complaints.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Yes, we have already begun expanding CleanTie internationally. In July we spearheaded expansion in the United Kingdom due to the number of travelers at the Olympics.
From here we will continue to expand internationally. Everyone in just about every country could find value in our service.
Who doesn’t want to save time on laundry? When we’re ready to expand, we will begin contacting vendors in the selected countries.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
There really isn’t an upper limit on how far we can expand. Obviously we are limited to partnering with the number of laundry services and dry cleaning businesses out there, but other than that people just about everywhere could benefit from saving time by having someone pick up their laundry.
We are also releasing a smartphone app which will solidify our place as a helpful technology.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
At this time, CleanTie has a good team in place. Once we expand a bit more, we may be looking to add to the team, but right now we’re pretty set.
At this point it would be unnecessary to add more people to the team, because what we’re doing is obviously working.
When we have new positions available, people should be able to find them through the CleanTie website, www.cleantie.com
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
CleanTie was funded through investor funding and we are open to additional investors.
We are self-sustainable through the end of the year at least.
Once we expand, working capital should easily cover our overhead and expenses but we will consider all options.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Don’t give up. Expect the unexpected. Work smarter not harder. Persistance really does pay off, so if you have a vision don’t give up and just go for it.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Next time you need your dry cleaning picked up, check out CleanTie.com