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An Interviewee with Arif Unia: co-founder laundry house
With focus on innovation and improving the ease of doing business taking centre stage, private stakeholders are presenting new dimensions to Indian start-up ecosystem.

Rise in IT service based economy is bringing entrepreneurship in new & emerging realms. As India was praised at G20 summit recently for promoting inclusive growth in the country,  ease of doing business and encouraging innovation, citizen journalist Dr Amna Mirza speaks to Arif Unia, co-founder start-up venture- The Laundry House, to understand what actually lies in micro & macro framework of start-up India at individual unit level.

Excerpts from the interview

1: What drove you to venture towards laundry business?

Arif Unia: After a research of couple of years on laundry we realised the potential and genuine need of a transparency in this industry where consumers can see what's happening to their most loved garments. Our strong bent in marketing and expertise in managing the complex value chain drove us to try our hands in this lucrative profession. Moreover, Laundry and dry-cleaning is a highly unorganised market where different needs starting from daily wash to premium dry-clean exists. There is no player in market who is catering to all segments in both online and offline world.

2: Give an insight in your operational aspect.

Arif Unia: Laundry requires a strong understanding business processes and fabric care which is make or break for this business. Not only we have our R&D lab set up by some of the industry experts but also have specialists from best business schools who run and manage the entire value chain. Key success matrices of this business are dependent on dealing with both labour class (Washer man, Pressman, Drivers etc) to maintain quality as well as with highly qualified champions of customer relations and marketing from top business schools. Thankfully, with our bent towards people management and great leadership skills we can manage the entire processes efficiently and in a cost-effective way. 

3: Narrate how do you think that your business & start-up are different from others.

Arif Unia: To get better every passing day, our competition is with ourselves, most of the laundry services today are focused on delivery chain (pick/drop) and often compromise on quality. We have complete value chain in-house. From acquiring a customer through digital marketing or managing a first-time visitor at our store to selecting best chemicals for expensive garments all processes are drafted by our experts. We manage complete backend infrastructure of laundry and dry-clean services with care and make sure that every customer interaction is a delightful experience. With our R&D lab and continuous research we make sure world-class standards in laundry and cost-effective solutions.

4: how do you analyse & respond to competition in industry, because from small informal sector looking for bargains to organised big players like HUL are using premiumisation with an aim to strengthen leadership position in laundry segment?

Arif Unia: We are a year-old brand present in Vadodara and Delhi NCR and in a short span of time we have achieved a growth in the business. Our brand TLH is well recognised among affluent and high net worth individuals. Customers today are ready to pay a premium for a better and distinguished services. We are the only brand who provide solutions for fabric care, home furnishings, car spa & Home cleaning services all under one roof.

Moreover, we are the first one in industry who want to bring transparency for customers. With our uniquely designed see through stores customers can now watch live dry clean and laundry of their clothes which is unheard of in this industry. This not only provide us an edge over competition but also reflects our strong values of ethics and transparency with our customers.

5: Now let's look at other challenges like- detergents and aerated drinks have been slapped with a 28 percent GST. How would you like to respond to this future scenario? 

Arif Unia: This change will not impact much on the overall cost.

6: elaborate on your future of action.

Arif Unia: We are young brand and have great ambitions. We have recently launched in Delhi NCR with 8 stores. We believe laundry is just like telecom of 90s when only few but valuable customers started using the services. As our distribution width will increase we will have a lion's share in this category. We have launched our online portal and are very aggressive with sharp marketing in both offline and online. In next few months we also plan to expand in various markets through franchise route to acquire more customers in premium segment.

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