NEW YORK — It has been three and a half years now, since this Fil-Am entrepreneur came up with “Juliette” — an app that she hoped would become the Uber for laundry.
On the home screen, users can select laundry and dry cleaning or just dry cleaning, and they request pickup — and that‘s it.
Just like that, your bag of laundry gets picked up at night while you were sleeping, cleaned and delivered back in 24 hours.
“For me, there’s a market opportunity where I can be like – there’s a brand, quality is there and convenient like all the other cleaners and I’m priced perfectly,” said entrepreneur and founder Rechelle Balanzat.
With a business based on an app, she would only rent a small space in existing cleaners — but that came with its own challenges.
Today, Balanzat’s premium laundry business has grown and has moved to a brick and mortar home she now owns: a flagship store that opened last April.
“This has been a real game changer for my business… so the new flagship store much more control over the service, the quality and the technology.”
But hust like most businesses, getting it all started with a nearly $200,000 initial investment was tough.
“It was a lot of, pretty much begging, and asking, desperation and knocking on so many doors. You shouldn’t like lose your fire when someone says no to you.”
While laundry is a “dirty business,” Balanzat says, she did not expect that by just being a female entrepreneur seeking to fund her business — it could get real dirty. A #MeToo moment that she had to deal with on her own.
“You just smile and you say no, try not to cause a scene because the world is very small and word gets around fast, and unfortunately if you cause a scene it could work against you.”
There was even a time when she did all the dirty work by herself after losing all her workers without the funds to run the business.
But with hard work and persistence, Balanzat’s laundry business is doing much better than she expected.
What’s next for her business? Balanzat dreams of opening her own modern laundry plant in the heart of Manhattan.
Balanzat also dreams of opening Juliette shops nationwide.