Pressto is the global leader in high quality dry cleaning, currently offers its high quality dry cleaning services through exclusive stores in the country, Esther Lennaerts, Executive Chairperson, Pressto, emphasises on the need to take dry-cleaning business as seriously as an I.T company in the country.
Aadeetya Sriram (AS): Tell us about Pressto?
Esther Lennaerts (EL): Pressto is the only Launderette player in India with Express dry-cleaning services & Boutique in –store cleaning concept. Pressto is the global leader in high quality dry cleaning with more than 500 stores in over 20 countries and over 100 million satisfied customers. Pressto marked its footprints in India in the year 2008 and currently offers its high quality dry cleaning services through 12 exclusive stores in Mumbai & Delhi. Each garment at Pressto store is individually analysed and put through specialised cleaning cycles using the appropriated product to give the best results. Pressto maintains the promise of clean and hygienic environment with the use of antibacterial and deodorizing Dry cleaning machines which cares for your garment, best steam presses in the world, innovative packaging material to preserve the quality and freshness of garments. We particularly specialise in stain removal, with the latest products including the ultrasonic gun to analyze and treat each stain carefully, without damaging the garment.
AS: Could you elaborate on the kind of services you provide?
EL: Our services involve; DRY CLEANING: Customized Dry Cleaning with anti bacterial and deodorising treatment helps in achieving the best possible results. LAUNDRY: A precise cleaning program with in- house developed cleaning products, results into a crisp well cleaned and finished product STEAM PRESSING: The manual pressing method gives the best finish to the garment with attention to each detail, DESIGNER WEAR: The Pressto care and attention coupled with the latest technology, CURTAINS: Curtains are cleaned using proprietary methods facilitating rejuvenation of texture and revival of colour. REPAIRS, ALTERATIONS & DARNING: Through the Pressto repairs and darning service, garments are given a new lease of life. In selective stores alterations are also offered. 2 HOURS EXPRESS DELIVERY: Pressto’s unique service of delivering a finished garment in just 2 hours, SPECIAL FINISHES: Starching: Light or heavy starch, Aqua stop: Stain & Water- proofing treatment, Pressto Soft: adds extra softness Silk Finish: Revives the colour of dark silk.
AS: How is Pressto operated?
EL: The most important aspects of PRESSTO’s dry cleaning process is that, PRESSTO has an in- store boutique cleaning concept and process. The customers’ garments stay inside the store all the time and are treated then and there by our professional staff under the watchful eye of the store manager who actually also actively participates in the whole process. So everything happens right inside the store and exactly according to the customers’ personal preferences. PRESSTO machines are imported from Europe to ensure the best possible result. Cleaning materials and processes are the best available globally. Through extensive research over the past 3 years we are now also able to reliably treat all kinds of Indian garments and fabrics including most of the challenging Indian stains. Our store managers have a dual role. They service the customer directly in our stores and manage the store operations. They are trained experts in customer and garment care, who understand fabrics, garments and individual needs of customers. Everybody who works at a PRESSTO store undergoes a minimum of 45 day training in garment care. More than 27,000 households and 100,000 customers in Mumbai & Delhi have chosen to entrust their garments to us.
AS: What made you invest in setting up dry-cleaning stores? How much did you invest?
EL: India has a rich heritage of beautiful and colourful garments and textiles, and with global brands coming to India and the ever increasing purchasing power of customers, there was and is an issue of finding a reliable dry cleaner providing high quality services. And hence Pressto did fit well into the supply-demand scenario. Our biggest achievement so far is that PRESSTO INDIA already is the leading garment care and cleaning company while becoming profitable at store level within 12 months. We invested over 10 Cr and opened our first store in 2008.
AS: What sort of potential does the retail dry-cleaning segment in India portray?
EL: Dry cleaning till date was a black box for the customer. You give the garment after which it returned wrapped in a news paper. No questions asked what the process really is and if is done hygienically. However that scenario is now fast changing in India. Designer wear and branded clothes are a heavy investment and hence customers are awakening faster towards the processes associated with dry cleaning as well as laundry. Our approach towards the same is very special. In case of PRESSTO, all the machines are right inside our store. We are completely transparent in our dealing. Demystifying the process of dry cleaning and educating/advising customers has been given very high priority. Entry of international labels as well as buyers getting biased towards designers is in short good news for us, as when you buy the best we know how to maintain it in the best manner.
PRESSTO now has set the quality benchmark at a superior level. Even the unorganised dry cleaners will now have to improve their service parameters. We will keep working to stay the market leader in quality dry cleaning in India as well as in the rest of the world. PRESSTO Spain is well connected with leading garment brands to improve our know-how and capability. This is filtered through the company through training and creating professionals at the frontline – the customer touch points – and who we treat with utmost care and respect
AS: How many stores do you have around the world, size of store, investment in each store?
EL: PRESSTO has over 500 stores and 10 million customers worldwide in 22 countries on five continents ( Europe (Portugal, Greece, Croatia...), South America (Brazil, Chile, Panama…. Oceania (Australia), Asia (China, Singapore, Malaysia, India), and even Africa (Morocco, Angola, Nigeria). Very recently new regions continue to be incorporated to the PRESSTO family, like the Middle East Gulf Countries, which allow for further significant sustainable growth in all the company's markets in the coming years. In all these countries, PRESSTO works with master franchisees. The average size of stores globally may be around 800 sq.ft. Investments for setting up a store are USD 100,000 to 200,000 depending on size, equipment, fit-out and other factors.
AS: What technology have you implemented for your services?
EL: Our dry cleaning process has an internal circuit where with every cycle the solvent is cleaned and re-used to minimize wastage while retaining the highest quality levels. Besides we hardly use water since we have an internal circuit to clean and re-use the water. We also carefully manage the heating and cooling of water for all the processes thus minimising energy use. In all, in terms of water usage, our average water usage per day per store is about twice as much as what a normal household would use and cleaning your garments with PRESSTO uses far less energy per garment than if you would at home. Some of these processes and systems have been developed in India itself and we keep developing such systems and processes all the time. It is part of our CSR policy.
AS: Do you undertake any training procedure for the staff of your stores?
EL: Finding the right people was the biggest challenge. When you start a new brand in an unorganised sector it is a challenge to attract the best talent. Therefore first of all we started building the PRESSTO Brand internally by training and explaining the staff, who we are, what we do and how we do it differently.
Everybody who works at a PRESSTO store undergoes a 30 day mandatory induction training and skills development program which educates them about (1) PRESSTO, where we stand for, and how we service our customers, (2) the company and store organisation and processes, (3) understanding garment types and garment care and (4) specific skills training including pressing, washing, customer communication and managing a store. And, ongoing training and skills development is an integral part of our organisation and business model and process and every employee undergoes some 2 weeks of training every year. Skills development through dedicated and on the job training is one of our top 3 priorities and every employee has a SKILLS PASSPORT to monitor progress and performance.
AS: Do you have any marketing strategy for your brand?
EL: Point number 1 in our marketing strategy is to deliver superior and reliable garment care and cleaning services according to customer needs while being transparent. So far we have cleaned over 2 million garments for some 50,000 customers. This has resulted in “word-of-mouth marketing” which we consider the most credible and effective way of marketing. Point number 2 is to be at the right location - convenient for customers, with good visibility – so high street - and signage opportunities. Other marketing strategies are around customer education, PR and local advertising
AS: Your global as well as Indian revenue?
EL: PRESSTO worldwide network revenue would be around 400 Cr (2009) and PRESSTO India will reach the Rs.100 Cr mark in a couple of years.
AS: Your plans for the future? Any new innovations in store?
EL: PRESSTO aims to offer complete wardrobe and upholstery management. The services are extended to darning, alteration and special finishes like water/stain resistant treatment, durable softness treatment, and fabric friendly non chlorine bleach for garments which have turned grey or yellowish over time. To ensure that you can keep your garments and upholstery in the finest condition PRESSTO offers various products like moisture absorbers to ensure you control the moisture content in your closet to prevent mildew, fungus and stale odours.