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Luxury Dry Cleaners?? - Page 3

post #31 of 41

Brown's Cleaners on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica is absolutely top notch. I have been going there for over twenty years.
post #32 of 41
Originally Posted by Xiaogou View Post
^ so how long have you worked at Rave?

Actually, I founded, own and work at RAVE FabriCARE
post #33 of 41
Carbonless, As to your original question, I can recommend Margarets. I've had all my Chan suits cleaned there at one time or another. I've been very happy with their work. Also, Romeo at Felice Tailors recommends Margaret for the garments he makes. I've yet to have any garments Romeo has made cleaned there, but I will once they need it. Incidentally, I think Margaret's prices run somewhat over $30 for suits. I can't speak to shirts as I wash and iron my own.
post #34 of 41
I'm a retired dry cleaner myself. I've been an active dry cleaner for over 16 years, and like the old Bra manufacturer, I still have a hand in the business working with dry cleaners the world over. I've been an American Drycleaner Magazine plant of the year special honors winner (One of the top 5 cleaners in North America), as well as a member of the IDC (International Dry cleaners Congress).

So many cleaners try to claim they are the world's best dry cleaner, like so many coffee and pizza shops proclaim themselves 'world's best pizza and coffee'. Problem is: so many of these business owners are simply self professed professionals. There is no national unbiased body that ranks cleaners according to skill, or prices, or quality.

Really, who gives a crap? Most of these titles floating around the dry cleaning industry are marketing tactics or biased opinons. The only real opinion that matters is YOURS, you, the customer!

When I ran my dry cleaning shop, I devised an amazing point of sale system that could/woul record who in my cleaning facility handled your garment, who cleaned it, who pressed it, who inspected it, the works. We kept very detailed records as to any spots or stains, repairs, alterations, as well as results of each cleaning PER GARMENT. At any time, one could look up the history of a suit, or a pair of pants, and see the entire lifetime history. Big deal, right? Well, it made each of my staff personally accountable for their craftspersonship. Missed spots or stains, double creases, all those issues about quality, could be meticulously followed. I'm proud to say that my chain wide stats showed an error rate (unfounded complaint or not) of one garment in 10,000 would have a return from customer for missed spot, stain, double crease, complaint, or claim for damage. I'd put THOSE results up against any cleaner in the world any day (Couture to discounter).

I know a lot of dry cleaners, and many of the names you guys have mentioned have either hired me, talked with me, or attended one of my presentations around the world. I can tell you pretty much to a cleaner whose operation really delivers what they say. I'm pretty selective about who I work with as a dry cleaner client, and some of these folks mentioned wouldn't have an operation good enough to meet my exacting standards because...well, they talk a good game but their operations don't deliver, or don't deliver results consistantly.

Really, it comes down to you and your relationship with your cleaner and his staff. I know some 1.99 dry cleaners who are just as passionate as I am about quality, cleaning, stain removal, and customer service, and I know some Couture high priced cleaners who are so exclusive they only have 6 customers at prices that would almost get you into a new low end suit (Moores or Mens WareHouse) for each cleaning who feel tha same as I. You, the consumer, want a cleaner who CARES passionately about his craft, and will do his absolute best on each and every garment that crosses his counter into his care. You can't judge by price, you can't judge by the decor of his lobby, you can't judge by his marketing (or even the soap, equipment he uses) or even by what he or she says on his web site....the proof is in the plastic bag when its delivered back to you.

There is a lot of work a cleaner can do to correct manufacturer's and fashion designers oversights when it comes to creating a fasjionale garment. Some trims like beads and sequins are not meant to be dry cleaned, but because they look great and fancy, some designers use them anyway. TRUE professionals who know their dry cleaning craft pretest EVERYTHING that they suspect will fail in dry cleaning. TRUE professionals will catch errors BEFORE they clean a garment, and call the customer at work or home with expert opinions and advice how best to care, clean, or even refuse to clean some garments. That kind of expertise requires a close relationship with the owner of the garment, one based on trust, and familiarity.

Heck, there are all kinds of garments that can't be cleaned, and all kinds of manufacturer processes that simply fail dry cleaning. This is why independent organizations like and exist....they constantly test clothing and report on flaws in construction, or report new techniques that will fail in even the most professional and careful of cleaners.

Not all dry cleaners are created equal. Not all dry cleaner care like the professional craftsman dry cleaner. You simply can't buy or hire a caring attitude, the cleaner has to have one himself...THAT's what you should be paying for....the attitude of constant care that can't be bought for a wage. I'm retired from the industry, I no longer have a horse in the race, but I can still tell a good cleaner from a bad one, an awesome marketing cleaner from one who can deliver the real service, and I'm not afraid to call a spade a spade, even if it p*sses off a few cleaners who think that their plants don't smell.

My two cents...discuss.

A retired dry cleaner.
post #35 of 41
I live in the Chicago area and have been using Davis Cleaners for the last 2 years. I can honestly say after dealing with them I would never trust any other cleaners in the Chicagoland area.

I have quite expensive clothing and am quite anal when it comes to keeping the fabric's softness and having everything cleaned perfectly.

There 2 levels of service for shirt cleaning is based on the fabric and buttons on your shirts.

If you have thick mother of pearl buttons, or the metal buttons that Hermes puts on there sleeves, they will put it automatically put the shirt in the more expensive category since they take off all the buttons before they clean the shirt and then after sow them back on.

Also, I believe if the shirts are Zegna, Brioni, Kiton, etc they are automatically put in the more expensive category due to the nature of the fabric.

Hope this helps
post #36 of 41
Originally Posted by retired drycleaner View Post
I know a lot of dry cleaners, and many of the names you guys have mentioned have either hired me, talked with me, or attended one of my presentations around the world. I can tell you pretty much to a cleaner whose operation really delivers what they say. snip I can still tell a good cleaner from a bad one, an awesome marketing cleaner from one who can deliver the real service, and I'm not afraid to call a spade a spade, even if it p*sses off a few cleaners who think that their plants don't smell.
Well? Spill! What do you think of the dry cleaners mentioned?
post #37 of 41
Anyone ever use MW Cleaners in Houston? Are they any good? Right now i'm having trouble finding a good cleaners in NW Houston.
post #38 of 41
Originally Posted by Bounder View Post
Well? Spill! What do you think of the dry cleaners mentioned?

Well Bounder, I have my own personal bias too!

I'm really impressed by a cleaner who is hands on, someone who can step in on the stain removal station and knock farts outta pants with the best of his staff, or step in on the utility press and knock pants off a pair every three minutes (or less), then jump in on the double buck shirt press and press 60 to 120 shirts an hour, fixes his own boiler, cleans the filters and scrapes out the still on his dry cleaning machine, and can spin black pipe when needed.

I've met my share of what I call 'Silver Spoon Cleaners', folks who had great grand parents and grand parents who build the business up from nothing to something. So many times, the next successive generation comes along and well, the golf and tennis game would suffer if they soiled their hands by processing a few cart loads of clothes themselves.

For many of the cleaners mentioned here, a hard day's work might be directing the people they have to do that. Unless you got a presser's callus on your hands and can do a few 12 to 36 hour shifts at all workstations, its not too likely any cleaner would pass muster with me.

Here's a link to a guy I know personally who is an unsung hero. Many of the cleaners mentioned here couldn't hold a candle to this cleaner for process innovation, quality control procedures and good old customer service policies: Steve, the owner of this shop, is one of the handful in this industry who I'd look up to, and look across at as a real expert who walks the walk, and can deliver upon what he promises, personally.
post #39 of 41
Very diplomatic. So you seem to prefer smaller operations to very large ones. Is that correct? Would you be, for example, more concerned about chains or operations with multiple locations especially if those locations were far apart?
post #40 of 41
Originally Posted by Bounder View Post
Very diplomatic.

I try to be. In dry cleaning, egos bruise easily.

I'm all for the focus on quality and craftpersonship. My main beef with big dry cleaners, and multi-location chains is that far too often they forget about focusing on doing the job right and get carried away with finding the next catchy slogan, cool marketing trick, or opening that next store and hitting the profitability line.

I'm not saying that you can't grow big and still do a good job, its just that the larger an operation you become, the more likely it is for people who don't give a damn to get hired on and hide amongst the staff/management.

A good dry cleaning business is built one customer at a time, by servicing one garment at a time. There are no short cuts or fast fixes. You have to be able to do a lot of very complex procedures in a never ending permutation of methodologies to do the job right.

For example: Inspection of clothes at the front counter when customer is dropping off garments.

When you drop off your clothes, 50 percent of the customers may or may not hate the person behind the counter on sight. Why? Well, that's just basic probability, either some likes you, or not...a fifty fifty chance.

As the counter person is receiving your clothing, a careful cleaner is going to do some percursory inspection of each garment looking for spots, stains, rips, tears, missing buttons, broken zippers, as well as recording a general description of the garment for tracking, pricing, and to be sure as to return the garment back to its rightful owner.

Identifying spots and stains while the customer is present makes the cleaner and stain remover staff's job much easier, its much more safe for the garment as proper stain removal formulae are applied, and the customer gets a job done right rather than a garment with a stain now chemically bound and locked into an unwearable garment.

Fixing rips, tears, replacing broken or lost buttons, replacing broken zippers is as much a profit center for the cleaner as it is a valuable service to the customer. Nobody likes getting dressed for work in the morning and finding a crucial button missing and a zipper that doesn;' work, it wastes time, causes inconvenience, and just plain sucks as the consumer now has to change as well as make an extra trip to get the garment fixed.

Checking garments while receiving them is also a very good way to reduce undue claims to the dry cleaner. If a cleaner is charging ten dollars to clean a suit, and the customer did not notice a bad rip in the lining (or worse, hid a home ink stain removal attempt using Acetone on an acetate lining - result--melted lining), the cleaner has to spend HIS labor at HIS expense to fix YOUR problem that was there in the first place. It might take one suit of sales revenue to offset the cost of fixing a long large tear, or the sales revenue of ten to 15 suits to cover the cost of re-lining one suit jacket. Worst of all, it might cost a half day's revenue to replace an expensive designer suit. Like someone said, perhaps a cleaner is charging so much because he ruins 10 percent of the clothes left in his care. you consumers know that the cost of all theft and shoplifting is built into the price of other goods and services you buy? If you ain't paying, someone else bought.

So, as you can see...I've only described a small portion of all the steps and concerns that go into receiving a few garments from one customer, and I haven't even left the front counter/receiving garments step of many steps required to clean, press, inspect, assemble, and return clothes back to this one customer. Now, multiply this by all the other customers a dry cleaner serves.

In a small shop, one or a few people committed to perfection can juggle all these procedures. In a bigger shop, it takes much more planning and procedure development to accomplish the same goal of perfection. In a large chain of stores, its becomes very difficult to keep everyone going in the same direction, to the same service standards. I'm not saying it can't be done, I know it can, I've seen it, I've stood in it, I've worked it, and I help develop such qulity and service oriented perfection with my clients.

It all starts with the attitude of the owner, and then his staff. If the owner cares and devotes himself to making quality, service, and perfection happen, it can be done. If the owner has an attitude of entitlement, arrogance, or 'I know it all', well, its not going to go so well. If his staff only care about the paycheck, not so much is going to happen after the owner level. Talking about it, blogging lip service, marketing your intentions are NO replacement for actually delivering the perfectly completed job. That's why I say, any cleaner, regardless of reputation, size, or skill, is only as good as that last garment his employee handed out. If YOU, the customer are not satisfied, WE, the cleaner, have failed.
post #41 of 41

Anyone know of a good dry cleaner in Shanghai?

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