“What I wanted to do was make laundry sexy and fun.”
I had two young children and was working, and I’d got way behind on my washing and ironing. And I thought that the easiest way to get on top of it was to find a local laundrette, take my washing there and get it done all in the morning. And catch up, basically! So I tried to find a local laundrette and realised that there wasn’t one. And that was it!
We’ve got one Bubbles in Wolverton; one in Bletchley – which was the original; and then we’ve got one in Northampton. But there was absolutely nothing fascinating about doing laundry. And what I wanted to do was make laundry sexy and fun. We’ve got 50’s music playing all the time and we really try to camp up the 50’s feel. The staff are called the Bubblets, and every time we get a new member of staff, we get a 50s stylist to come in, and take their picture all styled up in the 50s.
Our vision for the coin-operated side of our business, was to “guarantee to make our customers feel bright and sunny even on their dull and dreary wash days”. We’ve got people who’ve got washing machines at home, but they know that if they put the washing on at home they’re going to do the hovering, they’re going to polish the sideboard, they’re going to do all sorts of other housework…
But when they come here, they sit down, we make them a coffee, they can charge their phone, read a book. Just sit back and wait. It’s a little bit of calmness in an otherwise chaotic world. And for those people that don’t want to sit and wait, then we have this – two minutes of your week to do all of your washing. One minute to drop it to us and one minute to pick it up.
We do a lot of ironing and we do a lot of service washing for people. We’ve got an App, so people can download the Bubbles App and book online. They give us a time slot, we go and pick up, we take it back to them at an agreed time.
We also do individual garment processing. Nowadays it’s not as necessary to have things dry-cleaned. Most garments and items are washable. So wet care, as it’s called, is a more environmentally friendly alternative to dry cleaning for individual garments.
We have got an environmental policy and try as much as possible to be conscious of our footprint. And we do a range of products called Fill, which are made by a chemist in Northampton. They are household cleaners which are refillables. So customers buy a glass bottle with a spray or a pump, and they come in and they choose hand soap or fabric conditioner or glass cleaner, and they just have their glass bottles refilled.
And we have introduced our seamstress service through our sister company ‘Alterations and Repairs’. Most dry cleaners have got someone who does their alterations for them, so it made sense – we can do it all in house. And when you’re doing people’s laundry and it’s oh can you mend that for me, can you take the trousers up. We can say, yes, we can do it. If it’s made of fabric we can deal with it!
We’ve got a studio where there’s a private fitting room. It’s not just bridal, but we can do wedding dresses and bridesmaids dresses alterations here. And we’ve done bespoke items. We’ve made memory bears, cushions, taken up curtains, fixed rips in jeans, mended a judo belt, and then there are people who’ve got treasured items in their wardrobe that they don’t want to throw out… so there’s a need for it.
So, yes, we are guaranteed to make you feel bright and sunny even on dull and dreary wash days! That’s what we live to do. This is a little place where we hope our service is focused on what the customer needs.