Would Washio laundry service work in Hoboken?

Washio laundryYou might have seen the buzz surrounding a wash and fold / dry cleaning pickup and delivery service called Washio. And I’ll tell you, the reason they may succeed (in the beginning) is because they’re following a certain trend that scoops up countless suckers by the second!

For starters – we had a similar service in Hoboken four years ago called Garment Valet. They’re currently just in the metro Boston area. Part of the reason they failed here in Hoboken because with all the dry cleaners and laundromats in town – the $1.25 per pound price was too much in the eyes of potential customers. However, they clearly missed the “magic formula” that transforms people into willing zombies.

What is the magic formula for today’s startups?

That “magic formula” is exactly what Washio is using, and many startups use the same spellbinding tactic:

  • Have a slick “app” for your service.
  • Use mind-melding words like: “greener,” “carbon footprint,” and “eco-friendly.”
  • Throw in “charity” talk and “ukulele music” and you’ll be well on your way with 8-figure seed capital.

Now the funny thing is that Washio charges $1.60 per pound for laundry! Not including delivery! That’s 25% MORE than what “expensive” Garment Valet used to charge here in Hoboken – and people are now all of a sudden soaking this up full speed ahead?

Washio isn’t in the Hoboken area (yet), but have presence in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

They’re getting lots of press – and the fact that angel investors are pouring millions into this venture makes you think they’re connected via some secret industry side-door.

But this will be tricky for them. Because even though their “buzz” may be good on social media – they can fall just as quickly by negative press that “goes viral” if they don’t maintain an utterly perfect record of performance.

However, in the end – they might make a splash, but I don’t see how their model is sustainable at those prices (which will certainly go up when investors wonder why they’re not making any money) and who knows what kind of quality they’ll be able to achieve. Initial over/under for bankruptcy: 1.9 years.