The happy month of the year is upon us and we have the chance and burden of closing out the business year and preparing for the next year that is right around the corner. Now is the gay and festive time of the year and we see the costumes that we are asked to clean, alter, repair and press to complete satisfaction in order to allow the wearers to present themselves in the manner in which they want to be seen. Please re-read the last sentence and make this your new mantra for your business.
Clothing at one time was a simple necessity then a part of it slowly morphed into costumes so we can communicate a certain image. We are now where almost anything can be a statement such as cowboy boots in a large city, ultra skinny jeans, designer jeans, farm coats, Ugg boots, green hair, mustaches, sporty cars and other non-essentials. You see the need to be recognized everyday in your business whether it is clothing or customers attitudes. It almost seems like everything in society is becoming a facade and people will pay almost any amount of money to project their image, whatever it is.
If you haven’t already done so, decorate your front lobby with attractive Christmas decorations that will add a bit of elegance to the business. This is an excellent time to really put your best foot forward and especially to new customers that may not have used your services before.
The season will bring in all kinds of party clothes for the big party, gala or ball. Make sure you can do a high quality job of accepting the garments for servicing, cleaning, stain removal and finishing or pressing. On the front counter you will need to encourage your CSRs to complement the customer on their choice of garment and how well they will look in them. All customers really want when they utilize our services is a friendly and attractive place to do business and the business is to do a professional job of returning a garment beautifully done, properly packaged, fairly priced and ready when it is promised.
This time of year will usually bring us some velvet, acetate, silk and satin weave garments to be cleaned. Be sure you know how to properly remove stains from velvet; safely use the steam gun while working on satin garments and test silks for dye bleeding and lack of tensile strength. For your pressers, a quick reminder of using enough vacuum to completely dry a garment before going to the next lay will produce a nice looking and feeling garment.
There is no need to explain here each and every step a garment must go through in order to produce a costume to wear and be proud. These steps for quality work should be second nature to you and all of your employees. If we try to wait to the last month of the year to learn how to do things properly I don’t think that is quite enough time.
This past year seems to have gone incredibility fast or painfully slow. I suppose the speed of last year in passing is depending on whether or not your business is declining, remaining the same, or improving is a composite of the unceasing political advertising we have been exposed to, the healthiness of the business, our ages and numerous other things we are or have been exposed to. Sometimes I wonder if we can get the EPA to make rules and regulations on politics, and then enforce them. Hopefully, the next year will be a bit more sane in our society with reduced distractions and we will all be able to get back to the business of living and being happy.
With an improving economy and more people working than we have had in the recent past we should be able to begin (or continue) our long range focus for the business including a good marketing plan, efficient advertising and increased knowledge of the technical aspects of the business and what customers expect when their clothing is returned to them. Timely meetings or training sessions with staff should be high on the list for making a team and helping them to improve. This could be as simple as sitting down with your cleaner/spotter and going over the proper way to handle garments during processing such as classification, building loads, preventing or limiting dye bleeding of garments, inspections of garments after cleaning, hanging in order to make them easier to press, safe and effective stain removal and the use of spotting chemicals. If there is a lack of bleaching or brightening of garments this should also be part of the learning during the sit-down sessions.
Training for the CSRs could be about telephone etiquette, customer relations, handling of garments and properly marking them after asking the customer if there are any stains or something else on the garments. It could also include staying focused on their jobs and especially if they do more than one job in the plant. Finishers and pressers need to know the intricacies of beautifully handling every lay of every garment. Reminding them to use plenty of vacuum in order to set creases and prevent wrinkling after finishing.
Next month we can review the essential things that make any business run properly and also focus in on some of the things that make a textile cleaning business become great with thorough and efficient processing of garments and having a cheerful and happy team of employees. Now, enjoy the season as it only comes once a year!