Own business: sneaker dry cleaning

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What is a dry cleaning sneaker? This question is asked by people who hear this expression for the first time. Sneaker dry cleaners or dry cleaners for sneakers began to appear actively in many Russian cities. About what kind of business it is, what you need to know to open it and how much you can earn from it, read our article.

Sneaker dry cleaners are specialized dry cleaners that provide a range of services for professional cleaning and care of sneakers. As you know, sneakers are very picky about regular washing, so independent experiments often end in death. Startups in this area began to appear quite recently. The Russian pioneer, the Sole Fresh company, opened its first collection point only in September 2015. Two years later, sneaker cleaning services can be found not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also in other large Russian cities that either bought a franchise or, inspired by an example, began to create something of their own.

By the way, an interesting fact. In Europe and the United States, professional cleaning of sneakers, although it occurs, is quite rare. It is possible that in “unwashed” Russia the problem with dirt on shoes is much more urgent than in the comfortable West. In September 2017, some media outlets talked about sneaker cleaner Dominik Trischman from the German city of Kassel. So, Dominik claimed that there were no analogues to his mini-project called Sneaker Cleaner in Germany at the time of the interview. Therefore, if your first thought at the word “sneaker dry cleaning” was something along the lines of “another foreign dead business idea not for our area”, then you are mistaken.

Snickermania or where the legs grow from

If you ever pay attention to other people’s shoes, then you could not help but notice that sneakers have become #1 shoes. The word “sneakers” here also means other sports shoes – these are sneakers, slip-ons, sneakers … We will not go into classification now. Moreover, a tracksuit with sneakers – neighbors are already infrequent, because sneakers have become everyday and versatile. They are worn with street and business wear, with jeans and dresses, with trousers and skirts, shorts and sundresses. Yes, with anything.

Combining any style of clothing with sneakers is a global trend. People’s lives have become more dynamic, and sneakers are the most suitable for the needs of the time. For example, the role of women in the world has changed radically, which has affected the decline in sales of shoes with heels and stilettos. Preference is more and more given to the convenience that sports shoes provide.

Sneakermania is easily backed up by numbers. According to the Fashion Consulting Group, sports shoes already account for more than half of the Russian market. In the spring-summer and autumn-winter collections of shoes in 2016, the share of sneakers in the men’s assortment was 50-60%, in the women’s 50-70%.

What do sneaker dry cleaners offer?

Sneaker dry cleaners mainly provide comprehensive shoe cleaning, although fractional services such as cleaning just the soles are also possible. The essence of complex cleaning is the complete removal of any external and internal contaminants, the elimination of stains, ingrained dirt and stains. Additional service – easy restoration. This is tinting materials, restoring the shape of shoes with the help of special spacers, gluing the sole, removing creases. Related services – washing or replacing laces, disinfection, treatment of interior surfaces with fragrances, coating shoes with grease to add shine.

The gradation of prices primarily depends on the materials and fabrics from which the shoes are made. There are three categories of prices: fabric / rubber sneakers, synthetic and artificial leather sneakers, leather and suede shoes. Each material requires its own cleaning program and its own cleaning agents. The main difference is that shoes made of leather and suede cannot be machine washed – only hand washing is suitable here.

The cleaning of collectible and rare sneakers is included in the category of special orders. They are approached with special attention and tenderness – again, only hand wash is used. Of course, there are no strict restrictions on the type of shoes accepted: a sneaker dry cleaner can accept winter boots, ugg boots, classic shoes and boots.

The principle of operation of sneaker dry cleaners is quite simple: the client either brings dirty shoes to a stationary collection point, and then picks up the completed order, or uses the services of a courier who delivers the client’s precious shoes in a special protective container. The cleaning itself usually takes no more than 2-5 days, but can increase up to 4-10 days. According to the founders of Sole Fresh, the period of work will increase if the result does not satisfy the masters themselves.

Who are the clients of sneaker dry cleaners?

In principle, now anyone can wear sneakers. Schoolchildren who want to brag to their peers, as well as serious uncles-entrepreneurs who collect and cherish rare and expensive types of sneakers, can apply for cleaning sneakers. It can be hipsters, street culture and fashion lovers, dancers and football players, healthy lifestyle lovers, the creative class and other individuals who have a soft spot for sneakers.

Basically, of course, the target audience is young people living in million-plus cities. Moreover, if you look closely at the contingent of popular sneaker dry cleaners on social networks, it turns out that in most cases (more than 70%) these are guys rather than girls.

The dominant age in half of the cases for both men and women is 19-25 years. Within 17.5 – 21% – the audience is under 18 years old, 19.5-26% – aged 26-35 years.

Regardless of age, all these people have one thing in common – a love for sneakers, especially when it comes to expensive or branded types. Adherents of the sneaker culture believe that sneakers can tell about the inner world of a person more than anything else. So the idea that “we are all different, but we are united by sneakers” should become the main philosophy of the project.

Sneaker dry cleaning technology

The first thing to think about when opening a sneaker dry cleaners is technology. Here you can go in different ways. The first way is to join those who have already mastered the art of cleaning sneakers. The second is to study for yourself. In the presence of the Internet, social networks, training video tutorials on Youtube, the second option is quite feasible. As they say, there would be a desire. To begin with, it is better to conduct a trial period – to experiment with different types of ownerless or old sneakers in order to evaluate the capabilities of different cleaning products and not be afraid of destroying a few pairs of anyone. After the first results, you can test the technology on the sneakers of friends and acquaintances. Significant expenses other than your nerves and patience will not be needed – chemistry, brushes and shoe struts can be purchased without having almost nothing in your pocket. Generally, the costs of this type of business are low. The main consumables are cleaning supplies, other variable costs are water and electricity.

If you really get down to business thoroughly, then in addition to chemistry, brushes, spacers for shoes, you will also need quite expensive equipment. In one of the interviews, the founder of the Fresh Look sneaker dry cleaner in Minsk, Sergei Slyusarenko, mentioned that he uses a small industrial dry cleaner machine that can hold up to 8 kg of clothes to wash shoes. Spending money on larger machines, in his opinion, does not make sense, because you can only wash one pair of sneakers at a time. Throwing two pairs into the drum is already fraught with equipment breakdown or damage to sneakers. If you believe the prices presented on the Internet, the cost of such a machine will be more than 400 thousand rubles. It should be remembered that such machines are only suitable for synthetics, but not for leather with suede.

There are also special devices for professional steam cleaning, drying and disinfection of shoes or, more simply, steam generators. A presentation of the principles of their work can also be found on the Internet. In the videos, advanced shoemakers use steam guns to steam the shoes inside and out, clean them, and then dry and disinfect them. Steam generators are good for leather, suede, fabric or canvas. Such devices are produced in Italy and at the time of writing the article cost in the region of 145-150 thousand rubles. Of course, it’s not worth it to immediately purchase expensive equipment without learning how to pick up brushes and without understanding the features of various fabrics.

Sneaker dry cleaners

In principle, no one obliges you to have some kind of premises, conclude a lease agreement, carry out repairs, hang a sign, and so on. Moreover, the business is new and the risk of burnout is extremely high. All procedures can be carried out somewhere at home, and the collection of shoes can be organized with the help of a courier. Another option is to open a permanent shoe collection point, put a rack, a computer there and put a person in charge of it, who will take and issue orders. A reasonable approach in this case is to find an option with a minimum rent. You won’t need a large area – just a few square meters will be enough to have a place to turn around. The same Sole Fresh started from a minimum – only 300 thousand rubles were spent on the start of the project, and the creators rented the premises on a moored ship with a minimum rate.

Promotion of sneaker dry cleaners

Dry cleaning sneakers is a know-how. Therefore, simply opening a reception point, creating a website or a page on social networks, drawing a logo and, calmly, idly waiting for customers is the path to guaranteed failure. The project is simply obliged to deal with the formation of demand. A whole community of sneaker culture fans should develop around dry cleaning. Here, the best way to make yourself known is to hold promotions during various events, festivals and exhibitions. On them, employees of a sneaker dry cleaner can clean sneakers for everyone for free, conduct master classes in shoe care, and raffle certificates for free services. You can launch a sneaker car around the city that cleans people’s sneakers, you can open a museum of old sneakers by organizing a massive urban collection of old shoes… Naturally,

The more informational noise around the project, the better. Organizational skills and the ability to build relationships will greatly help here. For example, Sole Fresh partners with shoe brands like Nike, Vans and Kixbox, who in turn provide them with prizes for competitions. Good partners can be anticafes, creative spaces, coworking centers, barbershops, fitness centers and other places where the target audience lives. If visitors to such places do not know anything about your existence, this is very bad. They should talk about you, write about you, tell others. Involve local opinion leaders – bloggers, rappers, popular presenters who can promote you.

Until sneaker dry cleaners become mainstream, the project is best positioned as mega-cool. The fact is that “budget dry cleaning of sneakers” cannot be in principle. If you tell people that we will clean your sneakers for 50-100 rubles, then it will look cheap, people will think that they are trying to breed them for the last pennies. You should not count on a penniless audience – they will not come to clean their sneakers even for free. On the contrary, the initially expensive presentation of the project and not the lowest prices will emphasize the seriousness of your intentions and help attract an audience from more affluent castes.

Of course, the entire PR campaign of the dry-cleaning sneaker must be backed up by action. The cleaning result must be at a high level, otherwise the game is not worth the candle. At the beginning, you will need to gain the trust of customers, so each order must be recorded on a photo in the style of before / after, take feedback from the owner, take pictures of him, shoot a video. On the website and in social networks, there should be something like a file cabinet of your successful work with examples of cleaned sneakers of various materials. At the same time, you should try not to jump above your head – if the owner brings shoes that are clearly not recoverable, then there is no need to promise to perform a miracle. You should also be careful about accepting dubious shoes and Chinese fakes – during washing, the material of such sneakers may behave inappropriately. Always remember

How much do sneaker dry cleaners earn

There are no clear boundaries. Of course, you should not believe those who promise you sky-high profits, and you should not worry too much about skeptics who will definitely tell you that “no one needs it.” Examples of the first startups show what is needed. Whether you will sit on single sales, or earn a hundred or two thousand rubles a month net on your business will depend on you, your ambitions and promotion strategy.

If you look at the prices of existing sneaker dry cleaners, where service prices range from 450 for a standard cleaning of fabric sneakers to 2,500 rubles for cleaning limited-edition shoes, you can roughly imagine what you can expect. If we are talking about 70-80 orders per month at the lowest prices, then this will be more of a side job than a business. If you plan to make at least 150-200 orders for an average check of 1000 rubles, then this is already something more serious.

Sole Fresh completed over 1,000 sneaker cleaning orders in its first three months as a sneaker dry cleaner. This means that counting on 300 standard orders per month and 10 orders per day is quite possible and achievable figure. This number can be even lower if the client orders additional services, such as shoe repair.

Sneaker dry cleaners: what’s next

Let’s say that you have mastered the technology of cleaning sneakers, promoted yourself, got regular customers, some monthly amount that you can count on … And then what? What if the fashion for cleaning sneakers passes? Suddenly, stronger competitors will appear in the city? What if sneaker cleaners can be bought at any store?

So that customers not only do not run away, but also call their friends to clean their sneakers, you can turn a dry-cleaning sneaker into a kind of car service. A car service where not only professional “mechanics” work, but where you can buy “spare parts”. For example, laces. Or you can buy care products or for washing “cars” – your own sneaker cleaners, wet wipes, water-repellent impregnations, and so on. Or sell, finally, the sneakers themselves. For example, the rarest or the most dirt-resistant. After all, if you can be trusted to clean your favorite sneakers, why wouldn’t you be trusted to buy sneakers?

Popular questions about sneaker dry cleaners:

💡 What is dry cleaning sneaker?

Answering the question what is dry cleaning sneaker can be said.
Sneaker dry cleaners are specialized dry cleaners that provide a range of services for professional cleaning and care of sneakers. As you know, sneakers are very picky about regular washing, so independent experiments often end in death. Startups in this area began to appear quite recently. The Russian pioneer, the Sole Fresh company, opened its first collection point only in September 2015. Two years later, sneaker cleaning services can be found not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also in other large Russian cities that either bought a franchise or, inspired by an example, began to create something of their own.

💡 What do sneaker dry cleaners offer?

Sneaker dry cleaners mainly provide comprehensive shoe cleaning, although fractional services such as cleaning just the soles are also possible. The essence of complex cleaning is the complete removal of any external and internal contaminants, the elimination of stains, ingrained dirt and stains.

Additional service – easy restoration. This is tinting materials, restoring the shape of shoes with the help of special spacers, gluing the sole, removing creases. Related services – washing or replacing laces, disinfection, treatment of interior surfaces with fragrances, coating shoes with grease to add shine.

💡 Who are the clients of sneaker dry cleaners?

In principle, now anyone can wear sneakers. Schoolchildren who want to brag to their peers, as well as serious uncles-entrepreneurs who collect and cherish rare and expensive types of sneakers, can apply for cleaning sneakers. It can be hipsters, street culture and fashion lovers, dancers and football players, healthy lifestyle lovers, the creative class and other individuals who have a soft spot for sneakers.

Basically, of course, the target audience is young people living in million-plus cities. Moreover, if you look closely at the contingent of popular sneaker dry cleaners on social networks, it turns out that in most cases (more than 70%) these are guys rather than girls.

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