Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathy Huntebrinker.
Hi Kathy, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
My husband, Mark, and I had our first child in May, 2006 and I decided to stay home with our new daughter. We decided at that time to use cloth diapers and went with a cloth diaper service (Baby Care Diaper Service). We soon found out they were interested in selling the business and we bought it 3 months later. I ran the business while being a stay at home mom and we outsourced the washing. The business (and our family) grew over the next few years and in 2013 Mark left his day job. We then added on commercial laundry and beginning in 2017 we added residential laundry delivery service. We changed the name of our business to Simply Clean Laundry Service to encompass all three aspects of our business (commercial, residential, and diaper service). We have continued to grow from starting out on our dining room table sorting diapers to now owning our building and machines and we currently have 11 employees.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
We have continued to grow over the years, but there have been struggles of balancing fast growth and our family. There have been many late nights of getting work done after the kids have gone to bed, but it has always been worth it to see the business continue to grow and provide great service to small and medium sized businesses in our community. We were seeing amazing growth at the end of 2019 and early 2020 so we were managing that increased workload, then all of a sudden Covid hit and business dropped almost in half. Like many businesses, we had to adjust to less work, new restrictions, and weathering the storm that followed with regards to supply shortages and other struggles. Then after 3-4 months, small businesses and residential customers started coming back so we were able to hire back everyone and we are now larger and stronger than we were prior to covid. As I look back, it was truly like having to own multiple businesses as we grew, then scaled back, to growing again to what we are today. We have been very lucky to have built a team over the years of family like employees who have been dedicated to helping us throw thick and thin.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Simply Clean Laundry Service?
We do have three different segments to our business. Our cloth diaper delivery service that provides cloth diapers to babies and toddlers. We pick up the used diapers once a week and deliver a week’s worth of clean diapers for them. With our commercial laundry segment we wash any customer-owned laundry. Some of our customers include hair salons, massage therapists, dentists, dermatologists, and maid services. Our fastest growing segment is definitely our residential wash and fold delivery business. We pick up laundry from people’s home or apartment then wash, dry, and fold it and return it to them two days later. Since Covid, it’s grown at an even faster pace as people have gotten more used to delivery services and having things delivered like Door Dash, Instacart, etc.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Don’t try to do too much too fast. We have always preferred steady growth over quick growth. It’s allowed us time to adjust to the new growth in terms of hiring or purchasing equipment. We started the diaper service on the side in case things didn’t work out. Once we knew we could scale the business, we started preparing for Mark to quit his corporate job to take on more work. From there, we’ve steadily moved up in building size and employees to accommodate new levels of work. Starting a business as a side endeavor can make for some long days, but it is a great way to test the waters without a ton of risk. It’s worked really well for us.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.simplycleanlaundry.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/simplycleanlaundry/
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- Twitter: https://twitter.com/SimplyCleanSTL
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7sjgYtNaTyNJqq_V2oJxsg