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What do you get when you combine the Uber’s business model with the onerous chore of doing laundry? You get Lavanda. The London-based startup operates on a simple premise: You hate doing laundry, and if it's convenient enough, you'll probably pay someone else to take it off their hands.
Lavanda isn’t the first internet-based, on-demand laundry service. (In fact, we covered Washio last year.) But unlike Washio, which allows you to schedule pick ups well in advance, Lavanda is all about on-demand service. When you place a request, your laundry is picked up roughly 24 minutes later and returned within 24 hours, at the time of your choice.
That speedy turnaround is thanks to what co-founder Guy Westlake calls a network of hyper-local, self-employed Lavanda Pros. Really, anyone with a washer and a smartphone can become one, and the company provides the necessary training and special equipment to tackle all laundry needs. It’s one of the biggest differences between Lavanda and other outsourced laundering services, many of which rely on partner launderettes for the actual cleaning.
Not only is it fast, but Lavanda also prides itself on making the service as customer-friendly as possible. No special sorting is required, extra services like starch on shirt collars come free of charge, and they even hand-wash delicates that might not fare so well in the machine.
Wondering where the name came from? Westlake told us that it's a Latin word meaning "for the purpose of washing." He also explained that lavender has long been used to help refresh clothes and disguise odors. In fact, Lavanda includes handmade bags of lavender with every order as a finishing touch.
Pricing charts are available on Lavanda's website, and will also be found in iOS and Android apps that are coming soon. Dry cleaning isn’t on offer just yet, but the company's FAQ suggests it's on the docket.
For now, the service is only available in London. But should Lavanda eventually expand to the U.S., it may find some well-entrenched competition. Remember Washio? According to Techcrunch, it has started a new service called Washio Now that offers the same pick-up and turnaround time as Lavanda. Maybe the Brits are onto something here.