Licue-Sneakers, Sneaker Cleaning Specialty Shop
I came up with the idea for this service because of the needs of customers visiting my laundromat.
As more and more customers asked for their sneakers to be cleaned, I had a gut feeling that this would be an interesting service.
With the COVID, lifestyles have changed and more people now wear sneakers than leather shoes and heels.
The range of users is extensive, from children to the elderly. Some families even clean their baby's first sneaker and keep them as a precious treasure.
Recently, both fashion and sports manufacturers are focusing on the development of sneakers as one of their main categories.
It is also difficult for consumers to clean stains from leather and suede shoes. In addition, the dirt between the laces is also removed cleanly, so it is a very happy moment when a customer leaves with a smile, saying that “the shoes look like new”.
Cafe management is our starting point
Our origins were in café management. One day I visited Portland, USA, to get some inspiration for expanding my café’s services. I was struck by the American-style laundromat I saw there.
This stylish and streamlined service, where you can bring your own laundry in, was a service that did not exist in Japan 18 years ago, so the moment I saw it, I decided to “do this service in Japan”.
On this idea, my current business partner was surprised and said, “Didn’t you go to the USA to research cafes?”
We then took immediate action, launching our own service, getting a good response and setting up a franchise headquarters. We gradually built up a network of WASH&FOLD franchise partners, providing laundromats to do our customers’ washing on their behalf.
This job can be said as low-key. Because it is not an easy type of business to make money and it is needed to be loved by the local community.
In the USA, WASH&FOLD is a common and well-established service; WASH&FOLD was the name of this service. However, WASH&FOLD was not a familiar service in Japan, so to make this known, we started our WASH&FOLD service in the second rented location so that customers could see our staff folding clothes after cleaning, thereby making them aware of our brand and service. We provide stylish and cool bags so that our customers do not hesitate to use our laundry service. Customers fill these bags full of clothes to be washed and we offer a service where we wash them all. The shop staff carefully fold the clothes after washing and hand them over to the customer. We also offer a laundry delivery service. As an aside, some male customers are particular about the way their clothes are folded.
Cool and ecological practices
Everyone who visits our shop feels that the space is cozy and comfortable, like a café.
This is intended to give young staff working at WASH&FOLD a sense of pride in working for a venture company.
No matter what industry or sector we are in, we have a mission to promote business sustainably while putting the ‘SDGs’ into our practice in the future.
We also continued to try and introduce specialist sneaker dryers.
We have two services: one is to wash sneakers by machine and the other by hand.
The hand-washing service is our know-how. Today, some sneaker enthusiasts have 100 pairs of sneakers on their shelves at home, and some bring 20 pairs of sneakers to our shop.
It is our desire to ensure that our customers keep their sneakers forever and that is the basis of this business.
Collaboration with sneaker sports manufacturers
A campaign to present our customers with Japanese paper shoe boxes, made from recycled shoe waste, as part of a mutual branding strategy between the manufacturers and us. Manufacturers and commercial operators are also very supportive of our concept and are responding well to our business.
We also make it possible the style combined with Licue & Sneakers and WASH&FOLD.
In addition, as Licue & Sneakers is a one-operation type of business, we would like to encourage conscious young people to try this business.
I believe that we can create world-class content from Japan, and my colleagues and I spend our days encouraging each other to improve in order to achieve this goal.