Keep your head up…

I have busted my butt for many many years. I love the company I work for and live my job. But, sometimes you but your butt for a company and they take advantage or neglect to even notice all the hard work you do for them. I have been with this company for 18 plus years…and I generally just let things slide and roll off my back but recently I was compared to another manager just like myself within the company as we were equals and I stood up for myself saying that we were not equals although we are both part of the same team. And we are…we are all part of a big team. But my knowledge about our industry and abilities within our industry is far greater than that of the other manager and I stated this. 

I am not trying to be arrogant. Although it usually doesn’t go over well when a woman stands up and states that her worth is greater than she is being given credit for. I know my self worth although I do not normally say anything I feel that I should stand up for myself.

I was right! 

The owner is finally taking notice. Confidence is all people need. It took a lot for me to actually say anything. For years I have been told how I was as good as other people and although I knew that I was better than some I was afraid to say anything. I didn’t want to seem arrogant or cocky. I didn’t say anything with attitude or anger. I was confident and matter of fact about what I said. Like he should have known. It has helped and I am even happier at my job than I was before. I didn’t think that could happe. But it has.

You have to stand up for you! If you don’t then know one else will. 

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Do you know your Dry Cleaners?

When you drop off your clothes at a cleaners do you know the people handling your clothes? 

You might be new to an area and you are looking for a dry cleaners to take care of your clothes. So you research them. You look at the reviews in the Internet. Problem with that is are the bad reviews planted by competitors and are the good reviews planted by the cleaners themselves. 

So how do you know? 

Ask you neighbors. Ask your coworkers. They should know the best Dry Cleaners in your area. Then take some clothes into the top 2-3 and ask questions when dropping them off. 

The counter staff is not always very knowledgeable about the process… But a good counter staff will get you talking to the person that does. If that person is not in ask for them to call you when they are. If a company cared about the customer they will care about the items you drop off.

Get to know the people at the counter that handle you clothes. I always like a personal connection with my customers. I want my customers to feel comfortable leaving their clothes in my hands. I know their children and when they get married. The personal touch is always important when turning over your personal items.

When you pick up your items look them over. Make sure before you leave that they are in the condition you expect. I say this for 2 reasons. 1) they might possibly be able to fix an error right there 2) you don’t want to get home just to find it …makes it feel like a wasted trip or that you have to go all the way back to say something. 

No Dry Cleaners is perfect and can make mistakes and sometimes customers do not communicate with them when they do…they just don’t come back. It is hard fix a problem when you don’t know there is one.

When you find that one that just feels right make sure you get to know the manager and their name. That is the person that will be able to fix any problem that may possibly arise in the future. 

Dry cleaning…how it works.

Dry cleaners… 

What are they? A business designed to take care of your clothing and household items.

How does it work? It is not a simple process. But I will explain in full detail at another time. The short version… They take your items check for spots, rips, holes and color loss. Attempt to pre spot then clean. Afterwards the items are pressed. 

How are prices created? Well now that is very tricky. But these are items that the company must pay for in order for your item to be done. 

Personnel: 

counter person: that took in your items, 

check in person: that looks your items over and puts them into the system and sends them on, 

dry cleaner: this person double checks the items for any additional spots, prespots any stains,  sorts the items by carelabel and color, put the items through the cleaning process, checks the items after to see if any additional work need done, the item is then sent to be pressed.

Prefinisher: this person steams out or tops the items for the presser to finish. Sport coats for example have formers put into the sleeves and clamps are out on vents if any and then steam and hot air are pushed through the items gently.

Presser/finisher: this person looks over the garment for any touch ups needed for the upper body of the item. Looks for pleats and Ruffles and steams and/or presses them back into place.

Inspector: this person inspects the items to make sure that there are not spots or missing buttons or seams that need repairs, and make sure they are pressed up to that companies standards, assembles the item on the correct order, when the order is completed the order is sent on to the bagging station.

Bagger: this person looks over the order to insure that the customers preferences are done (I.e. creases or no creases in pants, bag or no bag for the order). Puts the items in proper order and tries to insure all items are there and accounted for, items are connected together by whatever means that cleaners uses (string or twisty ties).

Hanger: this person attaches the tag onto the item and puts the order on the line or conveyor by whatever order that company uses (numerical or alphabetical).

Pickup: the person that gets the order/orders for you when you pick up and takes your payment.

Management: person or persons helping in all areas and overseeing the entire process helping to ensure the quality you are expecting. 

Then there are the other items involved in processing your item/items. 

Utilities, rent or building payment, cost of equipment, hangers, plastic for bagging, computer software or paper products used for the tagging process, phones for communications, And the chemicals used for the spotting and cleaning process. I am sure I am missing some of the smaller items involved in the process. 

Trying to come up with pricing is a very very tricky process because the cost of supplies and utilities is constantly going up and down. And as expecting wages goes up that doesn’t make it any easier.

What is the most important thing to a dry cleaners? Making their customers happy and return customers. 

Admittedly dry cleaners cannot please every customer every time. They try to do the best they can but they are human like the rest of us.

Passion

These are a few of the people I work with on a daily basis. We work hard and try to have some fun doing that. I am passionate about making you look great! It is so funny because my kids get frustrated with me. I see them with wrinkled shirts or shorts in desperate need of being pressed and I of course tell them 

“You know I work at a drycleaners and I know some really awesome pressers that can make _____ look so much better.”

They laugh at me and say…these are my raggedy lay around the house _____.  I have no response. Lol

Shirts and blouses should be pressed and collars folded at just that right spot. Golf shirts should have that collar and placket pressed so that you look sharp at that first glance. Sport coats should have those lapels pressed and folded at just the right place for single or double breasted. Ties should be steamed and sides rolling for that nice just bought look. Dresses now those are tricky. The top should be pressed so that it flows gently over you to meet the waistline then flowing down to bring out that femininity. Pants should be pressed with that sharp crease from the pleat to to cuff…and for those that prefer no crease pressed so that the pants run down the leaf and just over the top of the shoe finishing that professional and relaxed business person look.

I just feel that if your clothes look great then you feel great in them. There is that old saying.

“The clothes make the person.”

Well I agree that you feel better when your in some well fitted and well pressed clothes. Unless it is your Saturday vegging out relaxing in your sweatpants day. 

I am also very particular about household items. I like the drape pleats to be pressed and sharp. I like the linen tablecloths and napkins to be bright and crisp. I love those comforters to be fluffy and smooth. 

Wedding Dresses… My favorite and my nemesis… I love wedding dresses and hate them at the same time. I love taking a wedding dress that has been put through the ringer and making it look almost if not new again! But there are those dresses that sometimes make that an impossible task. Silk wedding dresses are the hardest to work on. I am always trying the latest and the greatest for stain removal on silk trying to bring them back to life and sometimes it just cannot be done….not unless you are willing to pay a very high price to have each little inch to me carefully cleaned by methods that take hours to do. And I am talking hundreds to a thousand dollars for the time that would take. Some have paid that price and it took weeks of spare time devoted to a dress to bring it back one inch at a time. I have restored vintage dresses. But to see the smiles on the faces of the owners of those items it just makes me happy to see that joy!!!

When we do alterations on your clothing items I like to make sure that those altered areas are pressed out and lay flat so that it is un-noticeable that any alterations have been done. Better fit better feel. 

Basically I try to ensure that you have the best experience you can with a dry cleaners. 

That being said … We are human and occasionally we can make a mistake. It is how we handle such mistake that makes your experience good or bad. I have made failures in that regard and there is no excuse for me. All I can say is that I learn from those mistakes and hopefully never make the same on twice.

Thank you for reading this and I hope you have an awesome day tomorrow!

Workaholic 

I am (admittedly) a workaholic. I do love my job and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. You see I manage a dry cleaners. Now the first half off my day consists of getting the items due that day cleaned, pressed, inspected, bagged and put into place. Now while I am trying to make sure that is all happening with a nice flow I get interrupted… Not always a bad thing but can get a little like this…

I am bagging an order of say 12 pieces… Which takes 3 to 4 bags normally…I get one group bagged I have a phone call…while on that call I have 2 to 3 employees asking me questions…after the call is over I have a customer wanting to talk to me in the lobby…done with customer and an employee needs me to come and look at their press something isn’t right…done with that the owner wants to ask me a question in the office…I am coming down from there and the Libby is full of customers so I help get them waited on and on their way…done and come back to start bagging again to find that for the past hour no one else has bagged one item. So joe the bagging line is much much longer. 

Now not everyday is like this but more often than not I get pulled in 5 different directions at the same time. I love the challenge but I do have to gather my thoughts sometimes. Which is hard because even if I run to the bathroom real quick it never fails that as soon as I get in there I hear…” Kim, are you in there? You have a customer in the lobby waiting for you.” Lol

Now for the last part of my day is where I do all the little things that the customers pay extra for me to do personally. Yes, I am good at what I do…but if my dry cleaner was more customer friendly and patient he could do some of it and at times I have given items to him with specific details as to how I wanted them done for him to do it his way anyways. He is good at what he does. His patients isn’t always there for spotting in items. We both read care labels and sometimes you cannot go by the care label. And I won’t go by the care label if I know that there is a chance that something attached to the item could be damaged by the process. I will use an alternate process. If I feel any process will harm the item I will make a call to the customer and discuss the different processes and let them make the call they would like for me to do. 

Now I get to work at about 6:30 am and most of the time I don’t get out until at least 7:00 pm at the earliest. I am trying to train others in what I do and show them the exact reason as to how I decide on the process to take with each item.  This is an art. And I am great at it. But I also make mistakes like every one. I have gotten rushed and made rash decisions that cost me in the end. But my record is far better because I take the time needed on every piece I touch. Most items are easy and you can make a split decision on them but when they have anything attached either by glue or sewing makes an item much more difficult to clean properly. And care labels will often say excluding embellishments  (Which really cannot be removed) or they are mislabeled completely. Leaving the dry cleaner the one to blame for any errors made. 

I care so much about retaining and making our thousands of customers happy I get lost in time in the afternoon trying to get everything done that I have on my plate. 

Now I love my family very much! I work hard to make the money needed to provide for my family! And I am working on a way to leave work earlier so I can spend more time with them.