Apparently, those days have already passed when sneakers or sneakers were upholstered only purely for sports and walking. Today, sneakers have become everyday shoes, and so stylish and fashionable that they even complement a business look, and they are not just worn, but also proud. The cost of good branded sneakers can reach exorbitant amounts, naturally, their owners are ready to spend money on quality care for their favorite shoes. An interesting idea immediately comes to mind – what if you open a specialized sneaker cleaning service? Indeed, having drank this issue, we found an extremely interesting and, in our opinion, a promising idea for a business – a sneaker dry-cleaner or a dry-cleaner for sneakers.
Snickermania – how it all began
In 1955, after the release of the film “Rebel Without an Ideal”, in which the character of James Dean appeared in original sneakers, shoes of this kind became popular among fashionistas around the world. In the eighties and nineties, these shoes were an invariable attribute of street culture, and today, as already mentioned, they are worn with dresses and even suits.
If you ever pay attention to other people’s shoes, you can’t help but notice that sneakers have become the number one shoe. And the word “sneakers” here means all sports shoes – these are sneakers, slip-ons, sneakers, etc. But we will not go into classifications now.
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. In general, preference has increasingly been given to the convenience that sports shoes provide.
What are sneaker dry cleaners?
Sneaker dry cleaners are called specialized dry cleaners that provide a range of services for professional cleaning and care of sneakers, and can also provide a related range of services, such as repairing sneakers, restoring and restoring them, various minor services like cleaning only soles, etc.
By the way, an interesting fact is that in Europe and the USA professional cleaning of sneakers, although it occurs, is quite rare. Perhaps in Ukraine the problem with the restoration of shoes is much more relevant, because of the prices for new sneakers? Therefore, if your first opinion at the words of the sneaker, dry cleaning was something like another foreign dead business idea not for our country, then you are mistaken.
Dry cleaning sneakers mainly provide comprehensive shoe cleaning services. The essence of the comprehensive cleaning of sneakers is the complete removal of any external and internal contaminants, the elimination of stains, the removal of dirt that has eaten into the material, etc. An additional service is light restoration. This is tinting materials, restoring the shape of shoes with the help of special spacers, gluing the sole, removing kinks. Related services – washing or replacing laces, disinfection, treatment of interior surfaces with fragrances, coating shoes with shine agents, etc.
The principle of operation of a dry-cleaning sneaker is quite simple: the client himself brings dirty shoes to a stationary collection point, and then picks up the completed order or uses the services of a courier or courier services that deliver precious shoes to the client in a special protective container.
Usually, the cleaning of sneakers itself lasts no more than 2-5 days, but can increase up to 4-10 days. According to one of the founders of the first dry cleaning sneakers in Ukraine, the term of work may be extended if the result does not satisfy the masters themselves.
The gradation of prices for basic services primarily depends on the materials and fabrics from which the shoes are made. Mostly there is a distribution into three categories: fabric / rubber sneakers, sneakers made of synthetics and artificial leather, shoes made of genuine leather and suede. In the category of special orders in sneaker dry cleaners, the cleaning of collectible and rare sneakers is taken out. They are approached with special attention and tenderness. In general, each material requires its own cleaning methods and cleaning agents.
Surely it is quite clear that there are no strict restrictions on the type of shoes: dry cleaning sneakers can accept summer and winter sneakers, ugg boots, boots, even classic shoes and boots.
Who are dry cleaners sneaker customers?
In principle, now sneakers can be worn by anyone. Schoolchildren who want to brag to their peers, as well as serious entrepreneurs, can apply for a sneaker shoe. Almost always, dry cleaning sneakers are used by people who collect rare and expensive types of sneakers. Clients may also include hipsters, street culture and fashion enthusiasts, dancers and soccer players, healthy lifestyle enthusiasts, the creative class, and others with a soft spot for sneakers.
Basically, of course, the target audience is young people living in big cities. Moreover, if you look closely at the contingent of popular dry cleaning sneakers in popular social networks, it turns out that in most cases (more than 70%) these are men.
But, regardless of age or gender, dry cleaning sneaker customers have one thing in common – a love of sneakers, especially when it comes to expensive or branded shoes. Fans of the sneaker culture believe that sneakers can tell more about the inner world of a person than anything else. So the idea that “we are all different, but we are united by sneakers” should become the main philosophy of the future project.
Dry cleaning sneaker technology
The first thing to think about when opening a dry cleaning sneaker 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 instructions on Youtube, the second option is quite real. 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 orphan sneakers, second-hand sneakers or old sneakers, in order to evaluate the capabilities of various cleaning products and without fear of anyone, it is even possible to destroy a few pairs.
After the first results, you can test the technology on the sneakers of friends and acquaintances. Significant costs in addition to your nerves and patience will not be needed – chemistry, brushes and spacers for shoes can be purchased without having almost nothing in your pocket. In general, the costs of this type of business are relatively low. The main consumables are funds, other variable costs are water and electricity.
But, 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 an interview, the dry-cleaning sneaker founder mentions that he uses a small industrial dry-cleaning machine to wash his shoes, which can hold up to 8 kg of clothes. In his opinion, it is not worth spending money on more spacious machines, because you can only wash one pair of sneakers at a time. Throwing two pairs into the drum already threatens to break the equipment or damage the sneakers.
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 be found on the Internet. In the videos, advanced shoes with steam pistols pour steam on the outside and inside of the shoes, clean them, and then dry and disinfect them. Steam generators are good for leather, suede, fabric or canvas.
We hope that it is already clear that it is not worth buying expensive equipment right away without learning how to select brushes and without understanding the features of different fabrics.
Dry cleaners sneaker room
In principle, no one obliges you to have any premises, conclude a lease agreement, carry out repairs, hang a sign, and so on. Moreover, the business is relatively 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 accept and issue the order. A reasonable approach in this case is to find an option with a minimum rent. You don’t need a large area – a few square meters are enough to have a place to turn around. Ideally, dry cleaners’ sneaker collection points are best located in places where the target audience is concentrated – the closer to the sneaker hangout, the better.
The more informational noise around the project, the better. Organizational skills and the ability to build relationships will greatly help here. For example, anti-cafes, creative spaces, co-working centers, barbershops, fitness centers and other places of mass concentration of the target audience can be good partners. 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 influencers – 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 there can be no “budget dry cleaning of sneakers” in principle. If you tell people that we are for 25-50 UAH. clean your sneakers, it will look cheap, people will think that they are trying to breed them for the last money. Therefore, you should not count on a penniless audience – they will not come to clean their sneakers even for free. On the contrary, at first, an expensive project submission and not the lowest prices will emphasize the seriousness of your intentions and help attract an audience from more affluent strata.
Of course, the entire PR campaign should be strengthened by deeds. The result of cleaning sneakers must be at a high level, otherwise the game will not be worth the candle. In the beginning, you need to gain the trust of customers, so each order needs to be captured on a before/after style photo, asking for a review from the owner, taking pictures of him, shooting a video, etc. On the website and in social networks, there should be something like a card file of your successful work with examples of cleaned sneakers from different materials. At the same time, you need to try not to jump above your head – if the owner brings shoes that are clearly not recoverable, then you do not need to promise to perform a miracle. You should be careful about accepting dubious shoes and Chinese fakes – during washing, the material of such sneakers may behave inappropriately. Always remember
How much do dry cleaning sneakers earn
There are no clear limits. 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 this.” Examples of the first startups in Ukraine show what is needed. Whether you will sit on single sales, or earn a hundred or two thousand hryvnias per month net on your business will depend solely on you, your ambitions and promotion strategy.
If you look at the prices of current dry cleaning sneakers, the prices for services range from 200 UAH. for standard cleaning of fabric crosses up to 600 UAH. for cleaning limited-edition shoes, you can 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 part-time job than a business. If you plan to make at least 150-200 orders for an average bill of 400 UAH, then this is already something more serious.
Dry Cleaning Sneaker: What’s Next
Suppose that you have mastered the technology of cleaning sneakers, promoted, received regular customers, some monthly amount that you can count on … And then what? What if the fashion for cleaning sneakers will pass? What if the strongest competitors appear in the city? Suddenly, cleaning products can be bought at any store?
So that customers not only do not run away, but also recommend you to friends, you can turn a 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, lacing. Or you can buy care products or “car” washing products – your own sneaker cleaners, wet wipes, water-repellent impregnation, and so on. Or sell, finally, the sneakers themselves. For example, the most rare or dirt-resistant. After all, if you’re going to be trusted to clean your favorite sneakers, why not start buying sneakers from you?
In general, it is worth trying and not being afraid of anything, because, as folk wisdom says, water will not flow under a lying stone. Therefore, good luck!