In October, we reported on a couple of French design students who developed a laundry sharing concept for Fagor. Dubbed “Hello,” the idea envisioned that participants could bring laundry loads, in a special proprietary basket, to any owner of a specific variety of Fagor washing machines. Through an app, participants could freely share or delegate laundry cleaning responsibilities.
While we imagine that concept might work well in a college dorm or hotel environment, it’s a bit too complex to revolutionize the deeply embedded infrastructure of neighborhood laundromats and dry cleaners. Despite this institutional inertia, enterprising minds are fast at work thinking of new ways to make laundry easier and more efficient. One such idea is Washio.
Here’s how it works: Participants use an app to set times for Washio-employed “ninjas” to pick up and drop off their laundry. Items are returned cleaned and folded, and orders are automatically charged to customers upon delivery.
So how is it different from local laundry delivery services? Well, the most immediate difference seems to be on-demand mobile accessibility—a feature lacking in other laundry delivery services like Prim and Lazybones. Users can also view the status of their laundry loads on the Washio app, and coordinate with their “ninjas” over pickups and deliveries. Washio is also pretty "green"—reusable bags, no harsh chemicals, and no disposable plastic.
Beyond that, though, there isn’t much of a difference, and the fact that laundry delivery services have been around for decades only highlights the immense challenge facing startups in this sector. As tedious as laundry is, it's so ingrained as something we do ourselves that it’s likely to take a monumental offer of value and convenience to finally take it out of the game.
Washio is not yet available here in Boston (check here to see if it’s available in your neighborhood), but even if it were, it’s unlikely that I’d ever choose it over the faster, cheaper laundromat across the street. I’m just not that lazy—or, I suppose, not that busy.