Louise Houliston, Ninjadry
We caught up with one of Ninjadry’s founders, Louise Houliston, to better understand how the business works and to get an insight into the home service market. Ninjadry is a specialist dry cleaning and laundry business based in Belfast who provide a door-to-door collection and delivery service. The online platform enables the customer to book and pay online for their dry cleaning and laundry.
Tell us a bit about Ninjadry.
There are two big things for us, one is quality and the other is time. Quality is paramount- whilst we have spent a serious amount of time and money getting our tech and logistics to run smoothly, processing the dry cleaning and laundry to the highest standard is the big thing. One customer said that “I thought I was great at folding clothes!” until she got back her items from us! We go the extra mile, and yes it hurts our margins a little but the feedback we get from going the extra mile is what really sets us apart. The other key part of our business is time, well saving it actually! Our core aim is ultimately to remove the dry cleaning and laundry chore from day-to-day life and to give our customers back the time to spend with family and loved ones. A big mission. I run a busy family home myself so know the pressures and pulls on your time. That was the real driving force for setting up Ninjadry. A customer can order a collection and pick up time at their choice (so say in the evening when they are back in the house watching a bit of TV); we will collect within a 1 hour pick up slot, then process the dry cleaning or laundry (we also offer a full ironing service) and return it to the customer at their house within 48 hours and again with a 1 hour delivery slot. You pay online and the whole process is seamless. We also dry clean curtains, rugs, bed duvets- anything that you would ordinarily have to lug down to your local launderette or dry cleaners at the weekend, we do.
How have you found dealing with the technology side of the business?
Our website is really user friendly and allows you to place an order in about 5 seconds! It took a serious amount of time to script the customer journey and build in the various elements from front end landing page; postcode gateway; online slot bookings and merchant processing + all the copy you need to go with it. Our tech guys were fantastic in getting to grips with how we wanted it to work. But ultimately what a customer sees at the front end is only a fraction of what we have to deal with. The back-end logistics piece is fantastic and allows us to obtain statistics and converse with our customers easily and hassle free over email and text. We have a delivery tracker that is sent via a text message to the customer when your NinjaDriver is on their way. The link in the text message opens to Google Maps and you can track your delivery to your door. All this tech gives the customer trust that we handle the entire process professionally and most importantly we turn up when we are supposed to!
You are trying to disrupt an old sector, how have you found people have responded to the technology?
It has been interesting to see the range of people who have used our service so far. Initially we thought that our customer base would be predominantly young city-based professionals who would be au fait with ordering online and have a need for dry cleaning suits/dresses and shirt ironing. We certainly do have a growing client base in that demographic, but the stand out performer is people like myself- a busy mum! Our largest customer base comes from family households who want to spend more time with the family and put the weekly laundry and ironing through Ninjadry. I think once they overcome the initial fear of “what’s the quality going to be like”- once we deliver for them on that front then we have found them to be repeat customers. And there has been such a diverse range of customers from young city professionals; younger, mid-forty somethings who have ordered online for household bedding; laundry for older parents who are less confident on the tech side and lots of students, who don’t want to run home to mum each weekend with a laundry bag.
What areas do you cover?
We cover all Greater Belfast (North, South, East and West) and then all the way through Holywood to Bangor. You can just insert your postcode into our website and it will tell you if we cover your area. But basically, if you are in and around the Belfast area then we’ve got you covered.
What does the future hold for Ninjadry?
We think it’s an exciting time to be setting up in the home services business. Even over the last 2 years there has been an explosion of services that are now regularly offered as a home service from your usual food groceries and take-aways to phone repairs and now dog grooming! Our number one goal is to be the dry cleaning and laundry business of choice for Belfast and the surrounding area. We have built a great and growing team here at Ninjadry and that is one of the secrets to our success. Once we have conquered Belfast it will be on to Dublin and other UK cities!
Find out more at www.ninjadry.com