Thai Laundry inspires new business by UWE Bristol graduates

Issue date: 16 June 2014

The washbox logo

Memories of the problems of dealing with laundry during their student days and a light bulb moment on a trip to Thailand has lead UWE Bristol graduates Danny Vaughton, Sam Vaughton, Max Russell and James Parker to establish Washbox.

The four business graduates honed their marketing and financial planning skills whilst studying at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and have researched a business model that is showing enormous success in the US.

“We were on holiday in Thailand and the laundry services there were quite an eye opener to us,” says Danny Vaughton. “We couldn't quite get over the luxury of handing over dirty laundry in the morning and returning from a day snorkelling or travelling around to a clean pile of carefully folded clothing.

“We also remembered the hassle of having to organise our own laundry and how much we hated it when we were at university and somehow the two experiences seemed to add up to an idea that has become Washbox.

“We researched similar services like 'Washio' in San Francisco and 'Flycleaners' in New York and convinced ourselves that we could deliver a similar service in the Bristol area.

The team have designed a very professional looking web site and app; the service they offer bases costs on the weight of the wash. A typical 5 kilo wash costs £11 with a minimum spend of £12.50. All laundry is collected and returned within a 24 hour period.

Students place an order using the app with a preferred collection and drop off time. “We have negotiated rates with local launderettes and dry cleaning companies that enable us to make a small profit,” said James, “the service will be available to anyone but we are targeting the student market in particular because we know that even though students are on a budget there are plenty who will happily opt for a service if this is offered for a few pounds more than having to do the washing themselves.”

The Washbox blog also includes an amusing blog filled with jokey washing anecdotes and photos and useful tips such as 'how to remove wrinkles from clothing' and 'how to decipher laundry care symbols.'

“Our time at UWE Bristol studying business has helped us to research the logistics, devise the business plan and work through financial forecasts. Already the business looks to be doing well with over 1,000 followers on twitter (@washboxapp) and some very positive comments about customer service. We are very excited about the potential to grow this idea after we have established the business here.”

Visit the Faculty of Business and Law homepage to find out more about business courses at UWE Bristol.

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