Have you ever thought about automatizing laundry? Sure enough, many of us at one point can dread even the simplest, everyday task like doing laundry.
It can be because how busy life gets, or it can be because it’s easier to let it pile up and delay it for the weekend. But that doesn’t ensure us to do it, does it? Often times, we just want to chill on the weekend and have all the laundry magically washed.
This particular nuisance was what bothering Bond Thaiyanurak when he was working long hours in a corporate job.
“There’s just no time for laundry, and my observation showed that there was no laundry that opens 24 hours,” add these issues to the fact that laundry services often lose items that we’re not even aware of until we need it.
“There’s now way to track the missing clothing,” shared Bond.
It was 2013 when an idea popped out in Bond’s head for WashBox24 (CBN -TH000005624), making his own personal pain a business on its own.
How did you turn the laundry problem that you experienced into a business?
Bond: I was thinking how easy it is if there’s a locker in which people can leave their laundry in, and later, laundry service provider will take it and give it back after it is laundered in that same locker. It’s much like a luggage. And to make it easier, we also provide an online tracker for them to check if the laundry is done. It provides convenience and transparency as well.
Where are these lockers available?
Bond: We’re now in our fourth year of operation, and WashBox24 are available in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. We combine hardware and technology with these lockers.
How many are they now?
Bond: In total, there are 150 lockers in three big cities in Thailand, 30 in Malaysia, followed by 20 in Singapore.
What are the challenges in starting and maintaining your business?
Bond: The biggest challenge came out of a slightly different background in the team. There are even robotics background in the team. We need to work together in harmony to make sure that the locker is manufactured in the best way, and how different parts are going to come up together. Next is also the procurement of the locker, and how to get people to understand what this strange locker could do.
What about your customers?
Bond: As of now, we cater the need of 30,000 customers in three cities in Thailand. Each of them have locker dashboard, and they can see online which locker is occupied or empty and there they can see where to put their laundry to be taken by the laundry service.
What is the most surprising thing about this business that you came to learn?
Bond: We are teams of founders and have been friends for 20 years. Back then everyone in the founding team has full-time job. No one expects that it will expand this big. But, we left well-paid job and made it happen.There are lots of learning and hassle in the process but we enjoyed the experience, and finally, got the funding.
What is the most interesting experience out of this business that you can share with us?
Bond: When we first started out, funnily enough, many of our loyal customers are moms or parents with small kids, living in big cities. They are all very busy and sometimes, they need to have a school uniform ready for tomorrow. Using WashBox24, we made it happen for them, and in that particular incident, I got called personally and this mom thanked me for making it easier for her.
Seeing how busy you are, Bond, we wonder, what is it that you enjoy the most during your leisure time?
Bond: I enjoy sports a lot, I play soccer every weekend. I used to be DJ at a club and I am fond of hip hop music.
If there’s one thing you would like to change about the social situation around you, what would it be?
Bond: Before starting WashBox24, in a country like Thailand, Bangkok is not Thailand and Thailand is not Bangkok. Bangkok may look a lot like Singapore, but there’s huge gap in education. Education is everything, because I was born in Bangkok but raised in Chiangmai. I know how education can change one’s life. So whenever I come back to my hometown, I took a time to visit my old school to see how things are going. I try to be involved where I came from, especially outside Bangkok, mentoring kids in small town.
CBN – TH000005624
For more stories, visit www.facesofsme.com