Italian Talent — Everything is possible at Lava e Cuci Shopping for tailor-made shirts, too

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It only took six years for this shop run by Franco Marinelli to become a multi-service centre thanks to the owner’s managerial skills and training.

Based in Granarolo dell’Emilia, the shop attracts clients who can rely on it as far as their entire “outfit” is concerned: not only clothes (including new garments on display for sale) but also bags, shoes and accessories.

Highly appreciated by other businesses based in the area, Lava e Cuci becomes even more competitive after Marinelli, who attended tailoring classes himself, launched it as a permanent training centre

 When we speak about “Italian talents” applied to the laundry world, which has become a permanent topic in the issues of Detergo magazine, it is difficult to imagine a better endorsement than Franco Marinelli. Born in Torremaggiore near Foggia, Marinelli, aged 49 became the owner of “Lava e Cuci”, an artisan laundry based in Granarolo dell’Emilia near Bologna in 2013. Six years later, he opened his second shop in Minerbio, a nearby town, and acquired laundry services for Gruppo Unipol and a French multinational company, Up-Day, a leading company in the field of meal vouchers headquartered in Bologna. He has also become one of the sponsors of Granarolo Basket, a successful business.

Not bad for a business that knows how to find connections with excellent points of reference and traditions of the territory in which it operates in real time. So, when Franco Marinelli starts telling us about his experiences, we immediately come across some illuminating examples that make part of his vision of a modern laundry. Take shirts. “I can confirm that they constitute the core business for a shop like ours – he explains – because our everyday casual wear often consists of garments that are difficult to wash and iron at home. To the point that, when I kept seeing all those shirts being brought to my laundry, I asked myself whether it would not be a good idea to provide my male clients with new ones given the fact that they wear and change their shirts so intensively on daily basis. After all, who better than a dry-cleaner, who takes care of hundreds of shirts per day, can guarantee the quality of this garment?”.

The question obtained the best possible answer. Shirts are now sold at Lava e Cuci, perfectly presented and packaged, ready-to-wear. “Our proposal is actually very simple – says the owner – as it is based on few classic models, white, light blue and striped shirts. Clients can try them on and once they find the right size, they almost always end up ordering them. Some of our clients have purchased sixty pieces as clearly, they are satisfied not only by the quality of the product but also by the comfort of getting ready-to-wear shirts right outside their house.”

The “multi-service” vision that inspires Lava e Cuci can easily be perceived from the above example. The business hires five fixed term employees and ten occasional collaborators. “To use a perfectly fitting English name here, we can say we deal with outfits – reveals Marinelli – which means everything that makes part of the entire outfit of our clients including shoes and bags that we also treat. Moreover, our offer includes basic tailoring services such as mending, sewing or zippers fixing, which is something families often need but never know where to go with such things. Actually, when I started this business, I took tailoring classes and completed the entire course so that I can now guarantee the service to our clients”.

This experience, more than the others, draws our attention to what a successful identikit of a textile care entrepreneur should be like in XXI century. Two unique features can be observed here: managerial training and thorough knowledge of the market. Marinelli confirms: “I had learned the ropes of a car sector at a 200-empoyee car dealer where I worked before. With time, I became the Sales Director there. When I felt I needed to start working for myself, I looked at various market sectors and I understood the opportunities, not always fully exploited, of the laundry sector. I then decided to develop its potential through activities destined to become more and more multi-service oriented and coherent with the current transformations of our society in terms of family size, consumption patterns and requests for services”.

“Today, – continues the owner of Lava e Cuci – a purchase of a pair of shoes for an average Italian equals investing in goods that need to be reliable and durable. Therefore, we could notice how the request for a shoe shop and related services, not always available locally, returned. Consequently, today we deal with clients’ shoes, repair heels, soles and remove stains”.

We need to underline how this dynamic approach to laundry is also permanent and crucial, and not linked to some sporadic market research screening. “At Lava e Cuci, training is our everyday reality – underlines Marinelli. – Two of the employees are constantly engaged in training activities so that they are able to implement what comes from the outside input in real time and adopt it in the best possible way”.

“I believe that such a cultural approach is crucial for our entire sector – he adds – and I am actually in favour of regular meetings with other laundry owners with whom we can compare ideas and solutions that benefit everyone. The removal of ball-point pen stains for example, notoriously nasty for all the dry-cleaners, has been a common objective for everyone from Sicily to Tyrol. Why not exchange information on it? So that we can all be better prepared to deal with the problem and our clients”.

“In the meantime, I keep myself updated, informed – explains Marinelli. – Every week, from 6:30 to 9:00 a.m. I attend meetings arranged by Capitolo Pareto of BNI which is a global network created for the exchange of management and business experiences. What is more, I would like to highlight that Lava e Cuci operates hydrocarbon washing machines exclusively. The choice translates to the idea of competitiveness and the environmental sustainability that is crucial for every market sector today”.

Artisan approach and marketing, creative spirit and a business plan. Nothing gets cancelled and everything is interlaced in “Italian talent” expressed by Lava e Cuci. Just like the supporters of Granarolo Basket with its very active Youth League, National Fourth Division and Regional Divisions. “The sports club is not only useful for our territory – comments Franco Marinelli – but it also contributes to its development and helps express its talent which is exactly what we are trying to do at Lava e Cuci as well”.

by  Stefano Ferrio

Detergo Magazine January 2019

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